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How Bad Do I Want to Be Here? – The Third Installment August 15, 2011

Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, animation, Memoir.
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“That’s how bad I want to be here. And if it means I have to suffer through the might-have-beens, or do other entertainment industry-related things until something direct in animation opens up again, I’m willing to do it.” – Shannon Muir, Summer 2002

The above quote comes from the tagline of the second of my writeups from when I was between jobs in the industry and struggling with a sense of future direction (see https://shannonmuir.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/how-bad-do-i-want-to-be-here/ and https://shannonmuir.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/how-bad-do-i-want-to-be-here-the-sequel/, both originally written for another site and tranplanted here with the original written by dates noted at the bottom of each post).   Now in 2011, I find myself back in the same boat after over 3.5 years of working consistently for a single, major entertainment industry company – something that is virtually unheard of anymore not just in entertainment, but in the job market.  It’s brought a different perspective I haven’t had for some time, while also making me realize I seem to be slightly rusty on a few things.

In those earlier years when I worked in television not knowing if we’d make it from season to season, I now realize I got used to more living in an “every day’s the last” mentality.  That never stopped me from doing my best, I just realized it could all end tomorrow every day I woke up. 

The big difference in my most recent job, in a nutshell, is that I forgot.  I got comfortable. I got complacent.  Again, this didn’t affect the quality or output of the job I did.  The difference immediately became apparent when this last job ended, and my brain could not get my head around what I should do for a couple of days.  I’d also come, for a variety of reasons, to see my last workplace more like a family even though some of my coworkers voluntarily left for other jobs over the years.  None of that is a statement on the company I worked for or decisions they made in why myself and others got laid off.  It’s a statement about my own viewpoint of a situation and the lessons to be learned from it.  No matter how much I like the people I work with, I can’t let myself get too attached; though that doesn’t mean don’t like them, I just have to show some restraint on that front.  I need to remember what worked in the past to survive for 15 years.  There’s more surviving to be done.

Back to the title of the piece, which goes back to the question of being here, being the Los Angeles entertainment scene.  My more recent training definitely lends itself to moving to San Francisco or Seattle or places like that.  Maybe that is, ultimately, where I need to go next.  However, making it 15 years in Los Angeles when many people throw in the towel for less is impressive.  I’ve met a lot of great people outside of work, and kept contact with some from various workplaces I’ve had, that I see in person now and then at professional gatherings that I would miss.   Not to mention, there’s a very special person in my life who actually has a job and I’d be asking him to uproot himself for my own selfishness.  To move somewhere else would mean starting near completely or completely over, depending on if anyone else I knew moved to the same area or would be at the company where I’d go.  As illustrated by my above point with my last job, I am a person of emotional investment, and I’ve emotionally invested a lot of my life in the Los Angeles area.  Moving somewhere else at the moment doesn’t seem to have the right amount of ROI (return on investment for those who don’t know the term) but that can always change.

I have no regrets about moving from my town of 10,000 people and 3 stoplights to Los Angeles in June of 1996.  The journey’s been amazing even with all its ups and downs.  I’m not interested it bringing it to an end just yet.  For any personal ambition, you have to look at your own ROI and see where the risks are worth taking, or if you’re willing to live with the potential regret of having never tried at all.

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