Work changed A LOT over the last two years, and like most things in these “unprecedented times,” it continues to change. As we look forward to 2022, here are some career resolutions for this new era of work.
I resolve to strive for work/life balance, as I understand it. Work/life balance can mean a lot of different things. Maybe it involves working remotely full-time, or a hybrid at-home/in-office set-up, or establishing hard boundaries between home and the office with a return to full-time, in-person work. It can mean sacrificing some of the comforts of life for a huge work opportunity or scaling back on your hours to spend more time with family. There’s no right answer for how to juggle your priorities. You don’t have to quit your job and join The Great Resignation if you’re happy where you are, but if you do want to explore a major career shift, go for it! The important thing is to take stock of how you feel about your career and make sure it’s fitting into your expectations for your life. We know the world can turn on a dime tomorrow, so ask yourself: What can I do to be more fulfilled in my work/life balance today?
I resolve to own my uniqueness. Every career trajectory is different, and that’s especially true for the entertainment industry. You’ve probably heard that you need to break into the industry as an assistant at an agency and work your way up the ladder. Many folks with years of work experience continue to get that advice whenever they consider a shift to a new side of the industry. This kind of blanket advice isn’t helpful…or true. Plenty of people (ourselves included!) have successful careers without working at a major agency, and you certainly don’t have to throw out years of experience because you’ve changed your goals. Instead, take ownership of your skills and lean into your path. If you’re first starting out, an agency can be a great place to cut your teeth, but a small production company might suit your personality better, and that’s okay! If you’ve been working for several years, think about the expertise and perspective you can offer a future employer and focus on pitching yourself as the accomplished professional you are. Having a successful entertainment career isn’t a futile task where you keep falling back down to the mailroom. Instead, it’s knowing who you are, what you bring to the table, and how to communicate that to your colleagues, network, and potential employers.
I resolve to stand up for myself. There’s plenty of workplace abuse in Hollywood, but in recent years, the culture is shifting to tolerate it less. We’re by no means clear of toxic environments yet, but it’s no longer true that you have to grin and bear it or suffer your reputation being destroyed. Enough is enough. If you are working for a boss who harasses or berates you, or for a production that doesn’t prioritize your safety, or for a company that grossly underpays you, or in an environment that’s demeaning, or find yourself in any situation where you think, “I can’t wait for Deadline to break this story of abuse,” you do not have to stay. You can always find another job, but you do not get another life. Even if your situation is not dire, but it’s simply not serving you anymore (e.g. you’re not growing, you’re bored, you’re burned out), you don’t owe it to anyone to stick it out. You don’t have to quit immediately (unless you are really in danger), but you do owe it to yourself and the people who care about you to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional health.
I resolve to ask for help and pay it forward. Sure, our business is competitive. But it’s also collaborative. In fact, that’s one of the top attributes our clients call out as the reason they enjoy working in entertainment: working with other passionate people to create something together. This sense of collaboration extends beyond the set, beyond the development meetings, beyond the notes calls. As you grow your career, find your collaborators – the people who you can lean on and the ones who can count on you. Ask for help when you need it, whether it’s for a job, or an introduction, or a script to read, or an email address your boss needs. And offer it in return, not just to your closest allies, but to anyone who’s passionate enough to ask and professional enough to respect your boundaries. It will benefit you and the industry as a whole!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan