Job Opportunities and Future Creative Endeavors

I have a job offer that I am accepting. It starts in a couple of weeks. I’ll be the one working full-time again, while my husband will continue his part-time position he found for a few months at least to replenish our savings a bit and continue freelancing from home while watching the baby. And we’ll see how things go.

As it seems to matter less now that I keep these two sides of my lives separate, I will discuss my former job and my future job. I was working as a theatrical costume designer and costume shop manager at a local theater before I was let go after getting sick and being unable to complete the costumes before a show opened. Costume design is what I have my training in, and it’s something I really enjoy doing when I am working with people that are good to work with. But the entertainment industry is one that is really easy to be taken advantage in, to burn out, to deal with all kinds of crazy personalities, and to drive yourself into the ground. If you want to check out my work (and learn my real identity – ooo) you can see my portfolio page here. I need to update my Bio page eventually, as all I did was remove the section about where I had been working, but I’m in no rush to do that yet. I also have a tumblr blog where I occasionally post pics of me wearing vintage and repro vintage outfits as a kind of soft-marketing for the custom work I do here.

My new job is going to be doing bridal and formal gown alterations and helping to grow a second shop to it’s full potential. I’ll be making the same rate of money, even bringing in a little more possibly, and I’ll get to work from home part of the time. And the hours, while possibly getting crazy during prom season, won’t be anywhere near what I was putting in every time we led up to a show opening at the theater.

So, pluses are my family and I get to live at the same level of comfort we were at before, maybe even better because we will be able to start building our savings up again. I’ve worked with this woman and in this shop as a freelancer several years ago when I was freelancing show by show at the theater as well, so we have a relationship and I really admire her. I’ll get to help people feel beautiful and confident on their big days, and I’ll still get to be creative in making the bustles of gowns (which I actually love doing) and some custom work as it comes up. I’ll have more time with my family and more energy to put into my own creative work. And I’ll get to surround myself by pretty fabrics and dresses almost every day.

Cons are that after working in theater, almost everything else feels boring by comparison. There are so many little problems that need solving, so much fly-by-the-seat decisions that need to be made, that it is difficult to move at a slower pace. This is why I’ve said in the past that I have two speeds – 100 mph or not moving at all because I overworked myself. So maybe this is actually a plus, because I’ll be forced to modify my way of doing things. Anyway, the other con is that costume design is this blend of everything I enjoy doing – reading and analyzing scripts, historical research, psychoanalyzing characters, inputting all of that in my brain and sketching out ideas, collaborating with the scenic and lighting designers to best realize a director’s vision, occasionally doing fancy renderings, having to read actors to get them to want to wear what I want them to, and then buying/sewing/renting the costumes and making sure they all fit nicely and the actors can move in them the way they need to move. All while on severe budget and time constraints. Doing alterations won’t engage me in the same way. Again, possibly a plus because it will leave me room in my brain for my own projects to be bubbling away, and it will also allow me to focus on my further growth as a human being, allowing me to listen to podcasts and lectures while I work and to just daydream a bit more than I’ve had the opportunity to do in recent years. Another con is that some of my work at the theater was put into helping in our local school district, occasionally going in and working with very poor, at-risk students. We would also pull some of those students into shows we were doing sometimes. Now I won’t have that direct interaction in the community that I felt was really valuable, so I have to find a way to add that back in again somehow.

All this leaves me with having to decide where to put my few hours a week of creative energy. If our positions had flip-flopped and I was the one freelancing from home, I would have tried to build up my sewing business, doing alterations, yes, but also coming up with some kind of line. I could have made a lot of money off of vintage-inspired kids clothes but probably would have quickly gotten bored with it too (cutting the same thing over and over isn’t exciting), and I’ve been leaning toward creating a custom corset and costume line since grad school and have so many ideas for it. But I don’t know if I’ll feel like sewing a lot more after sewing so much during the week, and it feels silly with the world being where it is to put a lot of energy into corset making. I also have two big commissions for the year all ready lined up which will take a lot of time. So I may still dabble at creating a line of things to sell, combining pieces I’ve already made with new pieces, but I doubt that I’ll be motivated to move very fast on that end. So I’d like to focus more on work under this name, as I move to fully unblock myself. I’ve been loving painting this abstract, and may do a couple of more before tackling those bigger pieces I’ve been putting off for years. The writing… I have to see what will happen with that. I have enough poems to probably put together another collection, and I’ll have the time now in theory to try to get out to some poetry readings. The fiction is difficult. I read through some old story ideas and I am really interested in a lot of them, but with reality being so much like fiction these days, I’m having a really hard time wanting to delve into it. I’m not going to push myself too hard on that front, because I can’t force myself, but I will write something every week. And music – I’m building myself up on that front too. I probably won’t try to start pushing myself more until the baby is a little older and weaned, but I want to have that in my life again. Maybe I’ll combine the writing and the music and start writing my own songs again as a means to get back into writing. I don’t know. It’s all kind of up in the air right now. I need to continue to give myself permission to play, and I am trusting that it will sort itself out.

So that’s where I’m at. We’re going to have a rough transition into me being out of the house as the baby definitely likes me better than daddy at this point, and I’m sad that I can’t be a happy housewife for a while longer. But it will be good. I am glad that we’re going to survive this bump, and I feel like I got a nice little 2.5 month extra maternity leave and the chance to fully heal, which is more than so many people get. And I’m also proud that my work ethic stands on so firm a footing that upon posting that I got fired from my job, I was made a job offer with no questions as to why I was fired (we did discuss it later on). This is also the second time that someone wants me so badly that they are creating a position in order to have me. Having me available is the impetus toward someone else pushing forward in an endeavor, and that feels really great.

6 thoughts on “Job Opportunities and Future Creative Endeavors

  1. So your big reveal on identity! Bill of Kill Bill (played by David Carradine) had something to say about this…

    “Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us.”

    “Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak, he’s unsure of himself, he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”

    Do you have thoughts of yourself on all that? As I’m working on taking on an alternate identity, too?

    • Your first celebrity interview, Kat! I’m sorry, WP did not like my punctuation, masking from you (ha) two ideas I tried to ask you about. Thought of a third, and then changed things up here.

      1) Your writings as Kat Micari were something you wanted to separate from your costume design (ha) career of Ms. T.

      Why reveal? What’s so different now in the formal/bridal gown game?

      2) Bruce Wayne was actually a sad & fearful fellow, put on a the Batman costume (ha) to cope with his depression and anxiety (in-part from childhood experience), and express his anger over it all in a productive way (for the good of Gotham’s society, anyway).

      What about Kat Micari? What is her superhero visage, mission, for both each of yourself & others?

      3) What a disguise! Impressive how your photos look so different from each other. I could not match, and neither could Google! Wow?! How?!

      And is make-up part of your training, too? Or did a friend help?

      • 1) I waited to reveal the connection for at least 3 years after leaving my office job because I am slightly paranoid about government agencies, and 3 years was the length of time I was required to tell my former employer every time I moved, etc. Then I had the baby and was wrapped up in that. I am fully confident in my ability to earn money via the sewing needle in some capacity so I don’t need an office job ever again. So I am less concerned with having a squeaky clean image any more. If a bride doesn’t want to use me because of my political and social views, then I probably don’t want to help her out anyway.
        2) The Kat Micari visage is to push me to create and encourage others to create, to be the ripple that causes waves in others (and maybe create some waves myself). It holds me accountable to myself in ways I wouldn’t have been able to manage otherwise, I think.
        3) And I think the biggest difference in the photos is probably the fact that I lost all my baby weight from my son and then some in the past couple of years! The pics here were taken only a little over a year after he was born, I think. But yes, my sister helped me with some dramatic make up for the photos I did here, and my aunt-in-law shot the pics with some old fashioned lighting. It was a fun shoot. I do have some training in theatrical make up, but I don’t go crazy on myself. Though like I said, now that I’m getting back into the alterations game, I’ll be making myself a little more presentable than I have been in recent years. 🙂

    • I think we wear many “costumes” in our daily lives to help us out. The whole notion of clothing psychology is a fascinating one. For example, I always dress really nicely and wear make up when I have fittings with brides because it gives me more confidence to ask for sometimes a lot of money to do the alterations and it gives the brides more confidence to say yes to someone who looks put together verses a slob. I would do the same at design presentations in the theater.

      As far as the nom de plume goes, I was working an office job at a brokerage firm where I had to report any outside business to make sure it wasn’t conflicting with the money side of things (government agencies went through records every year, etc) so I wanted a safe space to write my thoughts and create poems and art that could’ve been seen as conflicting. Plus, I loved the idea of using my great-grandmother’s maiden name as a way to honor the strong women I come from.

      All that being said, I am me, regardless of my name. It was why I had no compunctions about taking my husband’s name when we got married, even though he would have been fine if I hadn’t wanted to. It’s also why I’m completely fine with people knowing my identities. Just… sometimes I let myself be a little more vulnerable than others, ya know? There are walls, and I’ve worked hard to lower them over the years, but having the occasional veil or screen to throw up makes taking “risks” in a public venue a little easier.

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