This is going to be long and complainy.
I graduated high school in 1995. Went to college, then grad school. Finally came out the other side with 3 degrees in 2005. Got an academic job overseas; sold all my stuff and went for it.
After 2 years the reasons to come home outweighed the reasons to stay.
Came back. New city. Grad school for the husband this time; that means I’m the one with the day job. But I haven’t stopped trying to be a performing artist. My resume is actually rather impressive at first glance, with orchestra gigs, international festivals, teaching experience, guest artist recitals, collaborations with composers, good reviews, etc.
The problem is I’m not getting paid for any of it.
I’ve got grad school loans that I’m still paying off (yes, I had an assistantship; no, it wasn’t enough to live on), I’m trying to support my husband through his studies, and I’m becoming less marketable as an academic with every year that goes by.
So here I am, 15 years out of high school, making 13 bucks an hour as an administrative assistant, scraping by to make ends meet.
My performing ensemble has been invited to be featured artists-in-residence at a major festival in Asia next summer. Hooray! But we have to find the funding ourselves. Boo!
What that means is that any income we make from concerts we play over the upcoming season is going into the pot for the trip. It means that after work, in addition to teaching lessons, practicing, rehearsing, and playing concerts, we will be working on grant applications and soliciting private donations.
It means that I don’t really have a performing career.
I have a very expensive hobby.