Monday, January 10, 2011

entertainment industry coach question 676: How do you balance a career in entertainment and a family?

I've been getting this question a lot lately. I'm guessing because the holidays just came and went and some people were working through the festivities, while others were suffering the repercussions of industry 'divorce.'

This holiday season I heard about so many ends of the spectrum:
1. A guy who recently lost an executive job who couldn't fully enjoy his holidays due to the stress of being out of work and wanting a new job. While he will get another one, the question is when, and how do you make the most of enjoying the time you have off to be with the ones you love, while keeping the faith that something else will come along?

2. An actress and mom whose husband is a movie producer, and away from the family for 7 months at a time. This puts so much stress on the family, because she and her two young kids miss their dad, and he misses them. Of course, he has a great paying job and is thinking about the future. So, do you appreciate that your husband is working hard now for your future, knowing that it won't always be this way? Or do you look for another kind of job in a job market that isn't fantastic?

3. Then there's the story of the typical scenario of a crew working long hours and days, kissing the kids goodnight on a Sunday and not seeing them awake again until Friday, missing milestones, missing birthdays. And what if both parents are working in the business?

I've addressed this question before, and I ask every mentor in my Greenlight Mentor Program to address it as well, and the bottom line, is every family deals with it differently.

Here's what I think are the important elements to remember when entering into a relationship and as it progresses:
1. Be completely honest about where you want your career to go and what your partner can expect from our industry once you achieve those goals.
2. When discussing children, as a couple, meet with other entertainment industry couples and get their perspective on how they manage, the pros and the cons.
3. Always share your passion but never make the job seem more important though you may be choosing to take the work over a family vacation, explain your reasons for taking it and the nature of the industry, so they understand. Depending on how old kids are or how lonely a spouse is, they may not like it, but at least you're being open about why things are how they are.
4. Whenever possible, include your family, invite them to location, so they can see you in your element.
5. Use Skype, and other forms of communication while you are out of town or on the job, even when you're tired. Push yourself to make the effort.

This is such a major source of conflict in out industry that I opened up a discussion about it on my Facebook Business Page, so feel free to chime in there under the "discussion tab" at FB

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach,

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