I'm grateful for this contribution from Karen Holvik, (chair, NEC voice department) following up on the March 2017 conversation about surviving in Boston as a freelance singer.
When I first got to New York City, my Upper West Side neighborhood was still not gentrified, so the pawn shop was close by. I bought a manual typewriter because it was cheap, and found a Typing for Dummies book at Coliseum Books (now gone, sadly) on 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall. I taught myself to type -badly- and signed up with a temp agency.
Since I didn’t have good typing skills, I was sent out on receptionist jobs, which came in handy when I finally landed a job at a major law firm in Rockefeller Center that had an in-house temp arrangement called a "floater pool” which was made up of singers, dancers, actors, writers, etc. It was great because we could do auditions, concert gigs, even short tours, and still have a job when we returned. (Renee Fleming worked there at one point.)
The arrangement fell apart when the firm hired a new personnel manager who didn’t want people to be coming and going so much. I was lucky enough to inherit a job from a friend who was working for a solo practitioner attorney in another Rock Center building. That’s where my typing really improved! I hated office work, but until I decided to quit so I could be more free to travel, this job served me well.
I had other survival jobs in NYC, but the office work was what kept me going the longest. As I tell my students, we all have to decide what we're willing to do to finance our lives as we follow our dreams.
Sharing excerpts of the learning happening in "Building a Community-Based Residency"