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 student project documentation and, more recently, my own.