Let’s swap . . . jobs.

I witnessed a heated . . . (clearing throat) . . . “discussion” recently between two industry pros who believed they were on opposite sides of the industry.  The “discussion”  . . . (cough, cough) . . . escalated into some sort of bizarre competition of who had it harder working on Broadway.

“Well, I have to  . . . blah, blah, blah.”

“Oh yeah?  Well, you don’t even understand what I have to do when I  . . . blah, blah, blah.”

It was pretty gross, actually.  And I wanted to slap both of these men on the hiney (because they were acting like babies) and say, “News flash – both of you are right – working in the theater ain’t easy for anybody.”

I did manage to restrain myself from spanking them . . . because, really, what good would that do except give Michael Riedel some fun stuff to write about on his new Twitter account?

Instead, I thought . . . what if Broadway had one of those swap jobs days?

Where a Producer becomes a stagehand. A designer becomes a musician.  An actor becomes a box office treasurer.  And so on . . . and so on.

Maybe we’d realize that every job, no matter how good it may seen from the “other side,” has its own set of challenges and obstacles in this business.

And then, if we had walked in each others shoes for a day or two, maybe we’d all have a better perspective for the next set of union negotiations,

And maybe we’d prevent future (ahem!) “discussions” and realize that that we’re all on the same side after all.


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  • Margie Goldsmith says:

    Well, Ken, maybe slapping them on their hineys would help — especially as today I learned that in Texas, kids get slapped on their hineys (hinies?) on their birthday –one spank for each year. Now if you could do one spank for each whine, they might stop complaining — at least for a short time.

  • Matthew says:

    The both need to pee into a magic fountain.

  • Gaby Gold says:

    When I taught 7th grade Drama in a public school in the Bronx, I made sure that I had the students learn about ALL aspects of The Theatre. When we had a Talent Show, I made it ‘cool’ to run lights, do set design and usher. It wasn’t all about performing.

  • Lester says:

    Back in college, we actually had to do something like that. In your first two years you were always on a crew and you rotated through them all. From lights, sound, props, set, etc.. We didn’t get to do much of the business side beyond house management and ushering. Should be added!

  • Kristi R-C says:

    You’re on! Let’s talk.

  • Erica Lowry says:

    Wonderful notion. What about we do that for all sorts of jobs in every industry, and make a reality show out of it? . . . Talk about walking in each other’s shoes! Call it “Job-Swap.”

  • Paul says:

    It’s the only way to work – at some point everybody does everything. Swapping out jobs pulls on everybody’s creative strings, and more than once totally new careers are launched. We’ve worked this way at the Jersey Shore for going on 40 years. Most folks get charged up for the next 40.
    Wonderful thing.

  • Chad Hudson says:

    Fantastic blog today about walking in another’s shoes. Learning about a perspective different from your own is incredibly valuable. I so hear you about people losing site of being on the same team. Sometimes a good hiney slap will do more good than not… I say slap ’em… just avoid a lawsuit.

  • kim says:

    I love this idea. I personally really like working all the different sides. It only makes you better at what you really want to focus on.

  • Andrew says:

    Ken, want to swap with me for a day? I’m an off-Broadway Stage Manager!

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