Quite It & Forget It
by Caitlin Tegart
Women wait for permission. We want to make sure it’s OK to take the next step and that everyone approves of us in out new venture, whether it’s writing, acting, directing, producing, improvising, or making a poster. What if we overstepped our boundaries and even one person didn’t think we were ready to do what we want to do? THE WORLD WOULD EXPLODE! Oh wait. No. Nothing would happen, except we’d be closer to achieving our goals and making it easier for other women to follow in our footsteps.
So I am going to give you permission. Who am I to give you permission to do anything? No one, but who are you waiting for anyway?
Usually I give you permission to do something, but this week I’m saying: quit it and forget it. Quit that thing that’s keeping you from pursuing your career hard core, be it your day job, your improv team, or your writing group. If it’s not helping you reach that “One Shining Moment” moment (and you can survive financially without it), drop it. Time doesn’t free itself up: that’s something you will have to do for it. Life without a day job is scary and unpredictable, but if you can swing it, swing. No one’s going to fire you so you can get unemployment and reach your dreams (but please list that boss on comedy message boards, if he/she exists.) Other people will likely question or criticize this step, because they’re worried about your financial solvency and they’re totally jealous, but you’ll have to put your career above your job at some point.
Furthermore, even your comedy pursuits can get in the way of your comedy pursuits. If you’re on an improv team or part of a writing group that’s not working for you, don’t do it. While it’s true that doing any comedy is probably better than none, all endeavors are not created equally. If you’re more serious about comedy than the rest of the group, they are not providing adequate support and feedback for your art and won’t be important career contacts for your profession. Your fellow performers and writers might be mad at your for quitting, but if they’re at all sane this will only last about 24 hours. If they’re insane, congrats, you just got yourself out of a mess.
As much time as people in this industry spend trying to impress the right people and make connections, more time could be spent avoiding people and experiences that make you unhappy, don’t fulfill you creatively (or at least socially!) and probably cause you to miss other opportunities. I am generally a fan of saying “yes,” because you achieve more by being positive and assertive. However, once you know what that this path won’t help you create something important, say, “thank, but no thanks!”