Your First job!
So you’ve got your first ‘performing’ job, and it happens that it’s abroad – even better!
What you need to know is that the safety net of parents and employee rights we have in the UK may not apply once you get on that plane.
I got my first ‘dance’ job, working in an all inclusive hotel, when I was 18 and hadn’t had any professional training. I’d danced for years, but I lacked the knowledge you gain when going to a professional performing college or university. I was about to embark on a 7 month journey dancing 6 nights a week in Greece – I was pretty excited! Getting paid for what I loved was a brand new experience, I didn’t care how much that would be. I also didn’t care too much about the ‘fine’ print. I thought it would be rehearsals during the day and relaxing by the pool until it was time to get on stage… wouldn’t that have been lovely! It actually involved a lot of ‘activities’ with the hotel guests throughout the day, then the show, followed by socialising with the guests afterwards. By the end of it you’re working 12 hour days 6 days a week.
I’m going to give you the basics you NEED to know before you get on the plane:
Days and hours in your contract!
Your contract might tell you the days you are working, but it’s more than likely it won’t tell you the hours you are working. These are things to have confirmed before you sign on the dotted line. You are showing your assertiveness and also this is something to fall back on if those days and hours start to creep up.
Let’s talk money, you’re not getting paid by the hour, so that’s why the above is important. There’s all sorts of support out there, Equity is a great place to check out anything you may be unsure of.
What is expected of you in your working week!
This is something I wish I had really questioned. It wouldn’t have changed my decision to take the job – NO way! But I would have just been more informed and prepared for the 7 months to come.
Flights, and who is paying for them?
So paying for your flights could become a bit of an expense, especially if you’ve just left school or college. This may be a moment those puppy dog eyes need to come out to Mum and Dad. Saying that, most companies will reimburse the cost of your flights, or a certain amount. For example up to £150. This is something to really be clear on.
Uniform, who’s paying?
This is where Primark becomes your best friend. You may have to provide your own uniform, so hit Primark and get enough shorts to last 6-7 months. And keep in mind you and the shorts may end up in the pool from time to time!
Also trainers, unfortunately you might not be able to do all your daytime activities in flip flops, damn. So don’t bring your most expensive pair of trainers, because they will probably end up in the bin at the end of your contract. Keep in mind you may need to provide all your dance shoes and basics likes leotards, tights etc.
Let the adventure begin!
There is definitely a lot to think about, but when you break it down its pretty EXCITING. I think jobs working in ‘leisure’ are such a fantastic way to get your first taste of performing. For a lot of people they realize it’s something they want to do on a permanent basis. It’s also so much fun, most of the time. Just remember with any ‘first job’ don’t be afraid to be assertive and if you feel like something isn’t right SAY!