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Life and Work On Tour: A Christmas Story

Life and Work on Tour
By Melissa Bondar

One of the moments I knew I was working for a company with some really good people was when I grabbed lunch with our Associate Director a few weeks ago while we were in rehearsals.

I mentioned that I had planned to fly home for Christmas Eve and back to the tour on Christmas night, but that I was kind of worried that the weather would mess up my plans or strand me in the United States (I’m flying from London to Baltimore through Switzerland).

He looked at me and said, “of course you have to go. Family matters. You never get the time back. If you get stuck, you get stuck. You still have to live your life. The show will figure it out.”

I think I nearly dropped my utensils. I’m not sure I’ve ever worked somewhere with a director that had that mentality. A few years ago, I had to fight tooth and nail to get a weekend off written into my contract to be one of my best friend’s bridesmaids and the director made me feel terrible about it.

And of course, the show won’t just “figure it out,” our other stage manager knows how to call the show. Our swing tech knows how to cover her track. All bases are covered here, if I get so delayed that I’m more than 20 hours late getting back, which was as much of a buffer as I was able to put on my flight.

Is this normal in other fields to be this stressed about stepping away from work? Because I often think we really take the cake in the arts.

I mean, I have a full 48 hours dark. It is my time. Why did I have like heart palpitations as I made  plans to use it exactly how I want to?

Ugh. Moments like these when I see how messed up my career choice has made my concept of what’s an acceptable commitment to work just make me exhausted.

But, on the flip side, I think of all the times when I wish I’d rearranged my schedule, even if it made me really tired, to make it home for something but I didn’t – I don’t love those regrets.

So. This is important.

I also know how lucky I am to be able to do this. As I searched for ticket fares for Christmas Eve and Christmas, I had braced myself for a ticket around $2,000 and I found one for $400… which is probably why I’m traveling at 6:00 AM both days and have connections, but overall, I’m extremely lucky to be able to spend the money to get myself home.

Hopefully, as you all read this, I made it home for an awesome Christmas Eve, sang carols with the fam (it’s a thing. We have a very Norman Rockwell Christmas), listened to my uncle read the Christmas story, ate piles of ridiculously delicious Slavic food, and am now at least two hours into my journey back to London.


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Published in Collaboration with brokeGIRLrich

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Also on by Melissa Bondar:

On Tour: What’s Worth the Splurge (and What’s Not)

Stage Managers: Investing In Yourself

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