This January I left my full time, degree level, not-far-off minimal wage office job in a small high end design company to run my own pole dance studio. Now it appears dance isn’t worth it, what would you suggest?
Should I be a doctor? I spend my spare time reading, researching and learning about the human body and it’s workings, in an effort to be a better teacher, dancer and athlete.
Or how about a teacher? Teaching dance has given me the skills to communicate knowledge with anybody and everybody.
An accountant? I’ve been doing my own tax returns and I do all the books for the studio.
How about a job in Communications, or PR? I do all the advertising for the studio (and none of my posts have made the news for being called crass by my own culture secretary)
A project manager? Handling my timetable between my own teaching, across multiple sites, along with the studio timetable with four instructors, takes a fair bit of organisation!
Or a data manager? Before I could afford a booking system, I handled up to a hundred bookings a week, including payment, by myself, sometimes on paper, sometimes by computer.
A customer services manager? As well as the instructor, I handle all the enquiries and questions any customer have. I don’t have many complaints.
A team leader? I have three other instructors who i delegate classes and jobs too when they’re not best suited to me, or if I don’t have time.
A skills trainer? As well as teaching my students, all my instructors have started to teach and grown with me, and I would consider myself a good mentor to them.
A lecturer? I’ve got pretty comfortable speaking to people, being microphoned up in front of a room full of nervous people who have their full attention on me for an hour.
A builder? I couldn’t find a builder so I refurbished the studio myself as much as possible. I replaced the floor, installed the under floor heating, and I’ve built that studio from an empty shell to a good looking room if I do say so myself. There’s constant DIY to do, keeping on top of that studio.
A councillor? I’ve formed a close bond with my instructors and students alike, and my studio provides a safe space they often feel comfortable and free to talk about issues they may be struggling with.
Or even a psychologist? Seeing the positive effect dance and movement can have on people’s mental health, I’ve recently been spending my spare time reading books and doing research into psychology.
An auditor? There’s lots of procedures and steps to be taking in owning your own business, from registering with the council, doing the change of use , handling GDPR regulations, financial records, all up to date training records etc.
A politician, or campaign manager? My studio had some strong opinions on certain matters and it’s important for me to communicate that with my students, so we’ve ran many ‘campaigns’ which involve coming up with ideas, planning them out, and seeing them through.
An events organiser? Maybe I could plan business conferences. I have planned, ran and hosted showcases, events, photoshoots, courses, including choosing the right people to be involved, deciding who is in charge of what and when, getting people to be in the right place at the right time, selling tickets to audience members, finding venues, and making sure we have photographers and videographers so we can promote the event afterwards.
Or something in advertising? All that choreography has given me lots of experience in knowing what looks good, how to go through a design process. I’ve done lots of photoshoots, for myself and my students, so I know how to create a visually pleasing image.
Honestly, I could go on forever. I have GCSE’s, A levels, A BA Hons degree, and I’ve worked in two different jobs related to my degree. One was minimum wage, the other I was essentially a receptionist and I was treated with no respect. I have learned more about myself and gained more transferable skills building and running my creative business than my office jobs ever did. I should have known when I wore sequin shorts under my graduation gown.
More importantly, my job in the creative industry brings people joy every day. I have full confidence that my job teaching pole dance has saved somebodies life, in one way or another. A doctor somewhere (that you stood outside and clapped for) has worked on a Covid ward for two weeks straight, 12, 14, 16 hour shifts, dealing with unimaginable stress and unthinkable memories they will live with for the rest of their life. When they finally get a chance to rest, they do so with the arts. Some may read a book, watch some TV. Watch a theatre show (not right now obviously), or dance their troubles away in my dance studio. I know because they have told me.
I do my work, I pay my taxes. I do so fairly, or at least I did. I need you to tell me why I should keep supporting you if you’re not going to support me.
With all the hatred in the world from every creative in the UK right now