How to perform successfully — offstage

Ciara Pressler is the author of "Exit Stage Right: the Career Change Handbook for Performers."
Ciara Pressler is the author of “Exit Stage Right: the Career Change Handbook for Performers.”
Credit: Noah Fecks

Making the decision to jump careers is a tough one, especially when leaving a personal passion behind. Former performer and author of “Exit Stage Right: The Career Change Handbook for Performers,” Ciara Pressler says: “If your dreams have changed, that’s okay. It’s time to find your next career passion. The point is to keep evolving as a person and let your career reflect that.”

What is the best way to mentally prepare for such a change?
The key is to be honest with yourself about what you want now, which may no longer be the exact same passion as when you started out. It seems daunting to navigate a career change, but there is a step-by-step process you can follow to move forward with less stress and more support.

What are common struggles people face in making the choice to leave a performing career?
Performers don’t realize the wealth of strengths and experience they bring to another role, even in a new industry. The skills and habits developed through performing can put you ahead of most job candidates, if you understand how to position yourself for your target job.

What are the best ways to keep engaged in your field not as a performer?
Engagement is a choice. Know what motivates you to stay in the game. Create short-term goals and make a decision to approach your job with the same creativity and dedication to excellence that you brought to your performing career.

What are mistakes people make in getting that first full-time job offstage?
Undervaluing themselves. Performers work for free too often or are paid far less than they deserve, and then they bring that baggage to the next career. It’s important to establish your value through negotiating confidently, working smart over hard and maintaining a loyal network.


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