Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Job Responsibilities Include What?!

Posted by Bruce Miller
Ah, so much to write about and so little time. I have a list of about ten theatrical matters that I'd meant to address on this blog by now--and I'll get to them, honestly I will. But something caught my eye this morning that has elbowed its way to the top of the heap.

One of the links that is being promoted on my start-up page over at this morning reads as follows:

Paramedics & Cops Only Make How Much?
10 stressful jobs you'd think would pay more

And underneath this headline appears this enticing tickler:

Find a job by salary range

Seeing as how Phil and I are facing our third salary cut in as many years (isn't this economy fun?), I thought I might just check out what the employment professionals are saying I should be making.

Three years ago, Phil and I made salaries that were only a little shy of principals in Greater Richmond's high schools. That salary range is pretty comfortable, actually, and seemed appropriate considering the breadth of our responsibilities.

Then as the economy began to shrink, we took a 7% cut in 08-09. In 09-10, we and everyone else at Theatre IV were asked to assume more of the costs of our health insurance. Pretty soon, if things continue to go as they're going now, we'll be taking an additional 10% cut in 10-11.

I'm not complaining. I'm lucky to have my job. It seems everyone is being asked to sacrifice these days. Being a glass half-full kind of guy, I prefer to focus on the notion that sacrifice is good for the soul.

But just for the heck of it, I decided to click on the little box that suggested I could "find a job by salary range." I thought I'd check out just how the high school principals are doing these days, and how theatre directors are doing in comparison.

The link took me to, and a specific off-shoot of their site called I was asked to type in a job title. I typed in "Theatre Director." I was invited to search for actual salaries within a particular community, and I typed "Richmond" and "VA."

Particulars immediately popped up, and I was glad to see that my job was included in's data base. But I was puzzled to see my job described thusly:

"Theatre Director:
Supervise and coordinate activities of correctional officers and jailers"

There it was. That was it. And "theatre" was even spelled with an "re."

Now I know that when one is fighting in a world war, the global battlefield is divided into "theatres." I guess it makes sense for prisons to adopt similar language. So I'm not dismayed to learn that someone who supervises jailers calls himself or herself a "Theatre Director."

Actually that's kind of cool.

But I am disappointed to learn that this is the only type of "theatre" job to have earned the attention of The type of "theatre" that you and I love, my friends, completely escapes their attention, at least in terms of "directors." Are there really more "theatre directors" working in Central Virginia's prisons than there are working in Greater Richmond's theatres? Or, once again, are jobs in the arts being overlooked and/or dismissed as somehow being less worthy than "real jobs."

With attitudes like this being developed and propagated by employment specialists, no wonder politicians continue to make cuts in the arts (one of the most labor intensive industries out there) while calling for more expenditures directed toward "job creation."

Stop the madness!

--Bruce Miller


Jacquie O. said...

Also TCG does an annual survey each year and sends it to each of Theatres that are members. I see that Barksdale is a member, so you should be able to access that information. Here is the link to the post:

Bruce Miller said...

Yeah, we follow the national salary survey, but we're aware that Richmond salaries often pale next to the more lucrative salaries of other markets. We use the "High School Principal" benchmark because:
1. it's local, and
2. it represents the public service industry, which is where we think we belong.

Comparing my salary to the pay and perks received by some of the nation's "star" artistic directors would only be depressing. I'm no star.

I feel more comfortable comparing my compensation to that received by the Principal at Huguenot High School (where I went) or James River High School (where my son goes).

That feels like apples to apples.

Bruce Miller said...

Well, I just checked out the current salary schedules for Richmond area public schools, and learned that Greater Richmond high school principals earn about 25% less than the national average, and Phil and I now earn about 24% less that a Central Virginia high school principal. Food for thought, all you young job seekers.

Anonymous said...

I just checked my job. I am not in the theatre world, and indeed did not follow my heart, but a line of work I thought was "practical." I make nearly 40% under the national average for my position. I wanted to say to the young 'uns, might as well follow your heart! I didn't and I am broke anyway!

Bruce Miller said...

Well said.