The perfect storm is coming for our jobs

The perfect storm is coming (for our jobs)

Artificial intelligence.

Massive budget cuts across every sector of the entertainment industry.

Finished productions being shelved indefinitely.

Streamers dropping their flagship shows. (Really HBO? Westworld?!)

And now a pending writer’s strike?!?!

It’s time to discuss the elephant in the room, my friend:
The perfect storm is coming for our jobs whether we like it or not.

First of all…Deep Breath. We’ve Been Here Before.

Before sounding ALL the alarm bells, I think it’s important to point out it wasn’t even three years ago when we weathered the most unprecedented global work stoppage of our lifetimes. And we emerged on the other end of the pandemic to an immense abundance of job prosperity that has lasted up until now.

And it also wasn’t that long ago when there was a writer’s strike that lasted 100 days…followed by the complete collapse of the housing market. And once again on the other end of this was a period of immense growth.

Needless to say, if we zoom out and focus on the long game of our entire careers, this “perfect storm” that’s coming is simply a blip on the radar.

But blip or no, there’s nothing more terrifying than living through uncertainty.

During times of uncertainty, I’m immensely grateful I don’t have to weather these challenges alone. There’s nothing worse than spending all day in a small dark room thinking you’re on your own. Fortunately I have a global community of hundreds of storytellers, innovators, and problem solvers a click away via Slack to brainstorm potential solutions to the problems we all collectively face.

Given we’re all facing this challenge, I wanted to include you in the following conversation one of my Optimizer students* recently started in our Slack community:

I got a call from one of my mentors this morning. Her message was simply this:

“Stay at the job you’re at. Don’t leave.”

She was referring to the news of a potential writer’s strike looming over the industry. She also cited the slim job market due to studios holding off on green-lighting shows until after the (potential) strike. I’d like to start a discussion about this matter since it’s on everyone’s mind. Rather than joining the worry wagon, let’s focus and help each other. I’ll start:

  • To prepare for a potential job drought, my wife and I decided to cook more, eat out less.
  • Switched some of our additional principle mortgage payment over to our emergency fund.

What else can Optimizers do to feel better in this moment of uncertainty?

*If you’re seeking guidance and support, here’s more info about becoming part of the Optimizer community.”

What do you think…is staying at his current job the right choice?

My opinion? It depends.

Sure this person giving the advice to stick it out had good intentions, but ultimately they don’t understand where my student is in his career journey. This was simply the safe & secure advice. But sometimes there’s nothing scarier than comfort.

This student (who shall remain anonymous because he works on a VERY recognizable show) joined the Optimizer program because he needed guidance to navigate the next steps of his creative career. He had spent a long time working on the same show and was ready for a new creative challenge (a polite way of saying he was totally burned out). But he didn’t see a clear path, and moreover he had zero confidence he could connect with the right people to open the doors necessary to pursue his dream projects.

Just seven weeks into my Advance Yourself networking program, this student already has a tremendous level of clarity about his next steps. More importantly he has the confidence he can build genuine relationships with the right people. Plus he’s set himself up financially to weather a significant number of lean months (financial clarity is an absolute necessity when it comes to making career transitions).

Given all of the above, I advised my student to forge ahead, leave his current show in April as planned, and focus all of his efforts on building his professional network such that when opportunities open up again he’s at the head of the line, not sitting on his hands waiting for jobs to come back.

(As a side note, because of a single cold outreach message he’s now potentially in consideration to join the editing team of his dream show!)

What do you think?

In next week’s newsletter I’ll be discussing where I see a massive silver lining around an otherwise dark cloud and how we can use the potentially lean times ahead to build a strong foundation for a more fulfilling creative career.

But in the meantime, I’d love to turn it over to you.

What can we all be doing to prepare for the coming storm?

I mean it when I say that I read every response personally and do my best to respond when I’m able. I’d love to know how we can troubleshoot this challenge together. I’ll follow up next week sharing the community’s thoughts…including yours.

Be well.
Zack Arnold
Creator, Optimize Yourself

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”

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