1.What were you doing for work before the pandemic?
At the moment the pandemic hit I was rehearsing a play. We had to cancel the production mid-rehearsal. I was in Ottawa and had planned to be there another month. That is what I was doing in the immediate sense. In the broader sense, being an actor and writer, the entire year became uncertain. It actually unfolded over the course of the next few months that this closure was not going to last just a few weeks as I originally thought, but would be indefinite. At the moment the play closed, for example, I knew I had a production of a play I had written happening in September. My first thought that that was so far into the future that it would be safe. So the slow evolution of uncertainty has been stressful. I say this, because it has affected my work in the sense that it has become, over time, that my usual mode of “I may be unemployed now, but something will come up” is now just “I am unemployed.”
2.What do you miss spending money on these days?
I miss my daily visits to cafes, although, now, when the weather is fine, I’ll go to a patio and read and write (very little). I miss going to movies and plays.
3.How do you think your spending will change after the pandemic?
I’m not sure. I kind of half think that when the pandemic ends, then I will be free to go back to normal. But as time passes and my financial resources deplete, it may turn out to be the opposite. That I will spend less until I see which way the employment wind blows. The compounded uncertainty of an already uncertain profession.
4.What are your tips on how to cut costs?
My problem is that I am not really cutting costs. Except in the sense that I am not spending money on the things I can’t do. I think I would relax more about money if I looked more honestly at it. But I tend to turn a blind eye to that. But that is my verrrrry unhealthy way of coping with the uncertainty of unemployment, which is not helping during the pandemic.
5.Do you feel that there is uncertainty about how your work will look after the pandemic ends? If so, what are you doing to cope with this uncertainty?
Weirdly, the uncertainty of the pandemic feels a little bit like certainty sometimes. Because the world has been sucked into the uncertainty of my whole life. Not knowing if work will come up, how to endure times of unemployment. But I know this is not real. I seem to go through periods of intense creativity, almost treating the pandemic like a deadline, but this ends in a kind of exhaustion. I do have a creative project to work on, but this does not chew up nearly enough time. I honestly don’t know what the post-pandemic work world will look like. This is because reality had been shifting so much during the pandemic. ie there is a second wave that is talked about but not really featured in any plans I’ve seen moving forward. I have been writing and imagining other ways to create, also thinking about what life might be like as a non-creative person. But so many conversations seem to only be anticipating a post-pandemic world that looks exactly like the pre-pandemic world. I mostly prepare by not thinking about it.
Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.
She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.
Email Emily at email@example.com