It is fair to say that each working sector has been affected by lockdown restrictions. Few industries, such as IT, online businesses and supermarkets were thriving, while other sectors were suffering worst nightmares. Especially the cultural and creative industries – the focus area of Skillmill – have been drastically negatively affected. However, some of the creative professionals thought of new ways to get through the crisis. One of these ways is switching the talent – this is what our guest speaker, Robert G. Neumayr, did.
Robert has been a performer in the musical theatre for the last ten years. Ever since he graduated from musical theatre school, Robert has been directing, producing and writing plays as well as acting in them. On top of that, he has been the owner of a software engineering company.
Unfortunately, once the strict lockdown measures started to take place, the cultural and creative sector was among the very first ones to suffer. All public gatherings, events, concerts, exhibitions and plays were cancelled immediately — all when Robert was preparing for his play’s big premiere that was supposed to happen at the beginning of March.
During these uncertain times, Robert did not let panic take over his mind and actions. He understood that his performer’s career would be on pause for quite some time. Thus, he decided to switch to the software engineering area completely for this period. According to Robert, artists are more than capable of shifting their focus during these times.
What advice would you give to a creative who has no gigs at all due to corona?
“In general, I would say: don’t remain in a state of shock. Of course, you should digest the emotional shock. You should be aware of your emotional state. However, at some point, don’t let your emotional state define who you are. It does not hurt to analyse what else you are good at. I don’t believe that people are only good at one thing. They might be exceptional at one thing, but they can always do something else.”
Here is the advice that Robert gave to his colleagues from the theatre:
“Sit down and write down what it is that you do, what goes into performance for you, what other individual parts are vital for the performance. Then try to apply those personal attributes that you’ve found and analyse where they could be used except the performing arts.”
As a result, some of Robert’s performing arts fellas started to promote themselves on social media. One colleague has reflected her experience with artistic projects and identified that her focus was laying on logistics and production management. Thus, on social media, she was claiming that she is very good at organising things and doing the research. This has helped Robert’s colleague to successfully network with new executives and explore new career opportunities.
However, if creatives are finding it hard to switch their talent, here is another advice from Robert:
“If you are able – get a temp job. I understand that it is not necessarily what you want to do, but this should not be bad or shameful. Just tell yourself: I can’t be on stage right now, I can’t paint, etc., but it does not mean that I can’t help myself or the society in any other way.”
Since there is a massive fear for the second wave, do you think creatives should prepare in advance for it?
“I do think that artists should start being more active in terms of spreading awareness about the creative community. It is because once the EU lockdown started, most governments showed only a little or no support to the creative sector, which was among those industries that were suffering the most.”
However, according to Robert, it is not just about demanding change for your own needs and wellbeing. It is also about unity and helping others:
“Us – creatives – have a different perspective on how we see the world. Art is how we make sense of the world. Part of our job description is looking at things and trying to find a different take or perspective to it.
Overall, Robert’s story is an excellent example of how quickly a person can adapt once the uncertain times come. However, Robert also acknowledges that his situation was very different from others – he was already working in both fields: performing arts and IT – for quite some time. Thus, a career shift for him was very smooth.
To those who want to learn a new creative skill or collaborate with other creatives from different fields, Skillmill is a perfect solution. Here you can connect and network with fellow artists and improve your skillset.