We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
My work/life balance has completely changed with age. I went to school for theatre and work professionally in entertainment and events. There are two prevailing thoughts in this industry that really conflict with the entire idea of a work/life balance.
First, it is generally understood that you work until the work is done. Call times (industry lingo for work hours) are typically long. A 12 hour day is standard. Events typically take place at night, so you report early to prepare and leave late once everything and everyone is gone. I’m actually currently writing this from the broadcast room for a virtual event that I’m working on. It’s 8:35pm and I got here at 8:00am, no end in sight yet. All of that to say, once this show wraps, I’ll be taking a few days off where all of my notifications are silenced and I won’t respond to emails; I’ll take that time to catch up on chores and spend intentional time relaxing at home.. I never would have done that when I began my career.
I’d burn the candle at both ends and then relight the wick until I quite literally got sick and my body forced me to stop.
Secondly, everything we do comes with a sense of urgency. Events are high pressure. Everyone is nervous. There is a lot at stake. In 2021, it’s easier than ever to reach me wherever, whenever. I’ve got Slack, everyone has my phone number, my email comes to my phone. I have to make the conscious choice to limit my availability and respond when I am best equipped to respond instead of just responding immediately. Not only does limiting my availability help my mental health, but it makes me a better worker to take a minute, an hour, the evening to get back to someone instead of speaking off the cuff.
For the record, I’m still really bad at doing this. I’m a people pleaser, and part of my drive to please people is being quick to respond and be reliable; it physically hurts me to snooze my Slack notifications. But I’m getting better!
It helps to read my own cues. Am I mentally tired? Are my thoughts frantic? Staying embodied helps me to understand that the balance is off and I need a break. … And so does having a great partner that asks me to put my phone down and hang out with him.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I work in the world of Entertainment and Events. It’s hard to give myself a title, because I do a lot of different things depending on the project, but I usually say that I’m an Event Producer.
Right now, I’m most excited to still be getting gigs! COVID wrecked my world. I got laid off from two jobs within hours of each other. Fortunately, I got called to be a part of a Dallas-based Event Production company called The Event Nerd to assist with Virtual Events! I cannot say enough how happy I am to even be working, and to be working in my field is the biggest blessing I could think of.
Plus, I get to use my industry knowledge, but learn so many new things because Virtual Events on this scale didn’t really exist before COVID. One of my favorite parts of working in this industry is the problem-solving, but now we’re solving for completely new problems so it’s fun and challenging.
My colleagues and I work quite literally behind the scenes and we’re struggling right now. Aside from that, if anyone wants to talk about live-streaming concerts, a virtual conference/event, or communications management for their brand, I can link you up with the right people!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Fort Worth, so this will be Funkytown centric. I love to take visitors to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, downtown for some ice cream at Melt, out for Tex-Mex at Los Asaderos, cocktails at Nickel City, and out to a local show at Lola’s or M.A.S.S. Follow it up the next morning with some coffee from Arcadia Coffee and breakfast tacos from Salsa Limon! I’m very involved with the local music scene in Fort Worth, so I spend a lot of time bragging about my musician friends who are much cooler than I am. Check out The Hendersons, Polydogs, Vodeo, Cut Throat Finches, Chillamundo, Big Mike Richardson… and so many others! Honorable Mentions: Trinity River Trails, HG SPLY Co., the Water Gardens, and the Kimbell Art Museum!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My answer to this is always my mom. So many women have had to struggle to feel like their voice matters in a room, that their ideas or skills aren’t worth has much someone else’s, or that we aren’t strong. Thanks to my mom and her strength, guidance, and mentoring I’ve always felt empowered and strong; not many women can say that. So, thanks, Mom! You’re the best. I would not be in the rooms I get to be in today without her.
The Event Nerd, Can Turkyilmaz, Melissa Claire Spurrier