• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

February 4, 2009

The Art of Reinvention

ann mundorff theater assistant

DRAMA MAMA Ann Mundorff a the Friedman Theater on Broadway.

Photo Credit: Anna Skladmann

Special Offer


EXIT SIGNS: In my first job out of college, at Hewlett-Packard, the company moved me from Colorado to San Francisco and offered me a good salary with a signing bonus. Within five years, I was managing teams in Malaysia, Italy, India, and the U.S. But the stress level was high — I'd come in to 400 e-mails each day. It was on a 5 a.m. conference call with India that I thought, What am I doing this for? So I quit my job and moved across the country to live with my cousin and her husband in Queens, NY, while I figured out how to combine my business background with my love of theater. My parents freaked; even the movers were like, "You're moving from San Francisco to Queens?"

WORD TO THE WISE: You're never too old to start over. It was the joke at the theater that I was the 27-year-old intern. But you spend so much time working that you might as well do something that you're passionate about. Now I'm a general management assistant at the Manhattan Theatre Club, learning about the day-to-day operation of shows, artist contracts, music rights, how to option a book for a play, how to commission playwrights, and how the whole creative team comes together.

THE WHAT-HAVE-I-DONE MOMENT: I took a $70,000 salary cut to do this — no more $300 salon trips. My first two internships paid zero, and once, for an opening-night party, I had to cart cases of hamburgers in a trash bag on the subway. I was like, Wow, I used to manage people, and now I'm delivering White Castle.

THE PAYOFF: I feel more at home in the theater and with the people in it than I ever did in the corporate culture of H-P, which was like the movie Office Space. Even budgeting has been good for me. I'm a lot happier in my life, and I love that crazy butterfly feeling I get watching a great show that we produced. It's like I'm up there with them.

—as told to Jessica Henderson

NEXT PAGE: From retail associate to COFFEE SHOP CO-OWNER

Tired of your cubicle? Need a raise? Want a change? Search for your dream job — it just takes a click.

This Is A Developing Story
Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Win a year’s supply of makeup products from Tarte and a year’s supply of hair products from Hamadi Organics!

Win a year’s supply of makeup products from Tarte and a year’s supply of hair products from Hamadi Organics!

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Career Tips
The High-Performer's Cheat Sheet

The 10 rarely-discussed-but-totally-essential career skills they don't teach in business school—and expert advice on how to nail them.

The Single Girl's Second Shift

You spend every night at the office, cluttering your desk with takeout containers. Your coworkers with kids are out the door at 5. Does work-life balance apply only to moms? Ayana Byrd reports on the latest type of workplace discrimination.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.