May 2011

Print this page ›

May 2011

News & Notices

Seek Info on TD Job Satisfaction

Mark L. Engler Technical Production Commission

Job satisfaction is often discussed among technical directors. Long hours, low pay, inadequate budgets, and stress are subjects familiar to all technical directors. But how common are they? Do all technical directors suffer the same challenges, or are these difficulties not as widespread as many in the profession believe?

In 1987, Lisa Aitken and Dennis Dorn conducted a survey among technical directors to try and answer those questions. Ten years later, the survey was revived (with a few additions and modifications to the format) to see if any changes had occurred.

Both surveys returned mixed results. While degrees of job dissatisfaction still remained among many in the profession, those feelings were far from universal. When comparing the results, some patterns start to emerge. With only two survey samples for comparison, there wasn’t enough data to draw definitive conclusions.

The time is right for another go as the 25th anniversary of the initial survey approaches. What has changed in the 14 years since the last survey? What has changed in the 24 years since the first? Both of the previous surveys were sponsored, as is this one, by the USITT Technical Production Commission.

The primary goal of this project is to identify areas of concern common to technical directors who work in all areas of the performing arts. The first two surveys were mailed to TDs in regional theatres, commercial shops, industry manufacturers, and educational institutions. It is my hope that this new survey will reach an audience similarly diverse, and that the results begin a constructive debate on strategies to address those issues of concern.

Once all the data is in, the results will be submitted to TD&T for publication. They also will be presented at the Long Beach 2012 Conference & Stage Expo.

The survey should take approximately 15 minutes and is intended for both current and former technical directors only. If you are not a current or former TD please do not take the survey as you may skew the results, however, please invite friends and colleagues who may not have been reached by this initial invitation. The survey will be open until May 27th.

Click here to take the survey »


Result samples from the 1997 survey