Career School of Rock n’ Roll

Summer is the season of music festivals.  Touring in a band is like managing a career change.  Here are the relevant lessons:

Lesson #1: Join the Right Band

Do you feel out of place, in a dead end job that neither satisfies or motivates at any level? Perhaps you are married to a lifestyle that demands constant touring and time away from home. You love country music, but find yourself in a jazz ensemble expected to improvise a solo performance instead of participating in a three-part harmony.

is Interactive survey uncovered the following statistics on American job satisfaction:

*          Across America, 45 percent of workers say they are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their jobs. That means 55% are not.

*          Only 20 percent feel very passionate about their jobs.

*          33 percent believe they have reached a dead end in their career.

*          21 percent are eager to change careers.

This survey reveals that a lot of people are in the wrong band which helps to explain why so few bands really make it.

A good jobfit is like singing the right kind of music (the kind you like) with the right musicians (the ones you like). Like you, everyone has a role, the roles are well defined, and everyone pulls their weight. You have good gigs and bad gigs but a common vision helps the band endure the ups and downs of different expectations, different egos and personalities, different work circumstances.

Lesson #2: Play Your Own Music

Perhaps you have simply forgotten how to play your own music? You started out moving in one direction, then went another way, then another, and another. You chased money, opportunity, personal growth, professional advancement, travel, power, status, and other legitimate ends. And one day you woke up a complete stranger to yourself, feeling like an imposter, wondering when everyone else will catch you living this lie.

Like most bands, you learned very early that a band can make a living playing other people’s songs, but the your right work hinges on your ability to write, record, and sell your own songs. But staying true to your authentic self is not easy, especially if you never enjoy any success.  In the end, it isn’t your fault. If you are a recording artist, playing your own music is still the way to make the most money in that business.  Hang in there long enough and your turn will come.  Unable to gain any traction from early success, tensions rise in any band, and the band starts falling apart.  Staying true to your authentic self, your vision, your values is not easy.  It requires patience, persistence and courage.  Most of us give up far too early, for good reasons—marriages, mortgages, duties, obligations, bills to pay.

One of the most important things you can do is remember why you started down that path of passion in the first place– to honor that place inside yourself where the sound of your own music and sense of purpose is in harmony with who and what you are in terms of your right work.

Lesson #3: Good Marketing Trumps Good Talent

From the employer’s perspective, talent at some point becomes a “given” and the real differentiating factor for making a hiring decision is much more precise. By the time you get to an interview, the question is how your talent “fits” the employer’s need. So talent is important. People who can’t compete on talent don’t even get to that point in the discussion. But leveraging that talent into a particular set of employer problems/challenges/issues/pain points is what wins the job.

There are a lot of bands out there competing for your concert dollar.  There are many ways to spend your money.  The talent of a band is important but at the end of the day, there are a lot of bands with talent.  And the ones that get your money are the ones that focus marketing, passion, persistence, professionalism, and whatever name you assigned to the sensory assault of the massive light and sound equipment they travel with.  They might be selling talent, but you’re buying something else–an experience.

The same thing happens in a job search.  Employers are buying talent but there are lots of talented people in the marketplace.  It is very important to use marketing, passion, persistence, professionalism to get in front of an employer.  In the end, they will either like you or not.  It’s that intangible something or other that makes the difference in choosing you over another experience.  Your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to choose you.

Career consultants understand this and work everyday to optimize their client’s prospects of getting a job offer.  They can make a big difference in the way you are marketed through your resume, your interview performance, your follow ups, your salary negotiation, your probationary period.

Lesson #4: Listen When the Music Stops

For many people who lose their job, the music has stopped. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable with the silence?  Your first inclination is to try to make the same music again and again despite the fact that you don’t even like the music.

Use this gift of time to LISTEN to the internal voices that can guide you in the right direction. I understand the desire for job security.  However, studies show 80% of people are not passionate about what they do.  Somehow, people have bought into the false idea that job security and passion are mutually exclusive.  Many people are finding out, of course, that there is no real job security, and too often it comes at the price of losing the music inside us.

All music begins in silence.  Silence carries not only a message, but an answer, the right answer.  Now is the time to slow down, block out the noise, and LISTEN.

Your personal story is full of music, one that harmonizes with who and what you are in terms of your right work.  There are dozens of jobs that align with your authentic self.  All that is required is for you to slow down, listen for the rich sounds embedded in your stories, and follow the melody into a better job fit.

5 thoughts on “Career School of Rock n’ Roll”

  1. I too am new to social media. I focus on the content, and leave the technical stuff to my Virtual Assistants who specialize in Search Engine Optimization and social media. I tell them what they want and they do it. I can’t answer your technical question. Good luck!

  2. You’re completely right. That is without question the way to do it. I’ve had numerous friends and companions tell me otherwise, but know that is definitely right.

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