As in, apply a dose of realism to the old adage, “Find what you love to do, and get someone to pay you to do it.” I feel as if the majority of people that walk this earth go through life without ever really experiencing it, without ever finding their true passion(s). So to discover those passions is rare enough, and even rarer is to be able to forge a successful career out of them.
Many people, upon realizing the thing that it is that they value most, end up ruining the whole experience of it by trying to force a square peg into a circular hole, work-wise. A friend of mine from high school was widely recognized as an artistic genius, with the potential to paint and draw professionally. But when he started university, he opted not to major in fine arts – for him, it was more of a hobby and creative outlet than it was a potential career.
Fun fact: he designed the initial outline for this tattoo that my sister also has.
Some of these passions may even be completely unrealistic to follow, from a professional perspective. I have a deep fascination with all things space and cosmos-related, but a career as an astronaut is a very (very) far reach for me, considering my abysmal skills in the math and science fields.
This is Major Tom to ground control…
In the position of employment I most recently held, I experienced this particular conflict between passion and realism. I have long known that music is an immovable constant in my life (as mentioned on eloquentzen previously), so as I was preparing myself to enter the post-grad job market, finding work in the live music sector became my central focus. I was fortunate to make good in-roads with a promoting & booking agency while I was still finishing up college, and this lead to being hired on right out of the gate.
Make no mistake, I loved the work I did as a promoter (re: hustler). But as the months fell off the calendar, I began to feel the wear and tear of the intensive nights of stage management and long days of city hustling. The environments in which I conducted my business often went hand-in-hand with social (and sometimes binge) drinking; to compound the effects further, I was essentially allowed to make my own hours as long as I completed my tasks by their respective deadlines.
“Spirits stay mute while you egos spread rumors / We survivalists, turned to consumers”
Feedback from my employers was largely positive, regarding my abilities and resourcefulness. But I distinctly remember my boss having a discussion with me regarding an instance of dismal performance on my part, where he said word-for-word, “We’re extremely happy with your work 99% of the time; you’re exactly what we needed plus more. But it’s that 1% of the time that nearly negates all the rest of that.”
Though I did not understand it then, that “1% of the time” was actually when there would be a severe spike in my alcoholic tendencies, that would spill over into my work and cause setbacks for the company. Between all of these factors working against maintaining any kind of sobriety (that in fact fueled my alcoholism) and my enlightening experience in rehab, I’ve come to realize the party-promotion game creates something of a hostile work environment for me.
So what can I take away from this, and how can I apply it to my life? Well, the knowledge that I cannot soberly operate in such settings is a solid start, in and of itself. Using that information to take an objective examination of my potential career path, I can see what I ‘am:’ I am people.
“We the American working population
Hate the fact that eight hours a day
Is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn’t us
And we may not hate our jobs,
But we hate jobs in general
That don’t have to do with fighting our own causes.
We the American working population
Hate the nine-to-five day-in/day-out
When we’d rather be supporting ourselves
By being paid to perfect the past-times
That we have harbored based solely on the fact
That it makes us smile if it sounds DOPE…!”
The core concepts of where I excelled in my last job boil down to interpersonal communication, situational capitalization, real-time resourcefulness, emotional recognition, and intuitive empathy. These skills apply directly to essentially any sector of human relations. I’ve tried my hand at the music promotion biz; now let’s see what other aspects of the game that is life I can hustle & conquer.
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