Automated email from HR system:
"Great news. You appear to be completely in control of everything..."
Appearances can be deceptive.
A mundane job may bear fruit when you least expect it.
Music / publishing / education / singing / business
It's been a funny old 15 years navigating the world of work, and one that has sometimes made little sense at the time. If you zoom out, however, the big picture makes a decent narrative, so I trust that next time it makes no sense it will be because I can't see it from the right angle yet. At the Bloomsbury office, there were some lunchtime talks a year or so ago called 10 things I've Learned. They were an opportunity for senior staff to share about their personal career journey with colleagues. I really enjoyed it and I've been out of university now for 15 years, so I reckon I can start to share some things I've learned, so here goes one for a starter.
#1: Maintain good relationships (learnt in 2002)
In 2002 I finished university, went home to York and took a job on the CD stand at Banks Music. I was in a cafe one day and bumped into my old A-level music teacher. We got chatting and this led her to offer me the opportunity to return to my old secondary school and teach classroom music.
In the same music shop, a couple of years later, I met Mark Mumford. I was organising a piano event and Mark was representing publishers as a freelancer. Fast forward eight years and Mark's career has moved on and he is beginning to run Hal Leonard's operations in Europe. He contacts me about a role with them and I interview and get the job.
In both cases, if I hadn't had good relationships with people at the point of there being no visible 'value' in doing so, there would have been no job offers years later. So I conclude that a mundane job may bear fruit when you least expect it.
I am brilliant at saying ‘yes’ to things – even when I know quite clearly the answer should be ‘no’. I can be quite certain that there is no way I can take on the commitment being asked of me but still hear ‘yes, sure’ tumble out of my mouth. I don’t know if it is fear of letting people down or what, but it has happened at various times in my life with various consequences, so from now on if an ask doesn’t meet one of the below, the answer is NO.
Does it bring me JOY?
This a great reason for doing almost anything. Almost.
Does it pay my bills?
A girl has got to live. Especially a single one.
Is it a personal priority of mine?
For me, examples of these would be exercise, family commitments, church and other things that I think are important to invest my time in, even when I don’t feel like it.
Is it part of a vision of mine that I want to see realised?
This is simply a reminder than other people will love to have you work on their projects and you may make other people’s art, businesses, dreams, music and plans see the light of day while yours remain half-sketched or forgotten.
If the answer is NO to all of the above, say NO. Only go forward if you have a yes -- ideally two or, better still, three.
Then ask if it leaves enough time for eating, sleeping and watering the plants. A further yes, and you are good to go.