It’s 2015 and my daughter is off to university. We are going to miss her, it makes me feel really old having a daughter at university, but it also makes me re-evaluate some of the questions about careers and what you do in your life.
Will she have a career in music?
There are so many reasons why you may choose a career and it seems to fall into two categories. The first is that you actually have a plan and know what you want to do and have been planning it for a long time, such as going to university and working through a pre-set career path. The second is where you see what opportunities there are and you choose one to see where it takes you.
There is a third way. That third way is how a musician needs to look at their career if the hope to succeed.
As you often hear, musicians get paid out a lot about how little they earn. Get a haircut and get a real job was the line I often heard.
You can wait for a label to sign you up or for a million hits on YouTube or you can try door number three.
Door number three is the way I decided to go many years ago. Once I started down that path I could never go back.
So what is door number three?
It is definitely not the easy way, but it is a way that you will feel you you have achieved something amazing and where you can be in control of your destiny.
Door #3: Create your own career.
What do I mean by this? Don’t be offended but I have realised that one of the craziest cultural expectations is that people spend 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, for over 40 weeks a year, for their whole life working to achieve someone else’s dream. It’s called being an employee. Now to me that seems a little odd.
So how does this work? Instead of looking for someone to give you a job and employ you. You can create your own job or career.
Please note: this is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint hearted. This takes some serious commitment but the rewards come in all shapes and sizes.
If you are a musician, instead of waiting for a gig to appear, contact the venues and pitch an idea to them. Instead of waiting for a recording contract, get out and record. Start releasing your music. Waiting around for someone else to do something or help you do something is wasting your time.
Find people with similar ideas and work with them to produce a win/win situation.
Why is door number three really cool? Because it gives you the opportunity to do things you have always wanted to do. It gives you a different type of freedom.
I remember going to see The Wiggles many years ago. In a crowd of hundreds of kids and a hundred mums (that appeared to love the Wiggles more than the kids), I remember being one of three dads that had the opportunity to be there with their kids. Why? Because my choice of career, where I’m in control, gave me the freedom to choose to take my kids to a Wiggles concert on a weekday.
So when I talk to my kids about careers, university and their future, I encourage them to do what they love, take opportunities but also make their own opportunities.
No matter what you choose I will support you and I know you will go on to do amazing and wonderful things.
All the best.. always.