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June 9th, 2011
When I was single, and took jobs to support my music, there were times when jobs were available that I liked. I had several jobs in New Orleans as a cook at well-known restaurants. I always liked to cook at home, and this was an extension of doing something that I liked. There were other times I took jobs that I did not like, just to keep a roof over my head. My move from New Orleans to Austin was exactly that. I was out of work in New Orleans, a friend told me about an opportunity doing some telemarketing in Austin. I took that as an opportunity to move to Austin to check out the music scene. The telemarketing job lasted only a few months, but by then I had a job managing a bar which was also a performing venue. It was a great way to be introduced to the Austin music scene!
There were also times when I took jobs in more indirectly related fields. I worked for a scaffolding company which was building the stages for a major music festival in Austin. One of the side benefits was obtaining a backstage pass for the performance. I also worked security for several festivals.
During those years, I generally worked day jobs only when I needed to bring in some cash, and worked temporary positions. My employers all knew I was a musician, and that was the reason I was working temporary. I had several offers of permanent full time employment, but I declined to stay flexible.
When I met the girl who is now my wife, things were a little different. We decided it was not fair for her to bring in money with her career and help me support my music. I then set out on non-music related career path. For the first several years, we were active as volunteers with a local fine arts committee, and I was able to meet a lot of classical performers, as well as provide backstage support. Eventually, however, the children came into our lives, and we did not have the time to devote to our volunteer interests. That’s when I had to back off from the music, and take whatever job was available. I ended up in the customer service sector, working at call centers. I really enjoy working with people and helping them to resolve any misunderstandings, errors, etc., that one usually encounters when working in customer service.
As my career progressed, I gravitated toward the technical end of customer service, working in telecom and then with a broadband ISP. I met many other people who were into music, and was able to keep up with the “digital revolution”, especially where it impacted the world of music.
There were a few years where I almost abandoned my music, and it caused me to be a very unhappy and frustrated person. Once I realized the cause of my frustration, I brought music back into my life, but kept my other commitments and priorities in perspective. It has been a tough balancing act, but I love my wife and children.
My wife has always said that being married to a musician is like being married to a man who has another wife or mistress. She understands the demands of the art, but she also helps me keep perspective on my art and my other commitments.
There is nothing wrong with being idealistic. My own idealism drove me to excel at music while I had the chance. If I had paid more attention to the business side of music, I might have made a career. Or, if I had started on a career path 30 years ago, I would be in a much better place financially today, and be able to make music my real career.
I could play “what-if” all day. In the end, my life today is a result of the decisions I have made throughout my life, and I am very happy today.
Again, I hope you can find what you’re looking for in these words.
February 18th, 2010
I will gladly share with you some of my experience. One of the “day jobs” I had when I was younger was a clerk in a music store; at another time I worked as a music teacher in a music store/studio. These types of jobs are not always easy to find, and they don’t always pay a lot, but they are good ways to keep focused on what you’re doing.
I have also had more not-music related jobs. When I was about 30, I was traveling to Los Angeles with a musician friend of mine, to see what we could make happen. On the way, be found ourselves broke and out of gas in New Orleans, in January.. After two weeks, my friend left, but I stayed. I found that I could make some money busking in New Orleans.
When Mardi Gras was over that year, the street tips went down, and I decided I would stay. That meant I had to get a day job. At first I worked day labor, which was good because I could worked when I wanted or needed, and devote the time otherwise to writing or playing, and still have enough for my necessities of shelter and food. It was at this time that I discovered that I was working to support my music. That was a grand realization, and gave me a perspective that has helped my get through many subsequent non-music-related jobs when I needed to.
Today, I have been married for almost 22 years. Most of that time I have been pursuing a career in Technical Customer Service and Technical support. These fields are not music-related, but up until recently, they have allowed me to keep my commitment to support my family. I have put my performance on the back burner, so to speak, in order to concentrate on raising my family and providing them with not only the financial support, but to enjoy time with them and to watch my children as they grow. I have shared my music with them, and they each have had opportunities to play whatever instrument they desired.
I have been practicing, and keeping up with my technique, and now that the kids are older, I have more time to get back to my music. I have set up a small computer recording area and will be recording some of my older work, and hopefully coming up with other songs.
I hope you can find some words in my rambling that will help you.
February 16th, 2010
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