Sleep is for suckers

In my experience, there is  a mindset that successful music and audio professionals share. Without the security of guaranteed regular employment, we have learned to stay alert, plan ahead, and keep our eyes open open for the next possible opportunity.  I used to tell my friend Rosenberg that every morning I’d wake up sniffing the air like a rabbit looking for lettuce.  The life of a freelancer is fraught with peril. You never know when a gig is going to be pulled out from under you, how long a dry spell is going to last, or if the opportunity of a lifetime is right around the corner.

I have seen it over and over. A friend will get lucky and land a sweet, high profile gig.  Good bucks, industry cred, decent hours. And all of a sudden, they are buying stuff, taking trips, and hanging out at the top spots. In other words, they are behaving as if they now have a high-paying straight job.  You might ask, “Well, what should they be doing?” In my experience, the best thing you can do when you get a good job is go out and look for work. You might not feel any different, but there is a big difference in how you are perceived out there in the world.  Last month, you were just one more person without high profile work, handing out your resume’/credit list/demo reel to be buried in the noise of all of the others doing the exact same thing.  This month, you are THE ONE WITH THE COOL GIG. As the expression goes, “strike while the iron is hot.” You may not believe this, but just having this gig probably has already wrought changes in how you interact with prospective clients, how you carry yourself, how confident you are when you introduce yourself to new people. Instead of having to explain yourself to someone with five minutes of B.S., you can just say “I’m a musician and guitar player, and right now I’m playing guitar on GREAT GIG X.”

Too many people allow themselves to be seduced by that sweet feeling of great money, excellent working conditions, and the respect of industry cognoscenti and forget that they are one pink slip away from being “Joe Schmoe the unemployed guitar player” again. If you are lucky enough to land a hip gig, take that boost and work it like crazy.  The best time to look for work is when you HAVE work. You can relax later.

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