And how many of us can say this for their JOB? Yes, a job. The majority of us work to pay the bills, to buy food, to provide shelter, but the actual job itself holds little personal meaning. But some of us get lucky. And I was one of those people.
When I graduated college in 1996 I was considering but two career choices: 1) The music business or 2) pursuing a phD in Sociology. Due to financial constraints, I chose the former. It's been a good ride, but it took me about a decade to find the job that I'd waited for. I'd ALWAYS wanted to land in a role where I was working to help musicians and independent record labels. Why? Well, it drove me crazy that the truly great artists of any time period were often paid little heed. I mean, how could a band as good as The Jayhawks get virtually NO attention? Why did it take 30 years after his death for Nick Drake to get noticed? How did Richard Buckner get dropped from A&M after releasing "Devotion & Doubt" and "Since"? I mean, these were BRILLIANT records. Obviously the label did virtually nothing to push his art. And that's a damn shame.
In late-2005 I landed the job I'd been waiting for my entire life. I walked in the doors on my first day thinking that I could finally play a part. Although it may be a small part, I thought I could play a role in changing things. I could expose the truly great artists. I could offer them tools to reach a wider audience. I could hear what they wanted and needed and try to institute those needs.
For those who know where I'm employed (yes, I'm still there), we took a major hit this past week. More than half of our staff was let go, and a good portion of these people were incredibly hard-working, passionate and in it for the same reasons as I was. I didn't even lose my job, yet I was in tears numerous times this past week. Sure, the company made some good decisions and some bad ones, but for the most part, we really tried to carry out this vision. It was an incredibly wonderful place to work. I made friendships that will likely last a lifetime (both inside the company and out). I learned more from some of my mentors than I learned in the previous nine years in this industry.
I was lucky. Very lucky. I can't thank AR enough for believing in me and bringing me on board. Who knows what will happen over the next few weeks/months, but this experience has changed me. I can only dream of finding something so rewarding again. The team that I managed was comprised of two of the most driven and passionate people in the business. They're so talented that I know they'll be fine. But the chances of us working together as we did are likely slim. And pardon the emotion, but that breaks my heart.
We'll see what the future brings. Whatever it does, my time at this company will never be forgotten. Ever.