Unemployment

For the first time in my 12 years in the post-college workforce, I have been laid off at a job. I left a breakfast meeting yesterday morning, turned the corner to my office and noticed about ten colleagues standing outside. I saw tears, laughs, anger, and friendship. And I was warned that I would meet my fate, whether good or bad, the moment the elevator doors opened. I made my way upstairs and felt an incredible sense of ease. Given my role in the company, I was 95% certain that I was on the cut line. And I was right.

I've now had 24+ hours to absorb this all, and the most overriding feeling and emotion I'm experiencing is a sense of being grateful. See, when I graduated college I wanted to travel down one of two paths: 1) pursue a phD in Sociology or 2) work in music. These were and still remain my two biggest passions (the former having evolved into politics and policy), and given a lack of money to fund many years of graduate school, I opted for music. And boy have I been lucky.

I have spent the past decade-plus working in almost every area of the music business: publishing, television, label, mobile, legal, journalism, social-networking and digital, to name a few. The driving force behind my desire to work in music has been to help out the artists that play such a major role in my life, and bring me not only happiness, but understanding. And in some very small sense, I feel as if I've done that.

Over the years, I have received thousands of free CDs, met countless artists who provide such inspiration in my life and worked with fantastic and incredibly passionate people, many of whom chose music over careers that could've paid far more. You see, for most of us in music, we're here not to be cool or to work in "entertainment", but rather to simply be around this art that we just can't get enough of. It's inside of us, and since we're unable to shake it, we choose to make it a full-time life. Sure, we work alongside some people who are in it for the wrong reasons (in our eyes), those who see the potential of a big start-up payout. But that is business, and I've felt so fortunate that I've always gotten along with most of those folks.

All day people have asked, "What's next for you?" and this is something I can't answer right now. I have absolutely loved my time in this industry, but there's no question that I have seen many-a-company make extremely questionable moves. And oftentimes my voice has not been heard enough. Oh, I'm not claiming to always be correct on the matters of business, but I do think that I have a very keen understanding of this space. My main weakness is that sometimes, perhaps, I don't speak up enough. I've felt so fortunate that perhaps, at times, I'm lost in the joy of the business and don't dive deep enough into the overall business processes. But when you've worked at companies that are controlled by a few at the top, it's hard to drive your vision. Lesson learned. If I do stay in music, I will only do so if I'm acutely involved in the overall decisions of the business.

I will take the next few weeks and take a step back. I have been unbelievably lucky to work in music, perhaps my biggest passion in life. There's not a few hours that go by, where music isn't streaming into my ears. It's something I just can't live without. But does it need to be my career going forward? Maybe. Or maybe not. As the days play out, I'm sure that it'll come to me.

5 comments:

Fred said...

Very sorry to read about your misfortune. I suppose it could be worse: you could be working for the McCain campaign. Chin up.

Sean said...

you know you're my man and if you need a dixie-fried couch to crash o while you figure out what to do next, i'll keep you fed for a while

Joyce said...

Hey Chris, sorry to hear about you losing your job, I'm sure you'll land on your feet somewhere even better. Good luck!

Campbell said...

Thank you, folks. I appreciate the kind words. And Sean, your offer for a greasy, fried couch could not be more heartwarming. I just may take you up.

Thanks again.

Sean said...

actually, now that I think about it...you can have the guest room, if you want...but the couch is still an option, too