mda: As we all know, these economic times have been quite hard for the arts as orchestras declare bankruptcy, funding dries up and schools end arts education which is killing the future supporters. Yes, this may become somewhat of a doom-and-gloom post, but we feel it is still important to discuss. It may not be a new discussion out there, but RBD and I now have first-hand knowledge of how it is as we both find ourselves without employment at this time. Now I know I can say this for both of us: we are not bitter about losing our positions. It happens and we must move on and we will grow from it. Plus, I know both of us are quite intelligent and we will find bigger and better opportunities very soon. So let’s start a discussion here, why don’t I let RBD start it off.
RBD:Yes, there are lots of people out there that have lost their jobs and we join a rather large segment of the population who are looking for jobs. However, being in the arts, the jobs we are looking for you won’t find in the
paper, or job boards on the internet. Being in the arts gives us unique connections where we can begin looking for new employment. As this discussion takes shape, our journeys will differ as I have a foot in the ‘industry’ side of the arts and another foot in the ‘performance’ side. As we document our different (and yet similar) paths, we hope that other people can learn from our failures and our successes. (emphasis on SUCCESSES!) So, mda, what have you been doing to find new employment?
mda:Well I must say the most important thing that has been beneficial is the connections I have made in the Indy arts scene over the past 6 years or so. The most beneficial aspect has been talking with those connections and keeping my ear to the ground for any positions that may arise. As RBD mentioned, my journey is a little
different as I find myself more on the ‘industry’ side as my performing career is not as extensive as my compatriot. So the most important thing I have found as my search continues is to create a well-written cover letter, know your material and be able to speak properly and knowledgeable. Now that might sound like easy things to do or ‘no-brainers,’ but I do believe people don’t really pay attention to the details. Details is what can separate you from the competition. It’s true…deal with it the right way! How about you, RBD? What do you think about the connections you have made and how has that helped with the performance side?
RBD: Compatriot? Well, okay, I’ll accept that. Yes, mda, details and words matter and they are important. Don’t forget that. To answer your question about connections, I would have to say that, YES, connections are very, very important. When we were ‘let go’ from our illustrious record label positions, I immediately had a beer, then played a gig later that night. Soon there-after, I created a list of people I have played/worked for in the past and people I have gotten to know through the job I had just lost. My list ended up being around 45 people long. I called and/or emailed almost all of them in the first week and have heard some very positive responses. The one things I haven’t done yet is to create a couple versions of my resume and create a CV (kind of a long-form resume). I have a nice resume now for performance, but not the business/industry side of things. I think now is the perfect time to (for me at least) to set a goal, maybe even an outlandish goal, but really set up a clear and functional direction I want to take for the future. This is what I believe right now: I don’t want to take any job, just to take a job. I also don’t believe there is a ‘perfect job’, ‘out there’, ‘waiting for me’, like some golden goat waiting to be milked. This is the perfect opportunity to reset and figure out what will ultimately make me happy in the long run. Am I being too selfish? Is this even possible? What do you think mda?
mda: I think you are on to something there, my friend. We are both “at that age” where it is nice to think of stability (whatever that really means) and not just settling on a ‘job’ certainly doesn’t allow for that stability. It really is about happiness at the same time. However, unfortunately it is also about paying the bills and paying for the outlandish gas prices right now. There is that fine line one must walk to make sure they do not find themselves in trouble. However, that being said, I do not believe either of us will fall in that. The thing about resume/CV that I have found interesting throughout this process has been things I have done in the past that I either forgot about or did not look at it as ‘worthy to mention’ until my friends and colleagues looked at my material and showed me my mistakes. So Rule Number ‘Whatever Number We Are On Right Now’: show your material to as many people as you can before you submit. They almost always will see something differently than you and it will ultimately help you out.
RBD: Yeah, never underestimate the power and knowledge of your friends in and out of your professional area. It’s easy to get dark at a time like this and no potential employer wants to hire a dark/depressed person. We both have to be upbeat and positive and know that we are a valuable asset to any future place of employment. What do you see, mda, as a rule about what to put on a resume and how to word it? Let’s take for an example your occasional co-guest-hosting of my radio show ‘Have You Heard’? How do you make that sound as best as it can be?
mda: Well, I talk to the actual host and see how he would like me to word everything. But I remember when we were discussing this, it became more of a conversation and we mutually came up with the correct wording of how to describe the show. One thing that came up that we didn’t remember beforehand was the fact that there are interviews with national and international musicians on the show. This was and important fact that obviously may present the show in a different light than saying it is just a local radio show. You know what I mean? I remember while I was working on my resume/CV, another friend felt it might be better to display a certain committee work I have had in the past as a separate area than placing it in my ‘Additional Experience’ section. I didn’t even think of that, but it certainly makes sense. Again, it’s the finer details…
RBD: Yes, it’s the finer details that matter. Details matter. Words matter. The correct definition of words matter and the correct speling of words matter too. My advice to myself, you and anybody out there looking for a job is this: Create a community of people in your field, don’t be ashamed to tell them of your predicament, have them review your resume/CV and never give up. Also, start shopping at Aldi‘s, get another roommate and find out when and where the beer/drink specials are. You can thank me later.
mda: Hey, buddy….check your spelling.