“For ‘Neon Bible,’ we met with a lot of dudes, but honestly it wasn’t that interesting,” Win says. “Merge is like the labels used to be, based on someone’s tastes and interest in music —”
“—instead of statistics and marketing,” Régine says.
“If you look at the Web sites of a lot of the majors,” Win goes on, “they’re selling everything — hip-hop, country, Disney soundtracks. It’s the throw-a-lot-of-garbage-at-the-wall —”
“— and-see-what-sticks strategy,” Régine says “But at least we got to stay in some nice hotels, didn’t we? And we ate good food for a month! And we didn’t lie to anyone either: Right from the start, we made it clear we’d never sign with them. I mean, why would we?”
It’s been almost a year since I made the second biggest decision of my life. Last March, I quit my job. And I didn’t just quit any old job. I wasn’t a Walmart greeter or a Starbucks barista (not that there’s anything wrong with either). No, I quit a 20 year career as a television producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. One of the most highly respected journalistic organizations out there. When I left I had 20 years of union protected seniority, 5 weeks holidays, and a pension. Things people aspire to have and rarely find in this day and age. But those things weren’t my ‘love of craft’. They weren’t what drove me to edit until 2 in the morning, or write at 6 a.m.. A pension does not give you passion. And when I managed to pull my head out of the work-like-a-maniac-support-kid-pay-daycare-mortgage-doitallagaintomorrow whirlwind which had been my life for years, I had to face some hard facts. I was unhappy. Like, ‘starting to go crazy’ unhappy. To be honest, I just didn’t give a shit anymore. Listen, my work has always been my raison d’etre. And I’m almost ashamed to admit that ‘not giving a shit’ is what finally made me take action. Not high blood pressure from the constant stress. Not hating a job so much that it impacted my family and turned me into a miserable bitch. Not waking up each day feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of getting on that subway. It says a lot about me that I only took action when I noticed my job performance starting to slip (that’s another post for another day). But at least I finally did. And the day I *really* knew, the day I gave myself permission to say it *out loud* - I QUIT – I had never felt so empowered and free in my entire life. It trumped every other decision I had ever made. Having a kid? That’s an easy one. You really don’t have a clue what you’re getting into anyhow, and by the time you do it’s too late. Getting married? See above. Getting married the second time? Pfffttt. By then I was an old pro. But quitting a job? Making a conscious decision to give up security, paycheques, and - I’m not gonna lie - a certain level of cache? Where I come from that’s pure insanity. I was off my head. Gone doolally. I mean, I’m a Maritimer! Need I say more.
But I did it. And immediately felt a thousand – no, a *million*- pounds lift from my shoulders. To be instantly replaced with “what the *hell* am I gonna do now!!??” Ok, that’s not exactly true. It took awhile for all the T’s to be crossed and I’s to be dotted. I gave myself the summer off. I spent time with my amazing son who very soon will barely be able to stand being in the same room as me. I finished parts of my house which had been sorely neglected for the last ten years. I did a ton of thinking. And as September loomed, I was surer than I had ever been about anything - I couldn’t go back to TV land. The question was, what did I want to be doing, and how was I going to achieve it?
To be continued….
I have a secret. Networking doesn’t come easy for me. The very term makes the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention. But I’m no shrinking violet. I get in there with the snoopy handshake. I toss around bon mots and always look people in the eyes. I’m smart, keep abreast of current events, and know a lot of world leaders names. Few people realize that I’m dying inside, right in front of them.
The other night I went to an event. Alone. I was sure the word ‘dork’ was tatoo’ed across my forehead. A 21st century scarlet letter. Thank God I had my IPhone.
I threw myself into that room of sharks. Of barracudas. Of piranhas even! Of dangerously smart fishy types who I knew would never take my networking bait!! But of course, I was wrong. Like I always am. Like I’ve been for 20 years.
They weren’t fish. Or even remotely fishy. They were *humans*. And while there was a lot of jargon’y lingo’y business’y networking going on in that crowded room, there was also human chatter. I talked business, but I also talked home renos, and bad backs, and haggis, and kids, and that weird mathematical thingy that has something to do with how your arm-span equals your elbow.
In Social Media we often forget the human. I’m not even talking about human beings. I mean ‘the human’. The feelings. The real world fun stuff. The life story. You didn’t get where you are because of your business acumen. Or your ROI. Or the number of followers you have. You got where you are because of who you are. Who you are made the other stuff happen. Not the other way around.
My secret’s out now. I’m ‘that person’ who has been successful in spite of my fear of networking. In fact, it’s made me stronger. And probably - hopefully - a little bit more interesting.