Many of my friends are spending the day today reflecting on the past year and making plans for next year. Was this last year pretty awesome? Yes. Will next year be better? Yes. Is today any different than yesterday? Not really. Actually, that's incorrect - today is probably one of the first New Year's Eve celebrations that I will not be working in quite a long time so I guess it is special.
Does this mean that there shouldn't be goals for the next 12 months? No, of course not, there should always be goals both for yourself and for others and how they interact with your life. I recently read an article on Bandit Dimmer Beach entitled "Two Words That Can Destroy Your Career" and I felt that I should share it. Now, while this article is written by and for entertainment technicians, it can apply to just about anyone. If you enjoy this read then I highly recommend following Mark.
This week I want to start with not one, but two definitions.
Complacency: A feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to make them better.
Entitlement: The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).
Today I will challenge you: I will challenge you to be better and to get better. Before you do that, though, I have to - as they say in boot camp - break you down.
You are not irreplaceable.
You are not special.
You are not God's gift to the touring universe.
You are part of a crew and you can be expunged at a moment's notice.
Wait! Before you stop reading and vow never to come back, let me clarify this. I am not saying that you are not supremely talented at what you do, or that you bring things to your job that others cannot. What I am saying is there are other people out there that can do your job, and want to do your job. Will they be as good at your job as you? In some ways, probably yes. In other ways, probably no. But none of that matters if they have your job and you no longer do.
Let's go back to my two words for the week.
Entitlement: This is a tricky word for our business. ... Just because you work on the biggest tours or shows your company has doesn't mean you get special treatment. It doesn't mean you get to walk into your shop late, or not loom cable, or not put clamps on fixtures. You have a job to do just like everyone else, and there are always people that are willing to work their asses off to get those bigger tours and bigger shows.
There are some people that have earned the right to be given more choices in the shop. Maybe they won't be putting clamps on fixtures all day, or maybe they won't be delooming so a as often as some other people do. Again, they have earned that. (NOTE: They will do it when asked, though. Remember that.)
Compacency: A feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to make them better.
If you think you have done something perfectly... You are wrong.
If you think no one can do your job better than you... You are wrong.
If you think this load-in, show, etc. can never get any better or faster... You are wrong.
If you think any of the above, then it's time to start looking for a new gig because you aren't growing in your job and your skills will slowly begin to erode.
Just like entitlement above, once you get complacent, you leave yourself open to those around you to start creeping in and taking the gigs you once got.
Now, I offer you this challenge:
Never stop trying.
Never stop learning.