I posted this email I got to my Instagram account with the caption “Didn’t know that ‘me from 10 years ago’ would be emailing today. Hopefully I can give this person some good advice.” There were a lot of comments from folks expressing interest in seeing the response, so here it is:
I’m finally getting around to responding to this, in blog form. When I posted this on Instagram, it got a big reaction, so I appreciate you allowing me to post this on a blog for others to see as it seems this question struck a chord with others. It still crazy to me how much your email reminds me of “me 10 years ago” – especially the part about brevity, that’s just exactly like something I would write.
It’s a very difficult question to answer and I’ve given it some considerable thought, as well as procrastinating on the answer. I’m currently sitting on a plane flying to Winter NAMM where we will be exhibiting for the 2nd time, which is fitting because I think it shows that we’ve made some real progress over the last four years.
I’ll start by saying I don’t think it’s a bad idea to just get out after graduating college and start working somewhere. You’ll get experience in all sorts of stuff, even if it’s a bullshit corporate gig. If you are like me, you’ll also learn the very important lesson that you have a deep hatred for withering your time away in a cubicle and corporate environment. I suffered the loss of my brother a few months before my first job, and as awful as that has been, it made me clear eyed when it came to how I wanted to live my life. It made me realize that life is short and I didn’t to have time to continue on the path I was on.
There was this great quote from the character ‘Tim’ in the British version of ‘The Office’, he says , “It’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb, than halfway up one you don’t.” I strongly believe in that. That’s another thing I can thank my brother for, he introduced me to that show.
The way that relates to my journey is that I decided to take a pay cut and work for a guitar pedal company. I started learning things I cared about, and if you work really really hard doing something you love, it seems doors do start opening for you. That’s part of the whole Joseph Campbell “Follow Your Bliss” philosophy, and I really do think it’s true.
I do think you have to be willing to work really hard and make some sacrifices (either monetarily) or otherwise. I certainly have had to. Truth be told, I could probably be making 2x what I make right now with the skills that I have if I worked for a corporation. It’s easy to get caught up with maximizing your earning potential, and it’s difficult not to see things that way when you have student loans to pay back. My thinking is, if you hate what you do in the best, most productive hours of your day, what’s the point of it all?
I realize I’m being a little contradictory here because at the beginning of this post I encourage you to just “get out and work” but now I’m saying “quit your job if you hate it” and I think there is truth in all of it. Life is always a dance and a balance and it’s impossible to be totally fulfilled and jazzed about life 100% of the time. I just ask that you be aware and honest with yourself if you are unhappy professionally that there are other options, other approaches that you can take a look at.
I really hope this was helpful to you and thanks again, so much, for the message and the interest.