You loved music, so you worked in a record store…
“It never occurred to me to work in a record store”, says reader Jim Donato.
Uh, it never occurred to me to not work in a record store. I was in the record store all the time anyway. The manager noticed me, and told me I should fill out an application, which I did. After working in two different locations of this particular record store (“Licorice Pizza”), I got offered a job working at their distributor. From there, I got offered a job working at an record importer. From that job, I got offered a job to run a record importer and mail-order outfit. After that job finished, I got offered to run an exporter in England…this paragraph describes roughly 1976 to 1990 in my life.
14 contiguous years of my life were dedicated to working in the music business. Even after my time in England finished, I spent a few additional years working at record stores and working for a friend running a mail-order CD / poster business. All together, it must be close to 20 non-consecutive years working “with music” for me. It’s really only in the last decade that I haven’t actually worked for anybody other than myself, re: music. I’ve been in my current ‘clerical’ job since 1999. With any luck, I’ll “retire” at 55.
I have been selling stuff on eBay for the last decade, with varying degrees of success. Over 500 positive feedbacks, but not without some headaches. And the fact that I am presently very bored with eBay. I’m not bored of the extra cash it can generate, but…it’s mind-numbing work to earn it via selling LP’s & CD’s on eBay. All the stupid questions, all the mis-communication between seller and buyer (and vice-versa). In the end, it sometimes feels like the only entities making any real money out of eBay transactions are eBay and the US postal service.
I do not regret my time spent working in the business of music. I learned a lot about what interested me. It was my ‘education’, per se. I got to travel for my work, which was amazing and invaluable. I got to make friends with neat people while ‘on the job’, too.
What would I have done, if not “the music business”? I was not talented enough to be an artist working with visual media. I didn’t have any friends at publishers, so a writing career was not considered. I didn’t have a strong disposition about what other industry I would’ve enjoyed – music was it. My parents had been beauticians, and, believe it or not – that career was ‘offered’ to me…and I did ‘check it out’ – but I knew it wasn’t “me”.
The roads not taken: Travel agent, zookeeper, hotel desk clerk (Quentin Hotel, Amsterdam – two winters: ’91 & ‘92), pharmacist assistant (only until my current clerical job came through), truck driver (I did used to deliver cartons of records!), post office (only lasted a single day) etc.
As Popeye would say, “I yam what I yam!”: Ex-Music Business.