I normally just post on specific topics and such, and don’t delve into my personal life, but here goes:
My life had been pretty miserable for the past couple of years. I had a high-paying job - obviously great - but which was sucking the life out of me - travelling 3 - 4 days a week, doing work I couldn’t stand, eating shit from the bureaucracy and politics. We had gone through 10 rounds of layoffs and the culture was toxic.
I also hated my neighborhood - an upper middle class town outside NYC - very class distinct, with the big money-makers acting condescending to the less well-off. Also, my block - actually a cul-de-sac - was simply not friendly - there were plenty of kids on it, but the families were not cool - our little ones could not run next door and walk into our neighbor’s house and ask if anyone could play, let alone raiding their refrigerator for a glass of juice or something (I always remember walking into my friends’ houses as a kid and just assuming I could have a glass of milk or juice or have a quick PB&J - and vice versa at my house - it was part of being in the neighborhood, y’know?).
Finally, I play guitar, but for the past 10 years that has largely been playing my acoustic in my bedroom. Very fun on its own, mind you, but when you are an extrovert like me and have been in many bands, not “playing out” (as we musicians call playing gigs) leaves me a little empty. I had forgotten what it was like to hang with bandmates who were my friends and prep for the next gig.
Then - my firm offered me a severance package.
I jumped at it - scared, but I could take August off (no job searching to do when everyone is on vacation) and the economy is looking up a little. A risk, but it couldn’t get much worse, and I have marketable skills.
Then, within a month, 3 houses turned over on our block (1 got a new job out of town after a layoff, 1 took a prestigious new position out of town, and 1 moved closer to the ice skating rink where their kids train - no, I don’t get it either…). And the new people are SO much cooler than the old families. We hang out, have spontaneous dinners, the kids run around like nuts and raid each other’s refrigerators. Also, I got invited into a bi-weekly poker game with a bunch of regular guys. The complexion of the town has changed completely in my eyes.
Then, during my month off in August, I formed a “mid-life crisis” band. I had met a drummer in town who toured professionally for 15 years - really very good - and then, in a very weird coincidence, I took my son to a birthday party, got into a conversation with another father there and it turns out he is a bassist! The three of us got together and really clicked - we play dance-able rock - Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Billy Idol; even Green Day and Jimmy Eat World. Really cool stuff. Our first gig is a fundraiser for the local volunteer firefighters in a couple of weeks. I can hardly wait.
Then - it gets better. My drummer called me a week ago and said “you know, watching you manage this band thing, I was struck by an idea - why don’t you work with me?” He owns his own business producing large-scale corporate events - like annual sales meetings, usergroup conferences, product/brand launches - anything where a company holds a meeting for hundreds to thousands of people and wants them to walk away with a clear, strong message about the company, brand, or specific goals. My drummer’s company handles the creative, technical, sound, Satellite/web-casting, use of celebrity talent, etc…It is a dramatic departure from my previous career, but it is exciting, in an area I really enjoy and results in a much better balance between my personal and professional life. (by the way, if you want to talk to me about my new company, please feel free to email me!!). It is not the same guaranteed salary, but I think I have some leads/relationships that could help me get a decent start, and the upside has a lot of potential!
Man - it’s the end of October and things have radically changed in my life - it is indescribable and I feel a sense of newness and hope that has been unavailable for years. My family is much less stressed and I walk my kids to school and wrestle with them when they get home.
Just thought I would share. If you made it this far, thank you for listening.