What we think of as insurmountable obstacles when we get started, are actually 100% manageable. That is why we place such a high value on taking lessons, going to school, and doing the young artist training program trajectory. We need information and guidance. With the dominance of the information age, that knowledge seems to be coming from everywhere. How do we know what to take in? How do we know what to bookmark for latter? We need advisors. We need people to look up to who show us the way.
Your 29 Days to Diva Challenge for Day 10 is to Work for Someone Else.
Yes, I mean actually work. I mean punch the clock and take home the paycheck kind of work. Although, you could also be a regular, committed volunteer and that would count in this instance. Any place where you are part of the day-to-day inner workings and get a legitimate performance review from your boss is ideal. That is where we can get the most traction out of this challenge. If you have already done this in your career path, kudos! Use today’s challenge as a chance to think back on all of the information you gained during that time period.
Work for Someone in Your Field
This clearly makes sense. Working or volunteering for an organization that directly mirrors your career desires or serves your intended audience is going to be a wellspring of actionable information for you. The benefits here are obvious. Working for organizations built around classical music will teach you a huge swath of things including: how to write a press release, how to look at a creative project budget, how to schedule (an art in itself), how to run a meeting and how meetings minutes work, the basics of fundraising, the finer points of event planning, and so much more. You should consider this paid training for your diva life. In fact, you are getting paid to learn the rules.
Furthermore, working for someone else in your field gives you access. You are able to tap into networks that other people have built. Freelancers do not get this type of access easily. This means you can spend time learning names, making connections, and understanding the underlying framework of your field in an organic way.
Work for Someone Outside Your Field
The classical music world continues to need innovative thinkers. One of the ways we can increase our own innovative thinking is to regularly interact with variance. My mission as a classical singer became astonishingly clear when I began working outside my field. I was consistently presented with opportunities to explain my love for classical music (that is the real Iowa nice way to say that phrase) to those whose musical interactions began and ended with the top 40 radio station.
Many of these types of jobs get described as soul-sucking. Divas, I do not want you in those jobs! You should be building skills and demonstrating your talents in working situations that appreciate you. We are establishing dual careers and not because we need an option on which to fall back in case of failure. No! We want dual careers because we are brilliantly skilled and capable people and can offer the world much. If you are currently in this kind of job, or you think you are ready to add a job outside your field to your mix, try thinking of it as a conduit for investment in the arts. Your role in that company, firm, or organization is a gateway, in fact the first drop, to them funding the enchantment of music.
So, not only can you pick up an incredible amount of diverse skills when you work outside your field; but, you can also evangelize for the cause in the places where the message does not often reach. Practice winning over your most curmudgeonly colleagues and you will have no problem winning over a major donor.
Emotionally Work for Someone Else
I want you to think about your mentor. If you can work for them, please do. They will give you unbridled and invaluable access to the most necessary information in your career. Beyond that, though, I want you to emotionally work for your mentor. I want you to spend time today thinking about what it would feel like to have your mentor seek you out and say, “I am ridiculously proud of you.” Now, imagine what would make them say that. This is a wonderful exercise. It is not about how they actually see you. It gets to the core of what you believe they think about you. It mixes what you feel called to do with what your field desires most from you.
Yesterday’s post mentioned that building social proof takes a long time. Working for other people also helps you build that social proof. You are actively building your tribe. I always count it a win whenever I meet someone and they say, “I’ve never met an opera singer before.” I respond, “Oh, that means I got to you first.” You, alone, can have a significant impact on changing our culture’s associations with classical music by being more people’s “opera singer friend.”
Speaking of friends…
Let’s be friends. Let’s be Facebook friends. You can find me on the Sybaritic Singer Facebook page and my own Megan Ihnen, Mezzo-Soprano page. I would love to connect with you there. Pop over there today and tell me about a working experience that helped you gain skills necessary for your diva life.