It’s all about how you react

Few things are harder on young music professionals than the first problem to their progress without being directly a result of their action. Until that time, every mistake or setback was their own fault, which created a learning experience that ultimately benefitted their development. The same cannot be said in situations where a third party is the cause of the problem. Here are some examples:

  • The indie label you put your faith into folds
  • The band your indie label invested thousands into breaks up before the album they recorded is released
  • The tour announcement gets delayed because a agents are slow to respond
  • The startup that was going to revolutionize the industry suddenly loses all funding
  • The site you contribute to as a budding writing goes offline due to an error that goes beyond the staff’s understanding of how websites work, thus leaving your unpublished content stranded in purgatory while you await a resolution
  • The vinyl you paid to have press six months ago is delayed an extra two months
  • The PR person who guaranteed to secure your exclusive premiere needs another week

When these things happen it is very easy (and extremely common) for young professionals to get upset. After all, they have done nothing, yet their work has been stifled. They are unable to chase their passion because of something out of their control. for the first time in their careers – maybe their lives – they can do nothing about it except wait and nobody likes to wait.

These moments can be so infuriating for some young professionals that they choose to make rash decisions in hopes of more or less getting things back to normal. The desire to at the very least send a snarky email or tweet is too much for many to resist, and it’s hard to blame them. Setbacks of any kind are infuriating no matter where you are in your career. This is true for all work anyone is doing on Earth right now. What separates people is how they respond in these moments and what they do with the extra time it creates.

Here’s an example:

A writer contributing features to a publication on a regular basis wakes one morning to find their latest article has not been published because the site is offline. It’s early in the day, but the writer is upset, and the site own claims it may be hours or even a couple days before the site is fully functional once more.

In this moment, the writer has a choice: They can either complain or get back to work. Complaining will get them nowhere, and if they sound off to the wrong person or in the wrong place they may even lose their job. Worse yet. if other editors and site owners see the writer speaking poorly of a publication that may make them think twice before hiring that person themselves. Working, on the other hand, provides the writer with a chance to stockpile content and get ahead of their ever-increasing workload. When the site returns they will have content ready to go, and if for some reason the site goes down for good they will have content they can pitch to other publications.

There is no way to avoid having your professional plans go awry because of things out of your control. It happens to everyone on a fairly regular basis, and most people know this to be true. Those who wish to get ahead should see these moments as opportunities rather than hurdles and make the most of the time provided. Their peers will take notice and their professionalism will be rewarded.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.