Like many industries out there, the music and entertainment industry provides amazing job opportunities, bosses that allow growth and creative space, and amazing perks (paid time off, free concerts/events, travel).
However, is your work environment worth these opportunities? Are your employees yelling at each other? Is there gossip about everyone stirring in every room and every event? Do your higher-ups ignore your initiatives?
These are things to consider. You might think, “Well, the arts is stressful, and every work place has gossip..”, but what it comes down to it is, if you feel uncomfortable and feel under-appreciated, it isn’t “an industry” thing, it is a company thing. And it can be a You thing, too.
I have about five years in the entertainment industry under my belt, and with those years, I learned what a healthy environment is, and what is not. Granted, I have also learned a lot about working with different personality types, different working environments, how to handle situations in various manners, and am no master at it, but am at the point in my career that I know when to stay or to walk out of a position.
I have walked away before. Twice. Once was an internship, and in a way it was the right thing to do, and learning in an environment where people yelled at each other, welcomed inappropriate conduct, and basically ignored my presence, was not going to help me grow as a person. This was not a huge loss, since I was working at this internship straight out of college, and was working at Starbucks part-time. I knew I could find other methods to learn about music in a different way, and although it made me uncomfortable to leave, I knew my discomfort was a sign that this was not a good fit.
When I walked out of a job that paid, it was a scary situation. My salary and well-being was put on the line, but this exact time, I learned that what I walked away from was a job that provided no growth, few benefits, and a working environment that valued those who would rather gossip than get a project done. I was barely trained, and found myself swirling into a vortex of self-doubt, depression, and self-loathing. “why can’t I learn faster? Am I showing anxiety too much? Am I weak?” were questions that swarmed in my brain.
I had plenty to learn and to improve on with this company, and kept telling myself that “This is how it is in entertainment, you need to be quick! You need to work harder and not care about what others say. You need to research more on your own time”. These things are all true, and although I implemented these things, I found myself making mistakes more due to a crucial amount of negative feedback, unanswered emails/calls from my superiors, and for simple mis-communication.
I read back to a great article from The Muse, 7 Signs that You Should Leave Your Job (Sooner Rather than Later), and although I found myself at a job that had employees stay even when they were not feeling welcomed or happy, the last sign spoke to me. My gut told me that this is a place that is not going to help me go. In fact, it seemed that they were intentionally or unintentionally seeking for me to fail. This isn’t an industry thing, and IMO, this isn’t a place to work.
So for my friends, colleagues, mentors, peers–if you are not being valued, you are working for no feedback, or you feel like the only reason why you are staying are for “The Perks”, re-evaluate your situation. Life is too short to waste at a job you hate. It is too short to worry about when the axe will drop. Sometimes, you need to let go of such job, shrug off the stereotypes about your industry and how people generally are in that industry, and find what makes you happy. If it means working at a coffee shop for two years while you find it, or for two months while you transition, know that every job is a building block to your personal growth as a person, worker, and being. Make your life matter, and dump your job!
It’s not you, it’s me…and maybe you, “Company”. See you later!