Learning to see opportunities

I am writing this while aggravated. Might not be a good idea. We will see.

Currently, I have someone working for me, in a separate industry. He is making me crazy. If his story wasn’t the same one as a few others before, we wouldn’t be working out this mess in an article. But, let’s take this opportunity to learn something. Ok?

This is the third time I have made someone the “offer of a lifetime.” All three times, it ended up with me wishing I never met them. All three proved that you don’t appreciate what you don’t earn.

Knucklehead number one.
During the trauma of my family falling apart, I realized that I couldn’t run the studio, manage another job and focus my attention on my family. The studio drew the short straw.

During the week when I had to make a decision, I met a guy. He was 26 years old, very talented musician and engineer. He had produced some very impressive work while working in a poor mixing environment. Basically it was a converted garage with minimal acoustic treatment. Still amazed at what he produced in there.

I didn’t want to lose the studio, but I couldn’t be there everyday. So, I made him the offer. Run it like it’s your own. No bills. No boss. No overhead. No pressure. Just be available for the concert night and take most of the money from any work. Just keep the money. All I asked for was a percentage to pay the house. He could have the room for free to work anything he brought in.

It was a deal I would have killed for at 26. That’s how old I was when I came out of recording school.

He was pretty excited about it. I showed him how everything was set up. Showed him how I did contracts and shows. Basically gave him a fully operational studio to run while I got my life back on track.

Within three weeks, he wasn’t returning calls or working the studio. They called to see if we had closed or if we were coming back. They wanted to put someone else in the studio of we weren’t working it anymore.

He just quit going in. Never told me. Never explained why. Just quit.

I ended up tearing it all out and selling the gear off to pay for our moving expenses. Very tough week. It was the third time I tore out a studio because we couldn’t keep it. But, this one was mine.

Then, I got back into working with cars, to survive. I do reconditioning work, a few days a week, for some dealerships. Essentially I do minor restoration work on used cars before they hit the sales lot. Not glamorous, but very profitable.

Knucklehead number two.
I took on a 25 year old last year and taught him how to do the work. He was capable. Smart. Mostly a good attitude. I made him a similar offer. Learn the business and I will set you up to work for yourself. I was offering to hand him a fully operational business with well paying clients. All he had to do was take it and keep working.

He couldn’t make a commitment. He talked to me like he knew everything and I was an idiot. He had a family that depended on him, but he still wouldn’t make a decision. Ended up letting him go altogether.

Now, here I am again. Knucklehead number three.
Making someone else the the same offer. Handing him a fully operational business. A chance to make great money and be his own boss. Everything he said he wanted when I hired him.

Well. He likes to argue with me. He thinks he knows everything. He is not capable of listening to me or accepting correction.

He is a good worker, but will not learn the business side or learn the technology that gets us paid. It’s like there’s a roadblock in his mind that he won’t go around. He is about to lose this opportunity because he is not teachable. No, I don’t care if he reads this.

I am fed up with people who are stubborn, arrogant and difficult. People who demand everything on their own terms. Have to do everything their own way. Just like me.

Yep.

I did the same thing several times. Maybe that’s why I recognize it and despise it. I had opportunities like this, but walked away because I had a better idea of how I wanted things to work out.

A family business that I would own by now. Another studio that I could have taken over. Several good jobs that could have carried me into a very comfortable retirement.

I brushed all of them off because they didn’t fit the mold I wanted my life to fit into. I never considered how it would affect my family. I never considered the long term benefit of swallowing some pride and doing a job that didn’t fulfill my egotistical needs. I didn’t allow the people who were already successful to coach me into my own success.

Guys. Whether it’s pro audio, auto reconditioning or whatever, do your job. Proverbs 22 verse 29 says to observe a man who works skillfully. He will stand before kings and not be left in obscurity.

My friends at Whole Family Strong posted a story about the space shuttle called “the takeoff.” They explained how the shuttle used about 90% of its fuel just to get into orbit. Then it just coasted.

I realized recently, that I have been in perpetual takeoff mode. Always starting over because I couldn’t stick it out and finish things. I blew off a lot of great opportunities because I wanted to satisfy some selfish or imaginary goal. It is tiring and frustrating. But, I caused it. Never felt that coasting sensation until now.

Over the last two years, I have really come to my senses on a whole lot of things. Mainly, I committed to take care of my family whether I went back to mixing or ended up digging ditches. I will do whatever it takes to make a life for them. My personal comfort or satisfaction isn’t really part of the equation right now. Might not ever be again. I just don’t care.

I can’t tell you what decisions to make with your life. But, I can tell you that getting those priorities straight will make all the difference.

Are you married? Your wife is your highest priority. She is the one you committed to take care of.
Do you have kids? They need you and your time more than you understand. You only get one shot.
Do people depend on you? Did you make commitments? What is the right thing?

So. In my frustration, I have told you about my own mistakes and the three guys who have made me nuts. I will venture to say that you know what you need to do in your situation, you just have to do it.

I was told once, that every craving a man carries within him is satisfied by meeting the needs of his wife and family. Taking the effort to understand and care for your wife and your kids, will make you feel like more of a man than acting like superman to everyone else.

It’s not the job, or the next big thing, or your career or whatever. The job is just a job. It doesn’t define you. Your commitment to your family will.

This is your life. Make it count.

Don’t waste another opportunity.

Rant over.

One Response to“Learning to see opportunities”

  1. September 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Apparently you and I are passing the same knuckleheads around…Sounds like the same 3 losers that came through my life. My new motto…never trust anyone under 30.

    Great articles…always look forward to seeing ’em.

    All the best,

    Ken

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