I spent the week in Charlotte, North Carolina and while I generally love it here this week may have scarred me. The dust was as bad as Sacramento but the weather was perfect, aside from a light rain on Friday. I’m pretty sure I’ll have dirt trapped up my nose for the next week. Challenges included crappy WIFI and cell signal so doing my job was increasingly difficult (being the social media girl you kind of need to have Internet). Pluses included almost zero stress, working with an awesome group of people and not being cooped up in an office all day.
Traveling home today is going to be bittersweet. As badly as I miss home I’m already looking forward to my next trip in two weeks to Columbus, OH.
I love the new company I worked for, they were so kind and awesome and they all work well together. I’m looking forward to doing more festivals with them.
This is me, what I look like at this moment… (You’ll need that for reference)
There’s days when I get wound up, and angry and flustered. Today is one of those days.
I was standing in line at my local sub shop when I overheard a mother whisper to her daughter that “someone like that (referring to me) would never be able to get a real job.” Her daughter asked why and she began to explain because of the crazy colors in my hair and my tattoos for reference you can only see three of my tattoos, one on my ankle and one on each wrist.
Now, maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day or I was just finally fed up with this mindset but I not so kindly whipped around and looked at the daughter and said “Hi my name is Lauren, I am a 25 year old who graduated from Flagler College and I am a production office manager for music festivals. I pay all of my own bills, I drive a nice dependable car oh did I mention I graduated college debt-free and worked three jobs to do so. I used to be like your mom afraid to express my individuality and cared so much about what everyone else thought and then one day I realize that it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is what I think and my work and my work ethic speak for themselves.”
To say the mom was shocked would be an understatement she tried to pick a fight but I said I wasn’t interested I was just sharing with her and her daughter the facts of my life before she goes and make snap judgments. I have faced criticism like this only a few times in the past but when somebody is trying to pass on awful ideologies to a child that’s what really bothers me knowing that they will grow up thinking the same thing their parents still just as my little brother has grown up thinking tattoos are stupid and ridiculous because that is how my father feels.
To each their own opinion but keep it to yourself if somebody is within your shot of who you were referring to and cutting down this world has enough of negativity we don’t need to add to it.
It’s never a place I like to be. I work in an industry that could take me out of town with a moment’s notice, part of me loves that and another part of me hates it. My bosses all warned me that I would end up sacrificing life experiences to make it in this industry and my jaded little mind kept saying, yeah well I’ll make it work no matter what. The day came sooner rather than later.
Yesterday I came to the realization that a new work opportunity would be taking me out of town the same weekend as my best friend (of 10 years’) wedding. Now, I use the term best friend loosely, sister is more accurate and I was slated to be the maid of honor. The only thing that made breaking the news to her even worse was that it was April Fools Day… but not an April Fools prank. She kept insisting that it was and finally I had to forward her a photo of my texts with my contact confirming and send a picture of the website showing the dates. It was at that point she didn’t take the “oh I’m so happy for you road” she responded just how I would if she gave me the same news, with disbelief and inconsolable hurt. As much as I wanted to fly back that day and at least be there for the day of, it’s just not feasible. I would have to miss the entire last day of the festival and especially since this is a new company I can’t do that. I need them to see how much ass I kick and how valuable I am.
I can’t quite say if I’m going to regret it when I look back but this could be a big stepping stone for me, and at this point in the game I just can’t turn that down. Every opportunity could open the door to more, and I have to try and be willing to do whatever it takes.
So here’s to my breaking heart and my first time truly choosing work over loved ones.
Today I said enough is enough when it came to a parent complaining about me accidentally feeding her son food that wasn’t his. Same food that he eats, just not his. I wish I could say this is the first ridiculous complaint. (When the principal and teacher agree it’s ridiculous, that means I’m allowed to say it’s ridiculous) So I kindly told his teacher I am no longer willing to substitute in their classroom and just like that it’s like a fresh breath of air. I will no longer continue to let myself be used or treated poorly. I have this job to keep myself busy in my off season, not to fully support my life. The added stress coming up on show season is not worth the hassle.
Best of luck to them but I’m done. I’ll stick with the slightly older children, who’s parents love me and who have never once complained. When did it become unacceptable to stand up for yourself? To keep your best interests in mind? This notion of stay quiet and suck it up has got to go away. When we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, it makes it that much easier to repeat and continue.
So, I’m always being asked how I scored the job I have now which is production office manager for a music festival promoter. This job can make my life amazing and hell at the same time but I wouldn’t trade one second of it for anything else. So I figured I would share with you how I scored my, for now, dream job.
I volunteered. Yeah, that’s right. My volunteering at music festivals started off as me just trying to say thank you to the promoter for giving my college radio station 10 pairs of tickets to giveaway but it turned into so much more. So, I was free labor for 3 festivals before I broke the barrier into getting paid. The first festival I carried water to vendors, scanned tickets and strung lanyards, in the heat, in Florida. The second festival I helped with catering and the team started to notice that I was a hard worker. When they saw me come back the following year I was put with hospitality and I worked my butt off. My original shift was only 4 hours long… I stayed for 14. It was worth every minute because I got a call in the early summer asking if I was available for a week and a half in September to fly out and work a festival out in California. Since September 2013 I’ve worked up from hospitality assistant to head of hospitality to now production office manager. Which is pretty awesome considering I was only doing 3 festivals a year at the time. Now that number has increased to 7 festivals for 2015 with the possibility of 2 more being added last minute.
I hear the same thing over and over at these shows. “You are no joke the nicest person we’ve dealt with on this run” or “wow you’re so sweet, thank you so much.” Here’s the thing in my position, or any industry really you need to be personable. I smile, I make people feel welcome. When these bands are on the road for months at a time sometimes all they want is someone to show a tiny bit of extra love towards them. Small gestures can make your day amazing. As can going the extra mile and taking the extra step. At the end I’ll share a couple of my favorite stories.
Don’t be afraid to volunteer, or put in extra hours. Show commitment and the willingness to help where it’s needed. Carry that attitude with you. Once you get the job, don’t drop it at the door. Keep it up and work hard.
My 2015 Festival Motto is “have courage and be kind.”
My two favorite stories: The first, we had a smaller band playing and on their rider it had asked for a pack of black socks. When I had emailed their tour manager letting him know that was beyond the scope of what we provided he replied very sweetly and said it was no problem that they were just always loosing theirs or they were always dirty so it never hurt to ask. Well when they got to their dressing rooms I had 2 pairs of socks in little bags for each of their bandmates and crew. While it was only 7 people total their reaction was priceless. I must have been thanked about 20 times and since they’ve been on 4 other shows with us every time they tell me how grateful they were that I did that small gesture for them.
The second, I had a really angry tour manager storm into my office. Upset their room hadn’t been iced down and that hospitality wasn’t waiting on their hand and foot. Not like we didn’t have 22 other bands to take care of as well. So I killed him with kindness. I put a big smile on my face and ensured him a big part of my job is to make sure his day goes smoothly. By the end of the night he was bragging about our festival being easily the best one he’d ever been to. Best staff, nicest and most helpful.