I coulda been a…

Salesperson for a membrane leak testing company.  Really.

Recently I was on a flight traveling to a voiceover conference (FaffCon in case I haven’t mentioned it several times in the past) and the gentleman seated next to me was reviewing his presentation for a meeting he was travelling too.  Being the nibnose I am, I was looking over his shoulder at the Powerpoint and realized I was looking at lots of pictures of holes in roof membranes.  Pretty earth shattering stuff.  It made me think of all the jobs there are that are of necessary but mundane nature.  Airline fabric manufacturer, car battery supplier, subway train operator.  Necessary but hardly invoking passion.  I wondered if those people who held these jobs loved what they did.  You see, I’d just come off of a week of filming a television pilot, working with some very talented cast and crew on a hilarious script.  I had an absolute blast and though the days were very long and work challenging, the time just flew.  Before I knew it I’d been on set for 6 hours and it seemed liked I’d just arrived.  And now I was on my way to meet with a group of incredibly talented Voiceovers to share ideas on growing business and creatively collaborate.  I can’t tell you how lucky I felt.

Now I was in sales for many years.  I sold television time, or bathroom breaks as I like to call them.  That job could be considered necessary but mundane.  But it was in advertising and television and there was a bit of glamour attached to the job.  And for a long time I was passionate about it and got to the point where I’d call myself an expert at what I did.  I’m sure lots of people would consider my old job in the category of “how can she do that job?” but I liked it and it was fun.  And I’m sure my seatmate likes his job and considers it interesting.  In fact he even said so.  But as I sat there looking at his presentation I couldn’t help but be thankful for my life and my career.  I was doing something I absolutely love and how many people get to say that?

I’m pretty sure my seatmate will do fine with his presentation.  He was also reviewing on from a competitor and on one headline in a huge bolded font they’d misspelled the work “leak”.  For a minute there I thought we’d switched to onions.  Not so good for a membrane leek testing company.

Seriously?

Turns out one of the guiding principles of my life wasn’t a genius idea I came up with but was identified early by the renown actor Peter Ustinov.  He said “It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously“.  I’ve often been heard saying about myself and the work I did when I was selling television advertising time, “I take my job seriously, not myself.”  Beyond the obvious meaning of the words, I’ve never really thought about what that meant.  At it’s most basic interpretation, I think it meant that I took my clients and my company’s goals very seriously, with all associated diligence to their business.  At the same time, the impatience, anger and pressures that were directed at me during negotiations or budgeting weren’t taken personally.  I recognized these negatives were a result of things stressing the other person and were beyond my control.  I tried my best to help with whatever it was I could impact.

Now that I am self employed, I realize this truism is even more relevant.  I am working very hard, getting my business set up, managing every last detail, spending long hours in pursuit of work, putting myself out there as much as I can.  However this time I am the product.  So the line between taking the job and not the self seriously gets a little harder to draw.  Especially when I don’t get chosen to do the work.  Remembering that being invited again and again to audition for the job is a win.  If I wasn’t doing something right, I wouldn’t get the calls.  The jobs will come, just keep taking the work seriously.