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I just found out that one of the places I work for, well they don’t just favour their main tech for shows, I’m not the second person on the list of possible people to book I’m lower (how low who knows). And above me is a tech that I gave them the contact details for. He’s a consummate tech all good but I’m consummate too and I was working there first!

 

I’ve been doing odd shows for this company for going on 6 years and in that time they’ve had a revolving door of preferred techs, I’ve never been at the top, and I’ve never fallen off the list completely. I like to tell myself the others are cheaper or faster or better because they can heft staging and truss around as well, but I don’t know really what the calculus is.

 

I think I do a good job of the actual sound engineering. Sometimes clients mention specifically that I’m great and it’s been great working with me. I did have one really bad shift late last year where the boss expected me to get x, y, z done in 3 hours and in 3 and a half hours I had only managed x and y. I don’t know why I was so slow that day. I do think in general I’m just not a fast worker, more methodical and slow is my nature, and at 33 years old, I don’t really know that I can change this. It’s much worse when I’m trying to do things at home I just really struggle to keep focussed on the task at hand. But mixing live music doesn’t require you to be fast like that (it Does require you to be fast in your reactions to what is going on in audio land but I Am fast at that, noticeably more efficient than other techs I’ve seen working....I don’t think my boss know enough about sound to be able to see that though, certainly no one gives the slightest care to how people’s mixes actually sound in my experience, so that, something I am good at, is not valued a the places I work really).

 

It’s been really upsetting to learn this, triggering a negative spiral where I think about all the other places where I’m not top of the list (there have been a hecking lot of them over the years). Is this me getting a concussion on the glass ceiling again? Do I just suck? Am I fine at the job but my personality is too esoteric and quirky and people try not to book me because they just don’t like my company? I don’t think I can improve my standing with this company, if someone doesn’t value you they don’t value you right? And jumping up and down crying “WHY DON’T YOU VALUE ME” won’t help at all.

 

It feels like eating a sh*t sandwich taking the absolute dregs of what work is available, it really really Really does. But I don’t exactly have other job options knocking at my door. Pragmatically speaking I must do the jobs I have been booked for to the best of my ability and hope I creep back up the list as I put more and more good shows between me and that set up where I was too slow. Pragmatic thinking does nothing to temper my emotional reaction to the knowledge I am held in disdain.

 

Best outcome would be finding work somewhere else that keeps me busy enough that I can be in the same position as my colleague, saying no to their shifts because I’m already booked. I’ve been in this industry for 13 years, he’s been in it maybe 5. He was already eclipsing me when we first met and that’s probably 4, 5 years ago. I say again he does a good mix and he’s a hard worker. But have also done and been those things, and I do not progress in the same way, and I never know if that’s gender or my work is not up to scratch. I do know though that no one has ever been willing to take me under their wing and mentor me and I get the feeling that does happen to techs who are embraced and employed by hire companies (for all that I have done working in this industry, and I do actually make a comfortable living from being a sound tech, mentoring from more experienced techs is really not something I’ve had access to, there are so many industry standard things I just don’t know because most of my skill set has been work it out on the job learnt.)

 

Also pragmatic I guess, if there was a way I could ask why I am low on that list of contacts that made it sound like I was trying to do some professional development rather than just petulance, I should ask. Anyone that has a good script for broaching that’s topic I would be very very grateful.

 

Thanks for reading this far you rock!

 

TLDR: I’m not valued at work and I want to find out why without it sounding like me whining. Also it’s upsetting to learn how true that statement is

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OK.....deep breath and let's do this analytically.

 

You work in a competitive industry where multiple techs are in a sense competing for the jobs. Now let's assume that most of these people are roughly equally competent at getting the job done. Some maybe more, some less, but the job will get done. So, focusing on your work quality doesn't give you sufficient competitive edge to make top of the list, it keeps you exactly where you are at - on there and employed steadily but that's about it.

 

In these situations, the competitive edge is your human relationships. Literally schmoozing the managers or whoever makes the hiring decisions for the job. This is something that you do control very much and have got to sharpen those skills.

 

Look at the tech guy who is eclipsing you. Going to guess that you did not just walk up to him and hand him contact info for that company, right? He came to you, chatting, asking questions, etc. Same thing about mentors - if you want one, you have to reach out to whoever you admire and ask and develop that relationship so you can learn from them. If you want things, you've got to reach out more than what you are doing.

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I think in most places its just a case of your face doesnt fit For what ever reason. Could be personality clash or the other person they click with more. Its the same in every establishment . Try to focus on your ability and not those of others and if they dont chose you then try not to take it personally its part of life . There could be other companies that prefer you over the other tech. Maybe you dont have as much experience as that person? Who knows but you could drive yourself mad trying to work it out . Concerntrate on you and bettering yourself. I think this is the most rewarding thing you can do

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Kudos for recognizing that your friend's rise is not a reflection on yourself. It is his abilities and social interactions that has gotten him booted forward.

 

So, you are at a plateau, where you see your career stuck. maybe it is time for a change? Yes!

 

It could be that you should explore a different company, look into classes on marketing your skills, and so on.

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In my experience, the ones that move up the ladder or obtain more projects / shifts within a company are the ones that get along with and impress their bosses or actual decision-makers the most. In other words, your relationship with the decision-maker(s) in your organisation generally determines what your chances of getting those coveted opportunities are.

 

Being a hard-working, knowledgeable individual is not sufficient any more, unless you are a linchpin or your make them tons of money. So, how well do you get along with your bosses? And what qualities does your boss value? Recall the "dot the i's and cross the t's"? Well modify this to: dot the i's and cross the t's according to what decision-makers deem important.

 

Examples: Maybe your cursive handwriting is beautiful, but your boss wants you to use print or block script handwriting when filling out forms. Maybe you are the neatest and most detail oriented packer of boxes where labels and tape are perfectly aligned and so on. However, your boss favours mediocre looking boxes that are packed within 5 minutes.

 

You are there to make the company money and please the decision-makers (and clients). That's a reality we all face, unless we work independently.

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These have been the very good questions for perception shifting and introspection (especially Dancingfool pointing out that being able to do the job isn't the thing that gives the competitive edge I needed to read that so badly last night and it was the last thing I saw before going to bed).

 

This colleague in particular isn't a great shmoozer, but he does radiate confidence and self assuredness (which I also possess but I doubt I project it like he does) and he rocks up to jobs with a suitcase full of tools and useful things (that is a thing I could imitate, where I personally think it's a bit silly but if it gives employers the impression I'm super on top of everything then it's possibly essential that I start doing that).

 

Kathy your comment reminded me that last christmas party the guy who does the crewing was laughing at stories of men who've gone to Thailand, picked up ladies who turn out to be lady boys and then proceed with assaulting them, until chased off by packs of lady boys wielding knifes. As if any of this is funny. I spoke up that time, told him he should check his heart. If common values is beneficial there is one we don't share.

 

Sage advice Jim, and my industry is going dark due to social distancing so a good time to dream up new directions.

 

Boltnrun you ask the very Very good question. I have been better lately but still not 100%, how quickly I forgot that's a thing I do to my detriment that is also totally in my power to rectify.

 

Greendots, I like to think I can make them money by providing good live sound for their events, but if that was enough then I would be in favour. The mission of working out the answers to those questions seems like a good one.

 

The more I think about it the more I really would like to get a performance review. I never get them as a contractor but I bet there would be helpful information.

 

Thank you all for the thoughts and wisdom, I really appreciate it. Now, to implement things that can level me up...

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Instead of speculating, why not ask your boss what improvements she or he would like to see in order to move you higher on the list?

 

Don't defend, just listen. Even if boss' perceptions are wrong, you are more likely to correct them by thanking for any critique and using it constructively. The ask alone raises boss' awareness that you want to improve, and so taking the response without argument gives boss the security that you intend to improve in those areas. This can put you on the radar regardless of whether you 'should have been' there before.

 

Perception can be more important than facts when it comes to favoritism from others. So battling with rationality won't do it--so don't do that. Instead, just spotlight your desire to improve your position, and then operate in pleasant and efficient ways to support the view of yourself that you want credited.

 

Don't talk yourself into a downward spiral. Raise awareness of your desire to raise your bar, and stay positive regardless of the feedback. If it doesn't land you what you want, work on a Plan B rather than drill yourself into a deeper emotional hole to climb out of.

 

Head high.

Edited by catfeeder
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A few of my employees are applying for promotions. Most of them have attendance issues such as coming in late frequently or messaging last minute to say they aren't coming in at all. I will not consider them because I need to know I can rely on someone to come in and come in on time.

 

Perhaps those who are getting selected over you do not choose to show up late. Being on time needs to be a priority. What is preventing you from being on time?

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A few of my employees are applying for promotions. Most of them have attendance issues such as coming in late frequently or messaging last minute to say they aren't coming in at all. I will not consider them because I need to know I can rely on someone to come in and come in on time.

 

Perhaps those who are getting selected over you do not choose to show up late. Being on time needs to be a priority. What is preventing you from being on time?

 

Big YES. Reliability beats all else in the view of most bosses. Every time someone needs to wonder where you are is a chalk mark against you, and the only way to erase it is to be consistently early or at very least on time for the duration of you career. I'd start making that my priority over all else.

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I did have one really bad shift late last year where the boss expected me to get x, y, z done in 3 hours and in 3 and a half hours I had only managed x and y. I don’t know why I was so slow that day. I do think in general I’m just not a fast worker, more methodical and slow is my nature, and at 33 years old, I don’t really know that I can change this. It’s much worse when I’m trying to do things at home I just really struggle to keep focussed on the task at hand. But mixing live music doesn’t require you to be fast like that (it Does require you to be fast in your reactions to what is going on in audio land but I Am fast at that, noticeably more efficient than other techs I’ve seen working....I don’t think my boss know enough about sound to be able to see that though, certainly no one gives the slightest care to how people’s mixes actually sound in my experience, so that, something I am good at, is not valued a the places I work really).

 

I'm sorry you are going through this. However, I think they probably aren't valuing you because you aren't providing what they value.

 

You know that the employers are less interested in quality of sound than you are. This is their right, as they are the ones paying you. Why insist on providing something they don't value at the expense of providing something they do value?

 

It sounds like your competition can mix live music well and manage x, y, and z in 3 hours. The boss doesn't have to know anything about sound to know that he is getting more for his money by hiring your competition.

 

It's not helping you to be a principled artist who refuses to compromise her subjective sound quality ideals. As you can see, your employers aren't interested in debates about quality. They simply buy what they want, which is offered in abundance by people who make an effort to be fast workers whether it is in their nature or not.

 

Are you still chronically late?

 

Punctuality is an ongoing struggle. Greatly exacerbated on days where achieving it means going into sleep debt because we just worked 14 hours the day before and are expected to do it all again with an 8 hour gap between shift’s end and journey’s start.
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Big YES. Reliability beats all else in the view of most bosses. Every time someone needs to wonder where you are is a chalk mark against you, and the only way to erase it is to be consistently early or at very least on time for the duration of you career. I'd start making that my priority over all else.

 

Yes. I agree. Even in situations where I may not have been the smartest/sharpest, etc my reliability helps me time and time again -it's one of my main selling points. Yes I am intelligent, yes I have the other skills needed, but I have true grit -I had to scrape my way up with no "connections" other than those I created myself from a young age - so when all else failed and I lacked that inside "in" I showed with my grit - and huge part is showing up if not really early then certainly on time - and following through on 100% of deadlines every single time no matter what -that my reputation was made/maintained. You cannot be late and you cannot do just x an y barring an emergency like of coronavirus magnitude. You're only 33.

 

At your age I had to improve a lot on how I reacted to staff/employees who did crappy jobs for me. I had to improve how I delegated in the first place and how I treated them when they behaved in a careless or incompetent way. I did it. I was told I did it. Who cares that you're in your 30s - if being methodical is not working for you as far as meeting deadlines you have to choose ways to overcome that or step aside and let someone who is methodical and can get it done do what you are doing. I'm sorry it's like that out there. At my current position I have no interest in promotions, in being the best because it's part time. For 15 years full time I cared a great deal. I'll also tell you this. I have a really hard job as a parent. My boss is demanding, unpredictable, cranky at times - I am 53. Over the last 11 years at this job I've had to make a lot of tough changes in my job skills - and I am still a work in progress. I have really strict deadlines almost daily and it's really hard to meet them while keeping my cool. So hard. Please don't cop out or use your age as an excuse.

 

Having said that I'd shift the focus away from beating yourself up about not being number one or two and instead work on ways to be your personal best. a cliche that I believe is very true in your case. Best of luck.

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  • 1 year later...

Having de ja vu tonight. 
 

True enough my suspicions about my having fallen off the roster were founded. Although I have other places to work that appreciate me somewhere between ‘you’re fine’ and ‘you’re the best please do every show’, and I continue to think that trying to hang in somewhere you’ve lost rapport is a fools errand. But it’s still a downer. And then I remembered I’d already posted about this and dug up this thread and went over it. 
 

During the shelter in place times I started working out, thought if I get stronger and more energetic I can work quicker, it was for this company in particular that I wanted to speed up. (I have done one job for this company recently and lack of strength or energy wasn’t the problem this time so much as trying to work faster yields a litany of silly errors, and being back working for them, I felt an omnipresent feeling that the boss sees only the errors and not the specialised skill set that allows me to run his equipment the way he wants it run, and sure enough, what was just a hunch becomes manifestly true as they clearly have work on and the only time I was called it was a last minute cancellation by the tech they’d booked).

Revisiting this thread reminds me to focus on what I can do, for places that still think I’m worth employing. To which end, I have been much more regularly arriving on time, and last time I received constructive criticism, I told that boss ‘yes I shall do these things you ask’ (even though my knee jerk reaction was to think they were unnecessary) and I have been doing them ever since. 

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Do you not believe there is a connection between not ALWAYS arriving on time and being dropped from rosters?

I know I wouldn't be employed for long if the best I was willing to do was to be "much more regularly" on time. Especially when others are having to wait on you before they can get started.

Why the aversion to being on time?

Edited by boltnrun
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Posted (edited)

The errors only come when trying to work faster. Trying to work fast, according to this company (because my own steady rate is unacceptable to them) yields haste not speed 😞 (The good feedback was from another work place where on the balance I’m probably a better fit. Having said that, I was thinking of when This work place gave me constructive critique and I was honest about not thinking I’d be able to do what they asked and boom, no more work. Lesson learned, only say yes I’ll improve the thing and then try and improve the thing! At least good work place isn’t asking me to do things that might be outside of my present ability).


Well, considering this is the only place I’ve had death by roster in years I don’t know that it’s the meat and potatoes of the matter. Although on a subconscious level, perhaps it is, or one of a few displeasing things. And since I’ve only had one shift with them since no chance to change that impression. But that’s not what they’re telling me they want improved. They want the shoddy boxes that take 5 minutes to assemble. 
 

According to science it’s not that I’m choosing to be late but that I have a bad awareness of the passing of time and am overly optimistic about how long tasks will take. That hasn’t actually changed, I’ve been working around it by shifting my departure time forward. (Which, most days I am still scrambling to get ready and leave 5, 10 minute later than I meant to. Just now it’s buffered in longer travel time.) 

Edited by 1a1a
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Errors and lateness aren't indissoluble that just 'happen' to us, and which we have no power over. 

There are things that you can do to avoid errors, and to be on time.

Learn from your mistakes. Put yourself in the equation.

It's not just, "If I rush, there's an error." It's "what did I do wrong, and what steps can I take to avoid that when the pace is fast?"

It's not, "I just have no concept of time and I'm too optimistic." It's, "I need to set an alarm and commit to some rules about when and how I'm going to get moving."

You may not realize this, but avoiding responsibility has a distinctly recognizable look and feel that people resent. You're not blending in with the people who hold themselves accountable every day. Nobody buys the "it just happened" excuse.

 

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I completely agree with Jibralta.  I mean, especially with all our devices on which we can set alarms, reminders, lists to look at lists (all of which I do but I'm also an extremely timely person, typically early for things) - there's zero excuse.  Always be the stand up person and take responsibility -no need to beat yourself up but take responsibility.  

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I think most of us struggle with the last minute rush out the door quite often.  But what I do is make sure my alarm is set early enough that even if I lag a bit I'll still have a cushion.  If it takes me 45 minutes to get ready in the morning I set the alarm for an hour and 10 minutes before leaving time.  

It's especially crucial if others are waiting on you.  

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Writing it out here today the thought occurred that a second routine scheduled time of when to start getting ready would probably increase the success rate of punctuality in a good way. 
 

That’s definitely more helpful to unpack the hasty errors that way. 

 

Funny story, tonight I received a shift offer from a crewing company and I think their client was this company that doesn’t employ me anymore. That would have been funny if I’d showed up supplied by the crewing company. And great if I’d been able to show up and give the pack down 110% and maybe win back their graces. Alas, I was already gainfully employed somewhere else. A friend who works for them as well quipped that I should take the job and say to the boss ‘I know you don’t want me but I’ll always be closer than you think’ and suddenly the whole thing was just funny to me. (Especially because I got a toe in the door at the crewing company packing up with them one night working for the company that has since faded me)

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It sounds like a lot of politics. Maybe you can think of it this way: not so much winning back graces but doing any job well by your own standards. It's about you, making a brand for yourself and it sounds like you enjoy what you do.

That's great news also that you are with the crewing company. See where this takes you. 

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I have a question and maybe you already answered it.  If they have a revolving door of techs at the top why do you want to walk into that door?  Why is there so much turn over?

Just curious

 Lost

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Posted (edited)

Very good question, the actual mixing part of the work tends to be small cultural festivals. It’s been both an opportunity to hone my skill mixing outdoors and a chance to meet some cool people and hear some different music. ... And somewhere along the way I think I got emotionally invested in that company. Time to disinvest. 
 

At first I thought high turn over was because of the inconsistency of work. They have high turnover in labour crew as well, everyone is casual so those who need more consistent income end up in more consistent jobs. The company has really improved and streamlined its processes over the years, and with that improvement has come baked in this ‘work faster, work faster’ thing, which doesn’t do anything to make it feel like a good work environment. Maybe some bail because of that too.

Edited by 1a1a
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7 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

he company has really improved and streamlined its processes over the years, and with that improvement has come baked in this ‘work faster, work faster’ thing, which doesn’t do anything to make it feel like a good work environment. Maybe some bail because of that too.

But isn't that the nature of all work especially professional work - that we all strive to do our jobs ever more efficiently and faster?  It's great when people bail because of that goal because then the people who remain are highly motivated/dedicated.  Certainly there shouldn't be bullying or harassment to accomplish that goal but to me it's a no brainer -the definition of working even for oneself.  When I started at my current job over 4 years ago someone who had been there in my position that long helped me get acclimated to a couple of things and said that in a certain amount of time I'd be the one others would turn to for that sort of input - because I'd become more efficient//knowledgeable/get it done faster and faster.  She was right, of course.  

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