I usually write about geek culture or entertainment but recently I hit a wall, unable to find any energy for blog writing. Writing the odd blog can be a fun hobby and something to distract from my work - a subject that I tend to steer clear of when it comes to blogging. However, with the start of the year and a fresh set of goals in ahead of me, at the moment, my mind seems solely focused on my day job. I wasn't always like this though, I used to despise working; I often felt lost, uninspired and spent many years searching for my true calling.
Now, I run a music PR company with my partner. I love what I do but like any job it can still become tiring. And we're all tired. Yes, we all are. But that's life; we get on with it and power through. It's where I am now that keeps me going and I was reminded of that recently.
The other day one of our bands was asked at short notice to record a live session for radio. Everyone pulled together, the band travelled all the way down to London and back in 24-hours and the session sounded super.
During a brief sound check the presenter introduced himself to us and proceeded to say how much he loved our company, what we do, our ethos, our name and even our logo. It's rare for the presenter of the show to look into the company behind the band (I feel it's rare anyway); our bands are the ones in the spotlight so they come first.
We left the session that day with a real sense of accomplishment; we absolutely pride ourselves in being honest, unpretentious and friendly - this is the spirit of our business. We vowed to uphold these elements when we founded the company, especially after an array of bad experiences in our previous work lives.
As a youngster, I spent years working in the media and had the misfortune of encountering a few dodgy bosses and my fair share of crappy colleagues. Nevertheless, some of these bosses were considered successful but more often than not their bad reputation often overshadowed their success.
I worked for a production company for a short time; I wanted to learn about the business and experience new, exciting work adventures. However, one of my main jobs for the Director was to have his house constantly stocked with Marks & Spencer smoked salmon and Holland & Barrett rye bread (specifically those brands or there'd be trouble!) and deliver him coffee every morning wherever he may be (even if that meant he was lying half naked in bed whilst his girlfriend hid in the bathroom!). He was boastful, pompous and, above all, a terrible boss. Some of the staff were lovely but my overriding memory is being bullied to tears by one of his right hand ladies for making the same mistakes any other 21-year-old would make working in the media first time around. I was made to feel useless and stupid and it did nothing for my self-esteem. When I left he told me I was rubbish and wouldn't amount to much.
Suffice to say he's gone now and the company is as well. He's now living out some sort of strange bloated existence in Los Angeles. When I mention his name now there's either silence or a groan and that says it all.
My point is that no matter what you choose to do in your working life, try to do it with a smile and treat your colleagues with kindness - work as a team. You can scream into a pillow when you get home if you need to but don't blame others for your frustration at work. Be humble and be real and if you don't like it, get out, change it and be better. Don't get back, get ahead!
I've read many articles on business, growth, being 'the boss' and how to make a success of yourself but, at the end of the day, all you can ask is that people remember you for being professional and friendly to deal with - remember those who gave you your first chances, thank the ones who supported your rise and, most importantly, pay it forward.
It was one small comment from the presenter that day that confirmed what we'd been striving for all these years has been achieved. It's easy to get the January blues but, since then, whenever I've been a little stressed I remember what I'm thankful for and get on with it. If I hit a bad day, I'll step away from the computer, do something else and get some perspective.
Now, a little older, I look back at how much I struggled to make sense of my work life but I'm finally at ease. I avoid confrontational situations or approach them with calm logic (I do that pillow screaming behind closed doors of course!) and I'm respectful and polite. I wish I could feed this energy into my despondent 21-year-old self but at least I got here eventually.
For anyone feeling as I did back then or those at the beginning of their careers reaching for the next level, my only advice would be this: work hard and play nice because nice guys always finish first.