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The Miserable Road to Success with a Smile

Rat gets about 2 to 3 inquiries a day from humans looking to work for Rat.  That equates to about a 1000 a year.  I must say it is one of the most difficult things I deal with and though I try to respond to all the ones that come to me personally, I must admit that when I get busy and I have 20 or so backed up in my in box, more than a few get lost in the mix, for that I apologize.  I am truly honored and appreciate the interest in working for Rat.  I also fully support the concept of following your dream and doing all you can to get there.  So it is really tough to respond to these requests.  While I do not want to disregard the inquiries, Rat rarely hires new people except if we meet them and are impressed by their work ethic, skills and we also are in need of adding someone and the person comes highly recommended by someone that already works with us.

So I have been pondering the answer to the question "How do I get in to the pro sound business and get to work for a company such as Rat?"  And what I am realizing is that if your plan is to try and get hired by a sound company supplying systems to highly desirable bands and tours, you will first need a stellar skill set, reputation, work ethic and have some highly respected people that are willing to recommend you.

But the quandary is "How do I develop that skill set if I cannot get hired to prove myself?" Excellent point and one that I face myself over and over with each new level not only as a tech and an engineer but also as a sound rental business as well. I did not get here by walking into a killer gig.  I did not reach this point by expecting someone to hire me based on my potential. I did not look for 'getting lucky' and in general I avoid the whole lottery success concept.

While those rolling the dice for a shortcut to happiness are plentiful, it is the ones willing to build their happiness that are desirable.

I chose to work very hard for a very long time and definitely grueling beyond anything I would ever expect from someone else. So the answer is simple.  "Do your time,  earn your credibility, establish yourself as one of the best at what you decide to do."  Whether that means digging the trenches in audio boot camp of misery or studying software and specifications and mastering the mental side of in this highly competitive industry, it is those that are most willing to push the hardest that are most likely to come out on top.  And by pushing the hardest I am talking about pushing to the point of obsession, borderline insanity and when everyone else throws in the towel for the day, you just getting warmed up. Being willing to forgo the luxuries like nights off and sleep and all the other stuff that so many normal people enjoy.  Most people will not gravitate to the top, most people will settle for mediocrity and that's why it is called mediocrity, because that is the realm that the majority reach, and there is nothing wrong with that, it just is not the path that will most likely get to traveling the world with rock bands as a successful sound human.

So when you can answer the questions with confidence and credibility: "what makes you exceptional?"  "What have you done that is above and beyond to develop your skills?"  "Can you truly say that no matter how bad it gets, that you've already voluntarily been through worse?" It is then that you are at the point where you should be able to pull the gigs that you dream of pulling.  Until then, get in those trenches and have a blast kicking ass on the most grueling gigs you can get your hands on.  Trust me, it builds character and if nothing else it will make for some great road stories when reach the next level.

Well, post Coachella haze and all went quite well. Memories of the volcano and desert sun fade, and little by little as I eradicate desert dust from my clothes and everything else I brought for the ride.This was the year of delay clusters and regionalizing the coverage into expandable/contractable real time coverage areas.

It's been a while since I blogged as my focus time has been limited a bit by the many adventures surrounding. So here are some photos I have collected. I actually took most of the pics this year on my phone and sent them to Daniella and they were uploaded here:

Ok, so lets go wander around the festival!

Jay-Z sound check Thursday night

Looks like a bit of console pollution

They actually broke down the entire main stage and all the delay clusters and reset them elsewhere for Stagecoach.

Enter Stagecoach

And I must admit it was a long two weeks but awesome fun and so happy to get back home



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He who must not be named on :

Oh thank you. That was a brilliant read and oh-so-true. "Do your time, earn your credibility, establish yourself as one of the best at what you decide to do." That's the main part of *life*, anyway. I was there, I did all gigs I ever wished for. Yet, nothing could have kept me in that biz. Nothing ever. There's still plenty of work where I am now. Sleep - at times - is still a foreign word. But *I* decided that I'm better off doing IT. So from my current POV I can only say "Kill your idols" :) Even once you worked hard enough to do X, why not got for Y if it fits you better?

Baptiste Valcke on :

That's nice to answer to every mail. I'm on the other side and it's really unusual to get a reply when you send an e-mail. I'm looking for an internship in an audio rental company and the last month I send about 25 e-mail to 25 different company where I know nobody and I got only one answer. But I'm quite sure that e-mail are not the best way to create the first contact.

Dave Rat on :

Email is not the best way as it is too easy. In a way it shows laziness or 'taking the path of least resistance.' Which are the opposites of what most employers seek. Referral is better and having letters of recommendation from people that the potential employer knows and respects is good as well. Treat a job request very cautiously. If I feel I am being approached as a bulk email, I instantly delete and do not even download the resume if attached. Anyone approaching a potential employer should have done significant research and have a very clear understanding of the company and people they are sending a resume to. The resume and cover letter should be specifically tailored to that company. And positive persistence without being annoying is a tough line to walk. Annoying persistence will guarantee elimination from consideration. And finally, there are no sure fire ways, just a constant pursuit of your goals with a smile and sooner or later things will pan out.

Matt - Afterglow Lighting on :

Paying your dues is the only way into the biz. I have build a lighting company in the traditional fashion - working hard, building inventory slowly, and more hard work. Great post Dave - and great pictures from the festivals.

Danny on :

I've been remiss in not thanking you for this whole blog page, which is a brilliant piece of work (and ought to be required reading for audio technicians). I think it's apt to roll that in with thanks for this particular post. It's so rare to see someone with a great deal of compassion for the job seekers out there, especially when the "master of the house" has done things in the hardest way possible. (Then again, as a graduate of the school of hard knocks, you're probably more likely to be compassionate than someone who had it easier.) So...thank you. A lot.

Dave Rat on :

Awesome! Thank you for the positive comment!

Jay Bozich on :

So I take it the "reel-to-reel" at the top is a "4-head" model?

Gertjan on :

Hi Dave, can you tell us some more what the big bird stage was hosting? And some more info about all the PA deployment would be very infomative. It is very nice to follow the evolution from year to year.

Dave Rat on :

Hello Gertjan, I will try and get that info into a blog soon.

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