It was over one of those infamous dinners at The Palm last week that we were discussing the various ramifications of the Universal/PolyGram merger. Little else has been on the minds of those in the industry. Perhaps the most painful time in anyone’s professional existence is that spent waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve never really fully understood that expression. What does a shoe have to do with losing your job? Anyhow, whether or not you agree with the analogy, most of us know the feeling.
More people were “let go” in the music business last week than in any other time in our history. Four labels lost their independence: A&M, Geffen, Island and Motown. 500 people were given pink slips.
There are two kinds of people in our business: those who have jobs and those who don’t have jobs. No other classes. So, right now, you fall into one f the two categories: You’re in or you’re out.
If you’re reading this Editorial, you probably still have a job. If you were fired last week, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting the magazine. Because we’re mostly radio people here at Network 40, we try and get the magazine to those who lose their jobs. We’ve been there before…often. We know it’s important to keep a hand on the lifeline, no matter how tenuous the hold. But last week’s terminations were so vast that it has been hard for us to input the new addresses of friends who now have no offices.
Because so many people find themselves out of jobs today, we’re dedicating this issue to the problem. Our feature focuses on those who are out of work and ideas on how to get back to work. Hopefully, everyone will find something to take with them.
If you have a job, now is the time to reach out to those who are in need. All research tells us that the stress of losing a job is second only to the death of a family member. No matter what the circumstances, getting blown out is traumatic. You must be supportive of those less fortunate than you.
You need to be supportive for two reasons: Number one, your friends need your help, and, number two, it will happen to you. If you are arrogant enough to believe you will never be fired, get ready. Your demise is probably already being plotted.
If you have bee loaded in the cannon and blown out…don’t freak. Although being fired is a shock, the effects soon wear off and an equilibrium can be maintained. You’ve lost your job, not an appendage. Jobs can be replaced.
The first thing that generally happens after being terminated is a loss of self esteem. You think of yourself as a failure. Your ego takes a tremendous beating. In our business, these feelings will work to make you a better person. Chances are, your ego was out of control. Maybe you were thinking too much of yourself. It happens to all of us.
In the case of the latest layoffs, there probably wasn’t a whole lot you could have done to save your job. It wasn’t like you got a warning. You were probably laid off because of numbers.
The fact that it wasn’t personal doesn’t make it any less painful. Although one tends to wallow in the pool of self-pity after being fired, you must eventually raise your head and know there is life after termination. As a matter of fact, being fired is less a black mark today than ever before. It’s more like a badge of courage…a combat ribbon to be bragged about during late-night conversations with your peers at a bar.
There’s no stigma attached to termination like in your parents’ days. Most everyone in our business has taken gas at one time or another and have not only survived the ordeal, but profited from it.
Are you feeling particularly sorry for yourself right now because you’ve been fired? Do you find it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Consider the group you’ve joined. Check the list of people in our business who have either been fired or forced out of the business at one time or another and have since returned…with a vengeance. You’ll find the club isn’t that exclusive.
Mo Ostin, Clive Davis, David Geffen, Doug Morris, Richard Palmese, Burt Baumgartner, Craig Lambert, Bruce Tennenbaum, Ron Geslin, Ray Anderson, John Boulos, Ken Lane, Mark Gorlick, Time Burris, Chris Lopes, Marc Ratner, Denise George, Johny Coppola, Ray Carlton, Vicki Leben, Linda Murdock and Felicia Swerling…just to name a few.
That’s not had company. They’re all great people who succeeded in spite of the loss of a job…or in many cases, because of it. So will you.
If you’ve been fired, don’t be too down. If you’ve got a job, don’t be too high. Remember: Ain’t never a horse that couldn’t be rode and never a rider that couldn’t be throwed.