In part 1, I talked about how to approach a first job opportunity. In this installment we’ll look at what is expected of you in your new job and, more importantly, how you might exceed those expectations.
Few of us enjoy taking out the trash, vacuuming the rugs, emptying ashtrays. But is often true that you can tell more about someone from the way they approach tasks they don’t like than the jobs they do like. So, following this logic, your new boss is almost certain to give you all the jobs nobody else wants (which, by the way, will be the case with new clients and bosses your whole life).
My advice is attack every job with a smile and positivity. If you are thorough and tenacious vacuuming the lounge, I’ll bet you’ll be a thorough and tenacious engineer. Most of the time you will be rewarded for it.
Whether “sit here and don’t say a thing” or “make me a flash encoded video with underscore, dialog and SFX by morning”, no matter the level of your involvement with a project, the best habit you can develop is paying attention to what is happening around you.
Being a great assistant engineer, for example, means that you know more about what is going on in the session than the engineer and producer combined. I DO NOT mean that you know more than them. They are (hopefully) busy doing their job, so it is the assistant’s job to notice that the bass player is wiggling his headphone cable, that the wrong track is armed for record, or that someone said “let’s finish that vocal tomorrow” and so documenting the vocal chain might be a good idea. All the best assistants appear to be mind readers…. thinking about a cold drink? BAM “here’s a cold drink for you”. Nothing spoken to them. Magic? Nope, paying attention.
Every kindness is returned a thousand fold. But that’s not the reason to do it.
We are trained in our teens and twenties to burn the candle hard. All nighters, long days, eating whatever and whenever. And, yes, some of this is necessary to cram years of learning and experience into a brief time. Unlearning these habits can be a long process, but I really believe it’s important to do it as soon as you can.
Watch yourself… if you notice that your concentration or work suffers after 14 hours, try to limit yourself to 14 hours. Talk to your clients/ bosses, they will often be very understanding (especially when they find that in the long run they get better quality work). Back hurts from sitting to long? Get up and stretch. Be kind to yourself. It does improve your work. Of course, there will always big big deadlines or crunch times that push everyone to the limit, but if you’re generally moderate with your schedule these crunches won’t be nearly as hard.
So, get some rest and check in for part 3; the art of self-employment
Did you miss part 1? catch it here http://danrudin.com/2009-10-01/advice-for-new…gineers-part-1