Monday, November 20, 2006

"You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part IX

Continuing the series...

Here are a few scenarios.

"A long time ago in a shul far, far away..."

Years ago, I was very involved in a community shul. I helped run the beginners service, I taught NJOP's Hebrew crash course, gave a series of shiurim, organized and ran events for the shul, etc. I also played at some of the shul's events. Occasionally for free, and always at a reduced rate. I frequently turned down work for those slots, as well as for the slots I was teaching classes. Yet, there was one event I never played; the shul dinner. The shul was a large shul, and the dinner chairperson never came to any of the events my band played at the shul. The chairperson also made it clear that there was no way my band would be considered, because no one has the right to suggest to do things other than the way this person wanted it.

Should the shul have used my band for the dinner?

Here's another example:

Over the years, I've done a lot of pro-bono and discounted work for two national organizations. (Mainly pro-bono.) We're talking many gigs annually. Yet, when they have their serious events, they call bands who don't/haven't been playing these events for them. Is this fair? What do you think an organizations obligation is (if any) to it's volunteers?

A final example:
I have been playing certain events for several schools for many years. Yet, in one particular school, every time they change their director of student activities , it starts from a blank slate, meaning they call whoever for the gigs, until eventually, I get a call to play one (I am in their Rolodex after all) after which they've (so far) been satisfied and return to calling me for all of their events. This has been going on for over a decade now. I've been through four personel changes, and its been the same way each time. Comments?

Up next, my thoughts on various aspects of this topic. Also, I'll share my perspective on the specific examples cited in this series.

Meanwhile, here's Ron Benvenisti:
I sympathize with the "You Owe Me" posts for the most part but I feel compelled to say, it's not always personal or negative. Sometimes the organization's music "director" changes, or their new boss or new son-in-law has other music "connections". Sometimes they want to go a different musical route, which is not your specialty (maybe klezmer or Sephardic or Simply Tsfat). This happens. Sometimes they just forgot how to contact you. This is where a little marketing effort and good attitude go a long way. Make a timely phone call; put them on your mailing list or e-mail. Touch base now and then especially before event times. It really doesn't take much effort to be pro-active and keep up a friendly relationship.

It happened that I had a great Pesach getaway gig, I moved to NJ and the organization lost my cell phone number. In the tzimmes of the moving and the ensuing shverikeit with schools and agencies I neglected to pass on my new contact info to everyone. Thankfully, I had just put up a website and they found me by searching Google. Another time, parent's wanted to use me for a wedding, but it turned out that the kids wanted Simply Tsfat. I wasn't upset, it's their wedding. Mazal Tov! I was happy for them, this is a once in a lifetime (hopefully) event. I wound up doing a jazzy Smorg through and including the Chosson's Intro and Simply Tsfat did the Chupah and dancing. A great bunch of musical guys too! It was a beautiful, albeit slightly atypical, wedding and it was a lot of fun doing it. The crowd really enjoyed the contrast and transition. Sure, it wasn't a full 4-5 hour paying gig, but the money was still very good. I had a great relaxed time, got to see Simply Tsfat, had a great meal and subsequently booked four jobs in that geographic area, which I never worked before, from people that heard me that night. So, keep in touch and be nice. Not everyone is out to get you, but if it happens, as it most likely will, unfortunately, don't let them do it again and if discretely possible, please warn us about who the creeps are. Maybe we'll have a "Creep Peeps" gallery with names named!
Previous posts in this series:

Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part I
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part II
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part III
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part IIII
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part V
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part VI (To Catch A Thief!)
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part VII
Blog in Dm: "You Owe Me A Job!" Valid or Not? Part VIII