What Happened?

Last Friday I celebrated my last day of work in a job I wasn’t suited for. On Monday evening, I flew to New Jersey to teach a 3-day class on a technical certification. Right before I boarded my plane home, my worst short-term fear was realized. The project: cancelled. I return home from my first gig essentially unemployed. Maybe I didn’t do an effective job managing my own expectations. Maybe I left a hole in my plan. Where’s plan B?

Unfortunately, there is a complex plan B gotcha. Before disaster, plan B seems like a silly — almost pessimistic — exercise. After disaster, plan B (or C or D or E) is an order of magnitude more difficult. After disaster, plan B becomes plan A. Now plan B doesn’t seem so silly, does it?

Right now, at 34,000 feet, the cities, roadways, and earth all look a lot smaller than they do when I’m lost in Newark or at home worrying about next month’s mortgage. February 9th, 2006 will look less and less significant as I take off from this runway. I know it will work out. I have enough faith in God and in myself to know that in 6 months, I’ll have something much more trivial to worry about.

There are a few odds-and-ends facts about me that seem relevant tonight.

  • I’m impulsive: I make decisions quickly.
  • I’m resiliant: Even though I take first hits poorly, I quickly decide (see the last fact) that it’s not worth worrying over (will I care about this in six months?).
  • I’m brilliant: Impulsive decision-making and poor-planning notwithstanding, I learn quickly, retain everything and am passionate about sharing knowledge.

Side note: I’m flying over DC right now and (in the dark) the Washington Monument is lit and clearly identifiable from 34,000 feet. Good design.

I’ll get back to bragging about myself (I don’t do this often, so let me have my moment).

This week reminded me how much I love teaching people things that I’m interested in. I’m good at it too. I guess that makes sense; My dad was a good teacher. Now I’ve got a fresh infusion of teaching mojo and no students to teach.

I think a lot about finding a purple cow. I am a purple cow.

  • I’m ideological (that’s dangerous).
  • I’m enterprising: I appreciate the freedom to make a difference.
  • I’m creative.
  • I’m personable. I like people and I’m easy to get along with.
  • I’m purple. There aren’t many people like me, you see. I have quirky behaviors, quirky memories, and off-the-wall ideas.

This is little more than a bragstream. Maybe it’ll give me enough motivation to completely turn this situation around in a few weeks time. Let’s hope so, I can’t afford any more plane tickets right now.

New Opportunities

On Tuesday, I promised you news soon. When I first did my ‘passion intersections‘ months ago, I listed technology instructor as one. About 3 weeks ago, my sister made me aware of a teaching opportunity with the company she works for.

I followed the appropriate process, and went to a 3-day training session in Philadelphia, PA. My employer graciously allowed me to take some unpaid leave time to train and keep my old job until everything was squared away with the new gig.

Today was my last day of work with my old employer. I’ll respect professional boundaries and leave out the name of the company, but will say that my last day of quality assurance work came just in time. I’m looking forward to the freedom I’ll have as an independent contractor teaching roughly two weeks a month.

This situation will allow me to pursue several of my passions while making a living doing another. Should be a great situation, I’ll keep you informed.


Happy New Year! I think. Hopefully your endeavors for the year are off to a good start.

If you’re a leader working to motivate people, I have some ideas for you.

  • Compensation alone can only motivate temporarily. Substantially higher pay for mundane work may get Samuel motivated to work on a project for a very short period of time, but if your project will last for a long time, he’ll get bored and stop producing.
  • Substandard compensation is only sufficient if people love what they’re doing. In the depths of human subconscious, love is a much stronger motivator than money.
  • People who cannot envision the possibility of a completed project, they can’t be driven to it. “This task is impossible” will break even the most contrarian initiators if they actually believe it’s impossible.
  • Tell the truth, at all costs. Even if you think you’re pulling the wool over their eyes, they’ve got you figured out. Even if you think the truth will cause mutiny, the silent mutiny caused by a lie will break your team.

Are you motivated to do what you’re supposed to be doing right now?

Day 41 of 48

Only one week left. I’ve made substantial progress internally, and have started to build a network of people who I believe will be instrumental in the journey. I have been with the book for several weeks, had time to reflect and have taken away the following:

  1. Being successful and sustaining by doing what you love is possible.
  2. Doing what you love is your best chance at finding success.
  3. Some people may find their passion working for someone else, some working for themselves.
  4. If you’d love to work for yourself, make it happen in a way that works for you. You don’t necessarily need to quit your job and start bootstrapping it tomorrow.
  5. Following through on an action plan is the only way to reach your goals.

There have already been some obstacles, and there will be more. Even though I’ve still got a week left, I’m now officially moonlighting as a composer/songwriter. If you’ve got a use for music in a multimedia production, video game, film, programming, advertising, or presentation, let me know. I’m interested in entertaining working on projects of any size.

There’s my plug, and you should do it too. Anyone making the switch to your passion, let us all know what services you’re providing and how we can get in touch with you in the comments (I won’t mark your plugs as spam).

Day 35 of 48

Last week, I finally finished 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. The rest of the 48 days are dedicated to getting my music composition business off the ground. I’ve identified my strengths, weaknesses and passion core. I’ve learned what needs to be done to be successful.

There are two basic paths that the book may lead you on. The first is finding a job. I have a substantial amount of evidence that says this isn’t the proper path for me. The second is how to create a business out of what you really love doing.

The latter path suggests taking on your business as a sideline until it replaces your regular income. That is the plan. What I don’t think I can handle is the scenario where I’m not ready to exclusively run the business but my ‘day job’ ceases to exist. For now, I’m taking one step at a time.

I’m running in parallel on four types of music projects right now:

  • I’ve always been interested in writing video game music. I’ve got a sample I wrote for a prospective game developer at http://typica.cyefi.com.
  • I worked on a dance-inspired electronica project a few years ago called Rain Pilot. I’m interested in reviving that if there are people interested in hearing it. Some of the old stuff has been published at http://rainpilot.cyefi.com.
  • Since I’ve got children now, I’ve been inspired to work on some children’s electronica so my girls can listen to dad’s music while they sleep. The start of this project is at http://unclewidget.cyefi.com.
  • My main project is trooperseven. This is dance-rock that I’m planning to take to stage. I’d like to hear this stuff on independent films, college radio stations, advertisements, and the like. I publish unfinished and unpolished demos at http://trooperseven.com.

I’m excited about these changes, and thankful for having stumbled across Dan’s Book. Pick up a copy today.

Day 18 of 48

Over the weekend, while working on my daily draft (four lines of text to music each day) I managed to finish up the composition stage on one song. This happened to be a song I really enjoy, and I was able to get it into a rough demo. Today, I spent a lot of time getting my music website looking and functioning the way I want it to. Now, I launch it. This is the first publicity I’ve done for trooperseven. I hope you enjoy it. If you’re in the Columbia, SC area you’ll have the opportunity to catch a live show in January. Otherwise, maybe you’ll hear one of my songs on a tv show or something.


Day 10 of 48

Sometimes the news that hits you like a ton of bricks is actually what you expected all along. I can’t really explain any more than that, but today, Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love has me recreate my resumé. This is probably the oddest resumé I’ve ever created, but maybe that’s been my problem. I’ve shaded out details I think are better left private, but what’s your feedback? Would you hire me to be your composition master? I’ve got some work yet to do, but here’s a glance:

My Resumé