Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Dec 10, 2012
240
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
#1
This forum has been pretty wickedly helpful to me so far and I do profusely apologise if this does not fall within the scope of discussable topics. Hoping it does though as you are all sound techs and I would imagine some of you have been in the position of hirer/firer.

5 years I have been mixing the "amateur" front bar rig at prestigious music venue in my city. In tandem to this I have worked the main venue at least once a month every month and done a LOT of work outside of this venue. In this time I have grown as a tech and made that transition from big headed beginner to more modest but actually quite competent tech. Working in the venue has always been my dream job, every time they get a new house tech I am always (predictably) overlooked but sometimes I get gigs in the venue anyway, not from management but from the performers themselves. Over the last half a year I have done an increasing number of venue gigs and even been asked by the (very recently made redundant) venue tech to fill in for him. I know my way around this system and how to build rapport with performers.

I had one of these kinds of gigs coming up this Thursday. However, the venue has just gone through a house tech change. I had a hunch this might jeopardise my gig and sure enough, when I touched base with the boss to ask when load in was I was informed of the change in tech and that the new guy will be handling all mixing duties including my Thursday job.

I feel strongly that my employer thinks of me only as a hobbyist, how do I convey to her that I do this in a professional context, that it is my bread and butter? That I belong as much in the venue as the 'kids' the hire company who supply their PA send down when the house tech is unavailable?

I guess I can't say this to her but I'm plateuing in small rooms, I want, no, I Need to get my hands on bigger systems, bigger audiences, Better Paid Jobs, I can't learn anymore or progress in this career on front bar PAs alone. I feel like I earnt this venue gig and her taking it away from me is completely unfair (and does not bode well for my continuing to mix shows in the venue). I also feel like the effort I have put in mixing on their front bar PA over the last 5 years has gone unnoticed.
 

Per Søvik

Graduate Student
Jan 31, 2012
1,881
0
0
58
Norway
#2
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Sounds like it is time to quit and find a job with a sound company to build your career with someone who is more able than your present employer to judge your performance and your worth from professional criteria.
Of course, don't expect to get to FOH right away, you'll probably need to prove yourself at more mundane tasks first.
 
Last edited:
#4
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Per's got good advice but beware the limitations of working with large PA's - I find that with most festivals if you're there with the PA system, the first few acts may not have their own sound guy but most do. So you end up babysitting the rig and not doing much mixing. However there are other events where you would be.. once you've earned your way up.

Onto the venue, this is really hard to provide actual advice on the internet. What type of venue is it ? Is it primarily music like a concert hall/theatre or is it a venue where music is a part of the overall package like a pub/club or hotel with bars, ballrooms etc. Does your boss have any tech role or is she like a bar manager responsible for staffing, product, sales and all sorts of other interests ? And who normally pays you - the bands or the venue ? When you subbed for the house tech did the venue pay you direct ?

Last comment for now - if you can make a system sing in a small environment working with crappy gear etc etc.. that's harder to do then make great gear in great environments sound good.

andrew
 
Jan 13, 2011
459
0
16
Ottawa
#5
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Sometimes you just can't shake someone's impression of you..

When I was in high school we dealt with a local rental house a lot for our productions and got to know everyone. Nearly two decades later, with an engineering degree under my belt, and managing a successful company I've crossed paths several times with at least one of them who still sees me as the high school kid who is "new" and can't possibly know what he's doing..

You might do well to go work somewhere else for a bit (preferably somewhere that your boss has a high opinion of) and wait for the right moment to make another first impression.

Jason
 

John Roberts

Graduate Student
Jan 12, 2011
2,309
3
38
MS
www.resotune.com
#6
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

If you can't change your boss's opinion change your boss.

Unfortunately in life it is often how we present ourselves, and how other people perceive us that matters.

Perhaps ask your boss what you can do to improve your career path within the organization, short of leaving?

JR
 
Oct 31, 2012
22
0
1
#7
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Five years in the same venue is akin to a lifetime in this business. You aren't going to advance in this environment at all. Time to leave and get a better job.
 
#8
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Don't quit your day job just yet.

I'm not sure what the economy in Australia is, but here in the U.S. it's still pretty much in the shitter. Leaving a job without another one on the table is an unwise decision.

Instead, start looking around. Start sending out resumes.

Maybe find a couple of classes that you can take; console operation or system tuning, or other areas in which you might need to beef up your skill set. Maybe there is a trade show coming up that you can attend that might have seminars in different areas.
 
Dec 10, 2012
240
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
#9
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

It's a pub and a music venue, capacity 700, in Adelaide that means they get rising stars (Rodriguez) and fading ones (Tony Childs), plenty of big name acts. It's also a family business, management shared by two sisters, wouldn't know a thing about tech between them.

Got some communication from one sister saying the decision to pull me from the gig was the other sister's and one she supports. I've been advised I can contact the other sister on Wednesday. I'm resigned to the idea that this person will never think I am good enough to work in the venue now but I still really want to know why (in case it's things I can work on). On the other hand I really don't want to have to ask her (maybe because I sent her an email only a week ago trying to explain that I do a lot of work outside the venue and I'm getting quite good at this sound teching thing now and what else do I need to know to be venue worthy?! - She did not reply).

In regards to quitting, the job I have there is so low pay and token that I have been seeking/attaining/working/losing a myriad of other jobs outside of this venue for years... I am liking the leave and find a better job vibe of everyone's replies. My next thread will be asking folks to cast a critical eye over my resume :-D
 

John Roberts

Graduate Student
Jan 12, 2011
2,309
3
38
MS
www.resotune.com
#10
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Pardon the phrase, but you need to "man up", and ask the partner who thinks you are not capable, what would make you capable in her eyes? Is it getting work experience elsewhere, training, what?

Do not be confrontational. It is a fair question. You want to advance your career so you need to know what you need to do to get there.

Good luck..

JR
 

Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,884
24
38
Wichita KS USA
#12
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Thanks for the push.

Other thing I want to ask, can I charge a cancellation fee for Thursday? I turned down other paid work to be available for it.
Charge what you like, but don't expect to receive it. It's worth a mention if you think the conversation is positive. But...

It seems to me that you're batting .000 here. The one sister you talked to offered no opinion or information, but she supported the decision to remove you. Either she agrees with her sister or she doesn't want a confrontation over "your" problem. The AlphaSis has whatever her reasons are and I wouldn't expect her to have any change of heart. If she can articulate why she doesn't feel you can handle the main room or what she thinks you need to know/do better at, there's a chance. If she can't or won't, it is likely you will never go beyond your current position with this management.
 

Jay Barracato

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
1,528
2
38
Solomons MD
#13
Thanks for the push.

Other thing I want to ask, can I charge a cancellation fee for Thursday? I turned down other paid work to be available for it.
Is this the same boss that prompted your question about being asked to dress differently than the male techs?

It sounds to me like the management does not understand sound reinforcement as a profession rather than a job. Just something to consider as your posts have sounded to me like you are pursuing this as a profession.
 
#14
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Lisa,

You may want to offer a proposal to the Alpha Sister-a 4-6 month go at the main room, no strings attached. If it goes well(and I'd curry input from both sides of the microphones during this period as well as staff and management), have the meeting after the trial run and ask for the job permanently-if you think it went well. If she doesn't want to give the position to you, give her your two week's notice(or whatever is professional courtesy in Oz), and offer your thanks for the opportunity.

Best regards,

John
 
Dec 10, 2012
240
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
#15
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Well, that was informative, and pointless.

Every gig in the venue is to be done by the house tech now so they have One person out there who remains accountable, keeps it clean, doesn't pass the buck when mics go missing.

He's also good because he can mix different styles of music (she's assuming I only do rock mixes like all of their other venue techs have).

And they're starting a new leaf at this venue and they'd like me to keep the front bar cleaner (I get paid $80 a week for two nights work and the front bar gear always looks like spaghetti mess because other people use it too). Wish I'd asked for a pay rise on the phone.

New job a-looking I go, fark dis sh*t

Self destruct time, going to send her an email saying I''d like a pay rise to keep the front bar gear clean.

Edit: Email sent! I expect her to ignore it. Not cleaning anything until she replies. Cos it's not like running the front bar PA well will ever get me the $250 a night work, so no point in trying any more.
 
Last edited:
Dec 10, 2012
240
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
#17
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Maybe boat rocking would be a better turn of phrase. Keep mixing the front bar to the highest standard of course (for the musicians at least). Just don't want to take on extra work out there for peanuts.
 
Oct 31, 2012
22
0
1
#18
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

To me it appears that you will never advance in this climate. I still suggest you take all the outside work you can, even if it conflicts with this place. This place has not shown the loyalty to you that you have shown so it is definitely time to look elsewhere.
As JR said, don't burn the bridge and act professionally. It's a small world out there - word travels fast and reputations (earned or manufactured) are hard to shake once gained.
 
Jan 11, 2011
350
0
0
29
Houston, Texas
#19
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

Maybe boat rocking would be a better turn of phrase. Keep mixing the front bar to the highest standard of course (for the musicians at least). Just don't want to take on extra work out there for peanuts.
Lisa, Always continue doing your job to the highest standard. The Honest to goodness BEST you can do with every single band, every single night (which is a hard and tiring feat with some bands I know). Its how I got started. If your employers dont notice SOMEONE will. Bands remember and sometimes you would be surprised at who is actually in some of the bar bands. You may also be surprised at who is in the crowd. If not for your employer then least for yourself. I run into bands that Ive worked with in Ohio down here in Texas and they OH HEY EVAN!!! sometimes from stage, or down in the crowd after the show. You are building a reputation for yourself with or without the employer. Continue doing a good job and look for other opportunities. As others have said its a small world in this business.
 
Jan 29, 2011
737
0
0
#20
Re: Getting my employer to take me seriously...

To me it appears that you will never advance in this climate. I still suggest you take all the outside work you can, even if it conflicts with this place. This place has not shown the loyalty to you that you have shown so it is definitely time to look elsewhere.
As JR said, don't burn the bridge and act professionally. It's a small world out there - word travels fast and reputations (earned or manufactured) are hard to shake once gained.
I like both of these suggestions.
Not burning your bridge, but taking more outside work.

If you are able to say that you have a better opportunity on a certain night it might show them that you have more worth.
A polite, I have a chance to do such and such. I will not be able to make it on this one night. etc.

What will happen is either you will prove to them that you have more worth.
Or end up spending more time where your worth is more appreciated.