“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau
When I was deciding what to do next with my life I took these career aptitude tests and one after the other returned these two things: Writer and Teacher. There were others but these two turned up time after time.
I hadn’t really considered writing books, I was more into writing songs and teaching others what i’d learned along the way.
So I mentioned this to my mom a while back when we were talking about my writing. She said: “I remember you coming home from school one day. You said: ‘I’m NEVER going to be a teacher!’. You’d been to the guidance counselor and were mad as hell. He’d told you that you’d make a good teacher and should look into it as a career.”
I was taken aback since I didn’t remember that! Had to laugh because all these years later it seemed so obvious. I tried to think back to where my head was at during that time since I raged at the thought of it.
From what I remember my mind was dead set on being a musician, having someone tell me that my passion wasn’t what I was best suited for was a slap in the face. So I rebelled and chose an education in media and arts. I mean, what the hell did they know? Ain’t no one gonna tell me who I am!
To be perfectly honest, that venture went straight down the crapper. I’m still I glad I chose that path, but let’s just say that it didn’t lead to any higher education. For me it was mainly a time of exploring the worlds of music, videogames and books. Waxing nostalgic!
When I started studying music production one of my mentors gave me the opportunity to take over the class for a while. He kind of used me as a resource teacher in class. It was weird but I really enjoyed it, even though it felt awkward standing in front of my peers telling them how to do something. Later on I really started enjoying this.
One of my top experiences was giving a presentation of Warner Music Group, I didn’t know how the hell to make it not suck. After a few drafts I finally decided to just look at what I found interesting and 3 interesting people turned up during the research who’d shaped the company and helped form the music industry as we once knew it.
I noticed that people actually got into it. They might not remember the annual figures or even the names of the people but I think that whenever they think of WMG, or their sublabels, they get a good feeling about them. The company became human. That’s the moment I realized how important it is to tell a good story that engages people on an emotional level.
After working as a producer for a while I found that coaching, mentoring and helping my colleagues fulfilled me much more than sitting there just doing the job myself. After doing that for some time I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could help even more people by giving them something to read when I wasn’t available. Thus “Blocks” was born!
It’s weird to look back now. I know that this was the right road for me to take, no doubt! However, it’s kind of ironic that I chose to run as far away as I could from that “teacher” label only to return to it so many years later. Why didn’t my mind go: “Hmm, well… I’ve apparently got a knack for that but i’m interested in this other thing. How could I combine them?”.
When I took those career aptitude tests I still hadn’t embraced the idea of being a “teacher”, but when I saw it coupled with “writer” which overlapped with my creative side, I thought: “Interesting, I can kind of see that. How do I marry ’em together with music?”.
It’s weird how sometimes other people have the clarity of sight to see something in you that you don’t see. Or, as in my case, put your fingers in your ears and go: “La-la-la-la-la! I can’t hear you!”.
Looking back now, a man only told me what qualities I had. I took it on like it was all I could hope to be. I turned my back to it, desperate to prove that I was something more. It took me 15 years to come to terms with that part of me.