My first job ever, although I wasn’t paid for it, was to play music at a local radio station in my home town. It was a short career that pivoted to producing commercials, but it left such a profound mark on me that I still wish I could go back and make it a permanent job. I never wandered into DJ land or any kind of live performances. The studio, the airwaves and me. That is still my dream job.
Today that land does not exist anymore. Radio stations have very much fixed playlists that a music director sets up and the people you hear on the radio are now doing everything – speaking, playing music, working on the mixing console – a job that 20 years ago was done by three.
But back then, when you started your 6 hour stint, it was a land with wide boundaries. There were some forbidden types of music (luckily delightfully aligned with personal tastes) but in the end it was your own story. And for me playing music was like telling a story. Like reading a book that takes you from one place to another. I could transfer my own feelings, emotions, demons and happiness through the airwaves to all listeners and carry them with me for a couple of pages or more, just enough to give them a glimpse of my current chapter.
I never discussed with others how they selected the music they play. Was it a same kind of feeling, storytelling or just random selection based on “that sounds well with that”. In the end, the only thing that mattered is that there was something for me in there. It was not showing off as nobody (apart from the employees at the station) knew* I was playing at a particular moment. It was something else. Something I’m seeking up to this day. That fulfilling sensation of blending boundaries and total exhaustion when the storytelling is done for the day.
Some read books, I read music. And that is neither more or less valuable than the other. It is just different. A different drive, different source of inspiration, a different meaning.
I’m an idealist when expecting I’ll find that same vibe somewhere else, outside that studio, that mixing console. But nonetheless I’m seeking for it everytime. Not because I want to find it. But because I may find something new.
So a dream job may not be something you already did, but something you may do. But the key is never to give up searching. Not today. Not in this time. The world will only get smaller, opportunities larger and possibilities wider.
The only thing worse than not doing what you love is not knowing what you love.
* – Actually there was a way to know I was on air. In each and every stint, I used to either open with or play One headlinght by The Wallflowers during the first 30 minutes. It is still one of my personal favorites and the song that made me worship Bob Dylan not for his music, but for co-creating Jakob Dylan.