Learning What You DON’T Want, To Help Find What You Do Want…


Wisdom. It’s such an overused, yet underutilized thing…right?

But the advantage of being “well past middle-age” (no…I’m not going to live to be more than 120 years old), is that experience really has given me some words of wisdom for those who may stumble upon them (I used to write these on large stones and leave them in random places).

It seems that Generation Millennial (I’m sorry that they ran out of letters from you guys after X and Y), are really struggling with finding the right job…or in some cases…any job, after going tens of thousands of dollars into debt to get a college degree.

Well…take it from someone who “exited before the final act” in college (I tell people that I graduated Cum in my class…as in In Cum Plete), there are worse ways to “find success” than your path.


Cranky’s Wild Career Ride…
A lesson in learning what you don’t want to do,
while searching for what you DO want to do!

List of jobs in first five years of adulthood (After getting married two days before my 21st birthday)
1. Field hand at tree nursery (pulling trees to be shipped)
2. Retail manager of departments store garden center (Fred Meyer)
3/4. Managed a convenience store (twice) (Plaid Pantry and 7-11)
5. Sold lawn mowers at Montgomery Wards (for two days)
6. Owned a singing telegram company
7. Owned an aquarium and plant leasing company (called “Tanks Alot”…don’t ask)
8. Sold accident insurance door-to-door (I believe this will interest you also!”)
9. Part owner of a nightclub (great way to begin the path toward divorce)
10. Musician (can you say jingle singer and piano bar guy?)
11. Retail milkman home delivery (3 AM – 1 PM four days a week…ARRRRGH! But the stories of housewives the milkman are true!)
12. Taxi Cab driver (for extra money when I wasn’t driving milk truck)
13. Sold cable television (when there was only 12 channels and HBO)
14. Landscaper (back to my “roots” so to speak…my grandfather owned a nursey)

THE TURNING POINT -1980-realized I was good at advertising, and production
arts…and met someone who “believed in me.” or didn’t know any better. 
15. Bluffed my way into advertising for a major local car dealership (great story… “out-conned” a con man)
16. Started own advertising agency (about damn time!)
17. Began doing commercial production and music soundtracks on the side (can you say jingles?)
18. Owned commercial recording studio (can you say more jingles and garage bands?)
19. Did national soundtrack work for Will Vinton, Nordictrac, IDE (can you say Emmy, National TV shows, Record contract, then 24 albums of workout music, and 22 albums of generic Christmas music?)
20. Started a music production library company (can you say almost bankrupt?)
21. Started a small record label (Indie Alternative rock label)
22. Co-owner of video production studio (Oh dear God…not another industrial video about roof repair or music instrument demonstration!)
23. Publisher/editor of independent music newspaper (Northwest Music News… was supposed to be a three month experiment that lasted 5 years– a TOTAL hoot, with no money to show for it)
24. Radio Station Sales Consultant
25. Radio Station Program Director
26. Concert promoter
27/28. VP sales for two ISPs (learning the inside of the tech business after catching the Internet bug…not to be associated with a virus..which is what I’m sure I was to my bosses…the lying weasels) while doing side development for AOL.
29. Started online radio station and streaming portal (just me and Mark Cuban)
30. Founded internet applications and services company for broadcasters.

CURRENT?  Many, many combinations of the above skill set…as media continues to evolve.

30 different incarnations? Maybe more…along with the subset of at least Five Different Things I Do Now For Money Now…While I work to pay for the weddings of my youngest three daughters.

Almost the entire time, I was playing music, writing music, and learning new media technology.

The fallback was always advertising agency work.

From 1980-1997, I always had at least a handful of advertising agency clients. It would be compared to a “waiter job” if I was a struggling actor. I was good at it, but pretty much hated it. I hated most of the people in the media, I hated some of my clients, but most of all, I hated lying for a living. How many times can you say, “Today only!” and mean it?

What’s the lesson here, kids? Either stay in school, get a good college education for a career in something that pays you enough to pay off your student loans, or be prepared to work long hours, with lousy pay, until you finally find something that WORKS.

Good luck with that!

But, in the end…I am going to have to fall into the hyperbole of common wisdom that most keynote speakers at college graduations give…”Find Your Passion…and DO IT! The Money will follow.

Unless you are a double major in Aboriginal Art and South Seas Religious Culture, and Anthropology.  In which case, you better learn an important phrase…”Would you like fries with that?

It’s a huge, big, brave, new world…but you need to understand the tools, and be ready to change fluidly.

End of discussion…

As with all wisdom and advice in the world…it is usually worth the price you pay for it. And I have paid, and paid, and paid, and paid…so a goodly number of friends and family can retire on fat PERS pensions.

Oh well…you can’t say I didn’t have an interesting ride...right?


About crankyoldguy067

I'm a very complex person...no...really I am. It may seem like I only golf, watch TV, and listen to Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Little Feat...but I am a deep, deep thinker...so deep that at times I just have to lay down. I love my family. I love my wife for putting up with me. I have held more jobs than a Pakastani immigrant...and have had three complete career cycles. 1. In my first life (rymes with first wife) I did almost every blue-collar job you can imagine...all with alarming ineptetude. 2. In my second cycle, I owned an ad agency, was an award winning music producer, and recording artist. And now, since the advent of the Internet... 3.I have been pretty much locked into providing services and marketing support to radio stations across 160 markets...while dablling with writing...continuing to write music...managing several blog sites, the country club web site, and being a grandpa...while working to pay for the weddings of my last three daughters. I will be working until I am 70...or 75...or 80. My advice to anyone who wants to emulate my life... DON"T!!!!! Stay in college. Have a good, long career in something with a decent retirement program and good benefits. You can't pay for your gallbladder operation with an Emmy Award. Really. I've asked.
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