Patience, dear young professionals, patience. It is natural to want to do too much too soon, but by following these five valuable tips as outlined by Zach Sloman, booking and marketing manager for the John Paul Jones Arena/SMG at the University of Virginia, you will be on the road to success in no time.
Understand The Big Picture
If there is one thing above all else that I truly believe is key to success, it is understanding the big picture. Understanding how you fit in the overall operation of your office or in most of our cases, how an event happens from booking to settlement will give you the knowledge necessary to take your work to the next level. Stay late after a show to see the load-out, understand the revenue streams each event creates, look into the finer details of the ticketing world (service charges, facility fees, rebates). The earlier you develop a greater understanding of the big picture, the better off you’ll be.
Find A Mentor Outside Your Office
Your direct supervisor can certainly be a mentor and steer you down the right path. However, finding a mentor outside of your office allows for a new perspective and different experiences. Topics that may feel uncomfortable to talk to your supervisor about are easier to discuss with someone that is completely removed from a situation in the office and allows for a bias-free conversation. While finding a mentor outside the office is certainly harder, IAVM has a wonderful Mentor Connector Program (shameless plug) that I have had the pleasure of completing. While no longer in the program, I still talk with my mentor on a regular basis as if nothing has changed and cannot recommend it enough.
Read/Listen To What Others Are Doing
There is no better way to learn than from first-hand experiences. You will only be subjected to so many different situations in your career and thus the ability to learn from others about the ones you have not yet run into is invaluable. Besides spending a significant sum of money going to conferences, industry publications are the next best way to hear and learn from the experiences of others. There are many different outlets currently reporting on the entertainment and facility management industry. Whether through print publications such as FM Magazine or Pollstar, online publications such as Amplify, or podcasts such as Promoter 101, a plethora of options currently exist that you should be taking advantage of. You’ll look like a hero when a situation you read about occurs and you’re the only one with a solution.
Voice Your Opinion When Appropriate
Just because you may not be in a position of power does not mean you should stay quiet. I believe there is a time and place that one, no matter the position, should speak up if done in a respectful and intelligent manner. There is certainly going to be a time in your career when you do not agree with a decision being made or a task you are asked to complete, yet every decision should not be questioned or argued. Every situation is different and navigating these seas can be tricky. However, knowing when to speak up and present a meaningful opposition to something can lead to meaningful takeaways. On the flip side, be prepared for things to not go your way.
Enjoy The Freedom At The Bottom
While most likely taken for granted, the ability to not have to deal with the stress of an upcoming big decision or great responsibility makes it easier to leave work at work and have a social life. You’re young and still able to hit the bars until close. Don’t cash that ability in so fast in lure of money and power. Certainly, you can have a social life at the director level and above but it’s easier to do when you’re at the bottom with very little baggage to take out of the office.