I’ve always had a problem with authority. Not the kind most people talk about, where they find themselves clashing with authority figures, wanting to be deviant. Nope. I have the opposite problem, where if I’m not careful, I’ll end up bending to everybody else’s will, bowing down to anyone with imposing confidence and superficial charm. (Note: in my experience those with real confidence and charm don’t even want anyone bowing down to them.)
Some ten years ago, I was invited to meet with the head of one of the biggest record labels in the world. It seemed like an amazing opportunity, as the lady reached out to me via email seemingly out of nowhere. I had already been signed to a number of different record companies, one of them Sony Music 550, so I was not entirely new to this sort of thing. Nevertheless I was pretty psyched to meet this big name in the industry, hoping and wishing it would lead to a collaboration.
What ended up happening is this: I showed up to my meeting on time, dressed to the nines (more like to the elevens…I tended to overdo things a bit at the time…) and waited for 45 minutes to meet up with this woman. In the end I was told she wasn’t able to meet with me, and it was suggested that I come back another day. With the second meeting, almost the same exact thing happened, except this time, after 45 minutes of waiting, I was finally ushered in to meet with her. Throughout our “meeting”, she was busy packing for a trip and doing other things like talking on the phone. She asked me a couple of questions and I was so anxious (read: angry) that I blushed and was hardly able to speak. Me, in my loud outfit, intimidated beyond belief. Needless to say, this “meeting” never lead to anything.
In the music business, and in the industries that interact with it, I have come across numerous people who like to control others; the earlier story a prime example. This has been the case more often than not, to be honest; although perhaps I was moving around in the wrong circles previously…. The thing that I’m learning now is how to hold on to my power, as there are so many who would like to take it away. The best way to keep my power is to work with people who want to increase it, not harness it.
Any whiff of a game being played these days is a clear warning sign to me. I may not always spot it myself, but today I have good people around me, who help me identify these things. Naturally, the goal is to recognize these signs for myself.
I doubt that I would wait for a meeting with anyone for 45 minutes anymore. No one should pretend to have that kind of authority over other people’s minutes and hours. Time is precious, and I refuse to waste it on people who don’t deserve it.
“I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.”