Yep. I chose it. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I did that, though. I landed my first job when I was eighteen. There weren’t that many auditioning for English horn in San Jose Symphony: not a whole lot of competition for an orchestra at that level back then. These days it would be a lot tougher. I am very certain I wouldn’t win an audition there now, if the dear orchestra still existed.
I learned, quite some time ago, to whine about it. I learned to complain about reeds. To ramble on about losing weekends. To sigh about a lost holiday because I had to work.
And yet … I would like to state publicly that I love my job. I love sitting on stage and, even more, in the pit. I love working — collaborating — with wonderful colleagues. I love working on and performing incredible works from eons ago and from just a day or so ago.
Is it work? You BET. Do I make as much as someone outside of the arts? Most often not. But there are many that do earn less. I’ve not had to work at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store or … well … you get the picture. My last job like that was back in 1982. Even then I was working at a bookstore and who would complain about that?!
Do I stress over it? Absolutely. If I make a mistake I live with it for far too long. If I make a large blunder someone might even write about it in a newspaper or an online publication. That eats at me. It hurts. I say I don’t care, but I lie a lot about that. Of course if I play well I might get a good mention, which is always nice.
I hear people complain about their jobs. The long hours. The lack of respect. The poor treatment. Many of these people earn a ton more money than I do. They are unhappy. They hate it. They own their houses outright. They don’t fret over money. But they are so darn unhappy it makes me sad.
So let me say again. I love my job. I am grateful to do what I do. I love music. I love the arts. I love creativity.
I’ll probably still whine. I excel at whining. But I chose to be here and I continue to choose it. I would do it all again.
I love my job.
Performing: symphony, opera, musical theater, chamber music. And then there’s teaching! I love introducing oboe to newbies and encouraging those that already play.
I love my JOBS.