Dr. Debra B. Davenport on How To Recover from Loss of a Dream Job

Dr. Debra B. Davenport responds to a music business professional who asks for career advice after losing his dream job.

Dear Music Bizzer,

Your perceptions about your situation are a bit skewed and this is causing you some undue anxiety. You are clear in your email that your real passions do not lie in sales or even marketing. What you love is music, plain and simple. Just because the music industry has changed doesn’t mean you necessarily have to abandon your true passion.

So what you need to consider are your options in terms of music. You don’t state what your music hobbies have been, but I’m wondering if one (or more) of these can’t be parlayed into a meaningful career. Similarly, with your background in music sales, marketing and promotion, you could likely take an entrepreneurial path and become a consultant or independent music publicist for artists – perhaps emerging artists who are in need of someone with your strong background and skills.

Having grown up in Honolulu, I do know that opportunities may be limited there and, as such, you may need to sit down and have a serious conversation with your family about relocation. Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Nashville will all offer more opportunities in the music business. If you are willing to consider a relocation, it’s possible you won’t have to make significant changes to your career. The important thing is being willing to make the necessary trade-offs. If you truly believe that you can’t move, then you will need to explore your options in Hawaii, such as becoming the marketing director for the Honolulu Symphony. Even Scottsdale, Arizona now boasts the new Musical Instrument Museum – a place where you might find a wonderful niche.

Simply put, I don’t believe you must give up your passion. You could write for a music industry publication, become a concert promoter, join a PR firm that works with music-related accounts, teach music, or hone your performing skills and become a professional musician. I’d encourage you to research every possible career that is even tangentially related to music before walking away.

Our careers should be a natural extension of who we are as human beings. Your passion is clearly music and I’m confident, with some research and perhaps some career coaching, you’ll be able to adapt to changes in your industry and quite possibly discover a career you love even more.

Dr. Debra Davenport

Debra B. Davenport, Ph.D., LCC, President, Identity IQ / The Davenport Institute, LLC. 

Read another guest opinion about how to recover from loss of a dream job.