So, last week I found out that I had made the mistake of double booking myself. I had agreed to play with Austin Webb’s band on a New Jersey/North Carolina/Massachusetts tour. Then, about a week out, I looked on my iPhone calendar and gasped. Horrified, I saw that I had already put in a gig for that same weekend with David Oakleaf. Immediately, I scurried around to inform Webb’s bandleader that I had double booked myself and could not play on the tour, explaining that I had failed to look on my iPhone calendar when being offered the tour, and offering to help find a sub.
No more than two hours after this unfortunate phone conversation, I checked my text messages to find a message from Oakleaf, telling me that the 22-25 gig had fallen through, and that he wouldn’t need me that weekend. Ouch. Talk about a double whammy!
Why blog about this, exposing a big mistake on my part and possibly risking my reputation in the music business? First, I feel like it’s an issue we professional musicians all go through from time to time. Double-booking is horrible: the pang of fear in the pit of the stomach, the ensuing scramble to get it straightened out, and the mental anguish that inevitably accompanies the whole experience. But, it does happen.
The funny thing, I thought, about my case, was that I ended up losing both gigs. True, if everything had gone perfectly, I would have seen the first gig at the time I was being offered the conflicting one and denied my availability for the conflicting one. The first one would have fell through, as it was already going to do, and I would have been out a gig anyway. If everything had gone better than perfectly, I would have overlooked the fact that I had double-booked in the first place, and would have kept the Webb gig.
Aside from keeping one calendar and regularly checking it, there is a lot to be learned from this mess. Probably the next most important lesson could be calming down. My hurried scramble to get the conflict “taken care of” was obviously reactive. If such a thing is going to happen, next time I’ll know to pause, take a deep breath, and problem-solve. However, this is hard when the mistake has already been made.
There are no black-and-whites in this biz. Yes, there are basic rules, like keeping a calendar, or keeping one calendar in one place and checking it regularly, but when a basic rule gets overlooked, as will inevitably happen, then what?
Breathe. Assess. Act. Repeat.
More on how I find the positive in this incident, and others like it, in the next post.
IMG source: under30ceo.com Turning a Mistake Into an Opportunity (Or How We Went from “Oh F!@%!” to “F!@% Yeah!”) Under30CEO | July 31, 2012 Accessed May 19, 2014.