If you know me, or read the small print under my picture, you know that music blogging is a hobby, and that my real work is as an attorney. Being a lawyer is something that I wanted to be ever since I was a kid, probably because my dad was one, and he seemed to enjoy the hell out of it. He also explained to me that being a lawyer meant that you could learn something new every day.
He was right–that is probably one of the best things about being a lawyer–over my career, I’ve learned about many different industries, met lots of interesting people, and for a pretty long time, made reasonably good money. The best period of my career, I think, was when I worked in-house at a large financial services company. I took the job, kind of hoping to find that elusive position that I could work and grow at until I retired. Sadly, not too long after I joined, the company sold off the part that I worked for, and my position was eventually going to be eliminated. I could have stuck around, waiting for another in-house position, and many of my friends and co-workers did that. Some of them got them, some didn’t, and even those who did often moved around, as consolidation and the changes in the legal and financial services industries eliminated jobs.
I was offered the chance to move to a successor of the small law firm I had worked for before going in-house, and it seemed like a good opportunity. Ultimately, though, I was not happy, and left to start my own practice. I worked as a solo practitioner, in a home office. I learned how to set up all of the technology needed, do my accounting and bookkeeping, and how to practice law without paralegals, associates, mail room and copy guys, etc. And I learned how to try to get business.
It was fun being my own boss, working in casual clothing, being able to work at my own pace, watch TV or listen to music, or cook, or do errands during the day without answering to anyone.
But most importantly, I learned two things. First, although I thought that it had been beaten out of me, I actually really like being a lawyer. Taking control of my practice forced me to realize that it can be a fascinating job, and it forces me to think, which is great. Unfortunately, the second thing that I learned is that I’m not great at getting business. Over the past few years, I’ve been applying for in-house and law firm jobs, to get regular income.
Back in November, I connected with a good litigation firm in White Plains that needed some help, and enjoyed working with them. For various reasons, rather than offer me a full time position, the firm offered me an office in their suite, with a promise to refer to me work that it wasn’t interested in, or to work on cases with me that made sense for collaboration. I accepted the office, and for a few weeks now, I’ve been working from a non-home office for the first time in almost six years. And that has been a big change, but one that I think will be a good one. Even though it will cut into my cooking and TV watching.
I suspect, also, that it will cut into my writing, but we will have to see. But regardless, I’m going to make a change, to reflect the reality of what I have been writing on this blog. Although it was originally designed to be an outlet for me to write about music untethered to the Star Maker Machine theme, or the Cover Me focus on cover songs, I’ve found myself writing here about politics, TV, family, and other issues, while always shoehorning in a song. And I think that one of the reasons why I haven’t written more here (other than because it’s Trump’s fault), is that music has become less important in my daily life, and I think of this as a music blog.
Henceforth, Another Old Guy will continue to be my outlet to write about whatever the hell I want, but without the “pressure” of having a music focus. I’ll still try to work music into my posts, but I’m changing the tag line from “writing about music” to “writing about whatever.” And there will be other cosmetic changes here on on the Facebook page, to reflect the shift.
Not only is David Bowie’s “Changes” a good song to use for this post because of its title, but also because of its message of personal and artistic (professional?) reinvention. Of course, Bowie is regularly referred to as a chameleon, as a result of all of the different images and styles that he went through during his career. Bowie, however, rejected this characterization, stating: “I’ve always felt bemused at being called the chameleon of rock. Doesn’t a chameleon exert tremendous energy to become indistinguishable from its environment?” As we lawyers might say, this is a distinction on other grounds.
It also happens to be a great song, which started off as a parody of a nightclub song, but became much more, and despite not charting on its original release, has become one of Bowie’s most popular and most honored song. In addition to singing, Bowie played the sax, Mick Ronson (whose guitar playing I recently discussed here) contributed the string arrangements and Mellotron, and the piano part was played by Rick Wakeman, just before he joined Yes.
Here’s to hoping that the changes here, and in my life, end up even a fraction as successful as the song.