Every day I give each alert a cursory glance, then delete the message.
* * *
Back when I was attempting to enter the nonacademic workforce for the first time, I picked up a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute. There were all kinds of exercises and worksheets designed to help you figure out what to do with your life. Alas, none of them provided any clues—at least none that I could decipher.
If the book couldn't tell me what career I should pursue, however, it contained great advice about how to get a job. The nugget of wisdom that stuck with me: Classified ads are a sucker's game. Everybody uses the classifieds. Apply for a position that's posted there, and you're competing with hundreds of other desperate seekers for the same slot.
The alternative? Cold-calling. Grab your phone book (this was when people still used phone books), contact every single company that you might want to work for, and ask if there are any positions available.
It sounded crazy. After all, if a company wanted to hire someone, wouldn't they be advertising?
Not necessarily, said Parachute. Many employers intend to create a position one of these days, but they're busy and don't make it a priority ... until an interested potential employee falls into their lap. Creating the position for real becomes a much more attractive prospect if they can bypass the whole advertising/interviewing/weeding-out process.
Most companies that aren't advertising really aren't hiring. But the strategy works. I've gotten one or two jobs that way.
* * *
Every day, Sonicbids sends me a second e-mail with the subject heading "Today's Last Chances." As you might guess, these are notices for previous alerts whose deadlines are fast approaching.
Every day I think, There can't be anything too exciting here. If there were, I would have set it aside the first time around. Then again, I know I didn't look that closely ...
After a brief moment of discomfort, I delete the message.
* * *
I don't know how many musicians get these alerts. My guess is, too many. It's the classifieds all over again. Better to create our own opportunities than to spend a lot of time competing with every other Sonicbids member in our genre.
So why do I bother with these at all? Why don't I simply unsubscribe?
I haven't had the guts.
Maybe someday they'll send something that's perfect for us. What if we miss our biggest, best opportunity because I shut the door on the classifieds option forever?
At some point I will either actually submit for one of these gigs or I will gather my courage and opt out. Until then, approximately 15 seconds of every day will be wasted in the service of not burning our bridges.