In Iain M Banks’s rather wonderful ‘Culture’ science fiction novels (as opposed to the often frankly upsetting supposedly non-genre books published without the M), there is a sort of future-hippie offshoot of the central civilisation (arguably by characterised by such advanced technology that there is no need as such for any life-form to do anything any more) which calls itself the AhForgetIt Tendency.
This morning, I went through one of those rounds of getting a round robin email about a last-minute music job; getting excited and sending off a sky-aiming offer to play it; waiting in elevated nervousness; and hearing nothing back. Under the circumstances and knowing how common the experience is as a rookie jobbing musician, Tending more towards AhForgetIt would seem like a good piece of self-protection.
Except, of course, that you need those jobs to progress. Some of the outside chances working out is largely how you get some wider experience, a better-looking CV, people to hire you back, more of a flow of work. You can’t afford to ignore them unless you’re already getting as much and as good ‘quality’ work as you need.
And of course if you want any of them to work out, then you have to really sell yourself putting yourself forward for them. No good sending off a form email with the name at the top changed and generic information, 36 hours after their ‘last minute left in the lurch’ search started; it has to be tailored, appropriate and enthusiastic, at least to all appearances to the reader that won’t know you, the individual.
So the decision to really engage and throw your effort into each roll of the dice is necessary to make it worth rolling at all. But then avoiding riding an emotional rollercoaster every time you have a work-related email demands being relaxed about the strong likelihood of never getting anything from the application from the point you send it off.
It’s like, in order to both progress your career and preserve your sanity, you have to care loads about your applications and not at all about their outcomes. Several times a week at least.
No wonder creatives have a reputation for being flaky unstable bundles of emotion.