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This is how you're going to reach out and get a hold of me unless you already know me, in which case... why are you here, just pick up the phone. 

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Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Just a little corner of the interwebz where I occasionally jot down a thought or two. Why do I do it? Partly to communicate in some way with you, the reader, and partly because it's some sad way of leaving a legacy of some kind I guess.

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Ramblings

it's complicated

Jonathan Tom

Today a magician friend of mine, Ryan Joyce, who is also Canadian (#GoCanada), put out a new video that I found really resonated with me. While his video is specifically about being a performer traveling for a living I found that I related to it all the same being one of the people who supports these performers on a day to day basis.

Enough from me though, have a look and tell me what you think.

ends and beginnings

Jonathan Tom

Many of my friends are spending the day today reflecting on the past year and making plans for next year. Was this last year pretty awesome? Yes. Will next year be better? Yes. Is today any different than yesterday? Not really. Actually, that's incorrect - today is probably one of the first New Year's Eve celebrations that I will not be working in quite a long time so I guess it is special. 

Does this mean that there shouldn't be goals for the next 12 months? No, of course not, there should always be goals both for yourself and for others and how they interact with your life. I recently read an article on Bandit Dimmer Beach  entitled "Two Words That Can Destroy Your Career" and I felt that I should share it. Now, while this article is written by and for entertainment technicians, it can apply to just about anyone. If you enjoy this read then I highly recommend following Mark.

This week I want to start with not one, but two definitions.

Complacency: A feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to make them better.

Entitlement: The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).

Today I will challenge you: I will challenge you to be better and to get better. Before you do that, though, I have to - as they say in boot camp -  break you down.

 

 You are not irreplaceable.

You are not special.

You are not God's gift to the touring universe.

 

You are part of a crew and you can be expunged at a moment's notice.

Wait! Before you stop reading and vow never to come back, let me clarify this. I am not saying that you are not supremely talented at what you do, or that you bring things to your job that others cannot. What I am saying is there are other people out there that can do your job, and want to do your job. Will they be as good at your job as you? In some ways, probably yes. In other ways, probably no. But none of that matters if they have your job and you no longer do.

Let's go back to my two words for the week.

Entitlement: This is a tricky word for our business. ... Just because you work on the biggest tours or shows your company has doesn't mean you get special treatment. It doesn't mean you get to walk into your shop late, or not loom cable, or not put clamps on fixtures. You have a job to do just like everyone else, and there are always people that are willing to work their asses off to get those bigger tours and bigger shows.

There are some people that have earned the right to be given more choices in the shop. Maybe they won't be putting clamps on fixtures all day, or maybe they won't be delooming so a as often as some other people do. Again, they have earned that. (NOTE: They will do it when asked, though. Remember that.)

Compacency: A feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to make them better.

 

If you think you have done something perfectly... You are wrong.

If you think no one can do your job better than you... You are wrong.

If you think this load-in, show, etc. can never get any better or faster... You are wrong.

 

If you think any of the above, then it's time to start looking for a new gig because you aren't growing in your job and your skills will slowly begin to erode.

Just like entitlement above, once you get complacent, you leave yourself open to those around you to start creeping in and taking the gigs you once got.

 

Now, I offer you this challenge:

Get better.

Be better.

Never stop trying.

Never stop learning.

mic drop

Jonathan Tom

Well, it's come and gone. The end of another contract has passed and now, as I sit here on an obnoxiously long flight from Sydney to San Francisco with nothing to do but ponder and avoid the dude in the middle seat slumping over onto me in his sleep, I think it's a good time to reflect on the contract. Joining the ship six months ago in Vancouver it was a nice short flight from Ottawa to an itinerary I was familiar with on a ship I had been on before; I saw some old friends and made a few new ones.

The cast and crew of Ever After. 

The cast and crew of Ever After. 

I think most crew members will agree with me when I say that it is, one hundred percent, the people you work with and not the vessel or even the guests who make the contract successful.  In a world that is, I imagine, similar to very touristy big cities such as New York or Las Vegas, it is definitely an us versus them feeling. This is not to portray the guests as our enemy; they are, after all, the sole reason we are there but the truth is that we are there working for them and so while they are our guests, the crew are our family.

While it was awesome to have a contract that saw me travel from the glaciers of Alaska to the Sounds of New Zealand, in roughly nineteen hours I will be home in my condo for a few days before leaving for my next adventure which we'll cover in another post and I won't lie, I'm very much looking forward to not having to be "on" anytime I step out of my room at least for a little while.

quiet hours

Jonathan Tom

There are points in every contract where you want nothing more than a day off just to recharge the batteries as it were but this is usually impossible given the nature of he beast. There are always guests to keep fed, entertained, or otherwise occupied doing things onboard and ashore.

Every now and then, however, fortune smiles upon you and you end up in a situation where you get to have a few quiet hours. This cruise, for example, I'm handing over the position to a guy who is pretty experienced and has happily taken over pretty much everything starting on the second or third day of the trip.

As you can imagine, this has given me quite a bit of down time. Today I slept until eleven in the morning, ordered room service for lunch, watched a couple of films, and generally spoke to absolutely no one all day - it was glorious. Granted, this isn't exactly an every day occurrence but it is one that I will seize when available.

Tomorrow, I'll go into Wellington to enjoy my last time there in the foreseeable future... After our general emergency drill of course. I've done all the touristy stuff I want to do in that city so I'm going to be boring and sit in a cafe with a couple of friends, sip coffee, abuse the wireless internet, and maybe venture over to my little crepe place before heading back to the ship.