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Old 7th December 2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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Default Seeking Career Advice

Good morning everyone,
I wanted to post this in one of the speaker forums, but in all reality, this is most likely where it belongs. I know we have a lot of professionals that frequent this forum and I can't think of a better place to pose this question where both pros and DIYers might be able to offer some input.

To make the extremely long story shorter, lets just say that I am slowly losing my mind in a dead end job currently and want to get back to doing something I truly love.

I love music. Specifically, I love anything that makes sound. That's pretty broad so let me explain a little more. When I was about 9 years old I started playing the clarinet. Then I moved on to the Piano, then keyboards, then guitar. I eventually learned to play a little alto sax, trumpet, and even a flute for a while. If I think hard, I believe I learned a few more instruments in there somewhere too. I was good enough with the clarinet by highschool to play in the all-state band jazz quartet. By college, i had stopped playing all of these. I moved out on my own and realized that I wasn't talented enough to be a performer of any merit, but I dearly loved it still. A freind had gotten me interested in car audio and while in college, I had a job as an installer at Circuit City. I moved on to Best Buy for a short stint before a great opportunity opened up for me. My father bought a stereo and custom shop in Myrtle Beach SC and I was asked to run it. I was 18, bright eyed and pretty stupid. The first few years were rough. I took a job at Electric Avenue to save the store enough money to forego my paycheck. A year or so later I won a huge account that got the shop moving. We made a ton of money with it and I got to do what I loved for the next 5 or so years. I didn't get to do everything I wanted, but I truly enjoyed working with R&D people from several manufacturers like Rockford Fosgate, Soundstream, Kicker, and various other car audio companies. My biggest projects included several competition vehicles that went to the IASCA world finals shows in 1997 and 98 and working with Audio Art to develop several new products and demo vehicles.

Unfortunately, my father and grandmother fell ill in 1999. She passed away leaving a ton of medical bills and my dad's illnesses were racking up literally millions of dollars (no insurance as we were both diabetic and the costs were just unreal). Between several bad business decisions on his part (I was unaware of them), some gambling, and a prescription drug addiction, he ran the store into bankruptcy. In 2001 and early 2002, we had to abandon ship. In 2003 my father passed away leaving me with all of the debt. I filed bankruptcy in 2004 and literally gave up everything I had.

Over the last 5 years I have worked with a couple of stores, but was never paid enough to do anything worthwhile. I realized that the industry just isn't the same any more. I started doing computer work and this is why I am here today. I have now held jobs as IT support, database administration, Corporate accountant, and currently I am in a cubicle farm as an Account Manager for UPS. While my vast experience and skill set make me uniquely qualified for a lot of office jobs, I am so miserable doing them that I contemplate going postal about once a week!

I want back into the music and sound industry more than I can say. I have worked with several speaker designers over the years and offered my input (and seen it taken, developed and sold) but I get nothing from these efforts to help. I have built and designed quite a few home theaters large and small and love this work as well. I am great with wood working. I am good with electronics, but my main strength is in research and development. I am a problem solver. I enjoy working with computer problems and even database work, but want to do something where my efforts are towards the sound industry. I need to be in that environment and I know it.

So I am wondering if anyone here, pro or no, has any suggestions for what I might be able to do? I have applied with companies like Harman and Pioneer, but they won't even take my resume because of the bakruptcy. I live in SC and would be willing to relocate, but I have a house I bought 18 months ago that will be extremely hard to sell. I am married with no children. I have no degree, but enough classroom hours to qualify for a .PHD. None of which matter compared to my certifications in audio, security, and my accomplishments in the industry.

Everybody please pitch in here and make me some offers of advice. Maybe tell me who I could call and what specific positions I might be able to do. I don't need $100K a year. I barely make half that now. If I could be happy with my job, a pay cut isn't any problem at all. I would even do accounting work for a sound comapny if it just got me back in the business. (I would prefer computer work and much prefer design work but hey I am begging).

Let me know what you guys have.

Thanks for any help or advice you can offer!

Take care,
Robert
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Old 8th December 2008, 06:43 AM   #2
BERENO is offline BERENO  United States
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I dont have much in the way of help, but at least this will put it back up top for you lol.

is starting your own business out of the question? Getting a loan in your name would be impossible with the bankruptcy on your file, but were you married at the time? If not, your wife could sign the loan and name you as the president of the company. Assuming the bank went along with this scheme.

If that cannot work, I would say go back to your older references in the industry and become a paid consultant. This would generate money, but you could eventually go into business with yourself with not money down for a loan.

If neither of those work, i say become an accountant for a firm in the industry and try and get your foot in the door. Thats all you could probably do then.

Sorry that I dont have any people to talk to but I hope these ideas help at least somewhat... best of luck
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Old 8th December 2008, 11:27 AM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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I suspect that your lack of luck with Harman or other big companies has far more to do with the lack of a degree than any bankruptcy. HR departments have check boxes, and the degree is one of them. I"d do everything I could to get that piece of paper, preferably two (MBA and BSEE/BSME).

That said, audio hardware in the US is a dying industry. There are niches for entrepreneurs, but for engineering/development/manufacturing, it's rapidly going overseas where labor rates are significantly lower.
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Old 8th December 2008, 11:51 AM   #4
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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I know of a job where your lack of a degree, bankrupcy etc will not matter, just a degree of aptitude in electronics and computing skills. But it's not in the audio business.......

On the up side, the pay is reasonable, about 150 days off per year...

PM me if you're interested and I will mail you more details and a contact number. Oh, it's USA (Houston) based but you "work from home."

Andy
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Old 8th December 2008, 12:23 PM   #5
impsick is offline impsick  United States
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UPS... damn you weren't lying about going postal

All i can say is you just have to do what you love doing. Even if that means starting your own thing. Like they say, "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself". An example... you could advertise in the papers and web(website) as "custom home theater and studio designer" or what not. It might start slow but it could take off.
But i have to agree your lack of degree will hold you back from getting a descent job. Maybe you should get some certificates at some electronic/tech schools.
Anyways, good luck.
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Old 8th December 2008, 02:28 PM   #6
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thanks for the encouragment guys,

I didn't mention all the certificates I have. I do have 9 certificates in anything from sales to installation and development with Car Audio companies, security, home theater and automation. Without the BS or BA degree, I am pretty much told the same thing. "All things being equal, we have to give it to the guy with the peice of paper". Unfortunately all things are never equal and the peice of paper makes it so.
Actually when I applied at Harman, I was friends with the (at the time) CEO and he took my resume and then got back to me. My credit was bad at the time and it was before my bankruptcy. He told me they wouldn't even look at the resume because of that. Same thing with pioneer except no friends in high places. I didn't bother applying to others at the time. I might have to go back and re-visit that idea with other companies.

I would love to work for myself again. I have customers in the area who have already offered to let me get started doing their HTs and electronics. I have most of the tools I need, but unfortunately I don't have the capital to last however long it might take to get off the ground. That is why I have stayed here so long. I keep putting money in the bank and the prospect is getting better, but the economy is so slow and like others have said, the industry is moving away from the custom work etc. Too many boxes of goodies out there for most. I am not afraid to start building speakers and marketing them online, but I don't want to step on the toes of other companies I have been helping for so many years. That relationship means a lot to me.

There are people here I would dearly love to work with if for no other reason than to be apprentice to someone with so much experience and knowledge. As much as I have, I could definitely be an asset, but without the customers spending money on the products, it doesn't much matter how good I am. lol

Thanks for the ideas and the solid advice. At this point, I think I am just at an impass in my own job and probably need to look for other avenues. Audio might not be where I go, but I have to get out of my current position. There is an attitude of "it is what it is" that one can only take for so long. Especially when emotions dictate the behavior of your immediate supervisors. And that is only worse when you have more experience doing that person's job than they do. That is where I am today. I like the paycheck and I like the work, but it has gotten personal and I can't do anything about it. So here I am looking for employment in the worst economy in years. lol I have such great timing.

Take care everybody!

Robert
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Old 10th December 2008, 11:30 PM   #7
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Default Seeking advice...

Robert:

I am a first time poster. I registered just to respond to your request. I know it is difficult for you. I can make two suggestions. You can take them how you wish.

(Point 1 was removed by a mod due to it's religious nature)

2) You need to spend some money, and get a ticket to Las Vegas; You need to get into the CES show.

3) Have a portfolio and resume' ready to go, and have it on CD as well (.pdf files). Take throat losenges with you.

Be prepared to meet with a lot of people, and hit every company like a nail gun on balsa wood... Get business cards... connections, use a palm pilot or whatever. Make contact with foreign companies (China/India) as well.

Consider all and any positions they may be seeking.

Good Luck!

Aram
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Old 10th December 2008, 11:33 PM   #8
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Aram,

We have a no politics, no religion policy here. I removed your first point for that reason. Hopefully the rest will be good advice for Robert.
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Old 12th December 2008, 05:37 AM   #9
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Nothing to do with audio, but, take a 2 year diploma course and become a civil engineering technologist. While construction may be in poor shape right now, local governments seem to have regular needs for civil engineering techs. It could be a good option for someone who wants to relocate to a smaller city or town. I'm not sure exactly what a civil engineering tech does... review plans? carry out the fiendish bidding of civil engineers and local governments? Probably some stomping around building sites in gumboots as well as office work.

But, yeah, what Count Tubeula said. There must be some pro audio/lighting trade shows too.

And use the Yellow pages, internet listings, whatever, to compile a list of every sound-related company (theaters too) within a couple days drive. Then try knocking on doors; if they don't invite you in for a chat or a tour, at least get a name and follow up with a fax or email. I had way more success with that approach than just replying to ads; 3 days of driving and knocking got me 2 1/2 offers, and that was fresh out of school and during a recession.
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Old 8th January 2009, 07:29 AM   #10
gtoomey is offline gtoomey  Australia
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Here's a few suggestions

1. start an ebay store, start importing & selling. You can find anything at alibaba http://www.alibaba.com/catalogs/502/..._Supplies.html
2. Consider starting a niche bricks-and-mortar store. There is only one store in my city that sells audiopipe car products, its full with young revheads wanting to spend.
3. get education,go back to school even if part time
4. get some experience with pro equipment. Help out at festivals etc in the audio booth.
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