The good, the bad, and the best things

I often find myself telling people that one of the most satisfying aspects of playing in my quartet is the comfort I get in knowing that everything that has our name attached to it comes from a place of good. And quite frankly, if that weren’t the case, I’d be out the door faster than you could say thatsnevergoingtohappen. So I often wonder how other people do it. You know, work without the best intentions.

It’s true. In order for anyone to do anything, there must be some kind of incentive. Familiar to most young musicians might be, taking out a loan for your education or instrument, practicing hard so you can improve, or just simply working hard at something because you love what you do. It’s not always about money, thank god.

I recently went on a date with a successful business guy with an MBA and all that fancy stuff. I suppose not shockingly, he looked at everything from an ultra businessey point of few, even when we talked about life. It was both fascinating and kinda…..scary! Ha, so I took the opportunity to ask him the basics about “running a business” (as I have often found it hilarious that I “run” a non-profit and have two degrees in music). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Q has devoted time and energy to each stupid jargony-titled department you’d find in any business.

Okay, so our business is modeled similarly to a lot of other ones out there. Fine. But I’d argue we’re not much like each other, and not just because we make music, and they make office supplies. It has to do with our intentions. If we didn’t love each other, and love you, and subsequently try to treat everyone with respect and warmth, you wouldn’t come to our concerts, because we’d probably sound really bad, and it wouldn’t feel good. I believe that how people are treated directly impacts the quality of their work.

It’s really cool to me that there are actually several big companies out there that have been recognized for their “put the employee” first mentality. I’ve been a loyal Trader Joe’s shopper for over two years now, not just because it’s cheap, but because something about going there feels good. Trader Joes’ employees have incredibly low turnover, and high loyalty levels, which shows. In an article highlighting the ideal working conditions at Trader Joe’s, Jen Lewis writes that “Employees stay because Trader Joe’s has created a culture of success: an environment in which everyone does the same job at one time or another and a place where people’s opinions are respected and talents are nurtured.” AMEN. Treating people with love and respect is working! Actions driven by a sense of good are prevailing, and it’s so refreshing. It matters, and people are noticing.

So maybe the next time you’re thinking about how much bigger you’d like your paycheck to be, think instead about the boss that actually acknowledges and appreciates all of your hard work, the co-workers that nurture the things about you that make you, you, and the colleagues who inspire you everyday.