I spend a lot of time and energy reminiscing about my performing life, my time at Juilliard, and WCC and on stage... I am proud of my singing, and my family and my name/brand "vatenor". I consider my work in churches and with choirs over the last few decades and I aspire to be better.
I watch my friends disparage corporate america and I am sickened by the hypocrisy. Perhaps, it arises from a lack of experience and real world perspective. Here is mine: I am THANKFUL for my friends, and relationships and experiences and for my opportunities INSIDE Capital One, and Cisco, and with so many fine fine people. Those companies provided me chances, allowed me opportunities and encouraged me. Those companies are filled with AMAZING PEOPLE and with plenty of questionable people. The reality is that companies are made up of people.
Enough with the high minded, condemnation of corporate america. It is wrong. It is just as easy to condemn churches, universities, and even small businesses as predatory... I can write the narrative. The sword cuts both ways.
The big difference seems to be that successful companies focus on, and passionately care for their employees. In my experience, way back in the 20th century, that was not the case in performing world, academia, not as a student, not even as a young aspiring minister. As a performer I was one step above slave labor... expected to dance and sing on queue, with little to no respect for my artistry and skill. More often than not I felt exploited, and abused... and I was EXPECTED to just take it because that was the way it is... I contrast that with the nurturing and caring examples of some of my finest mentors in corporate America and the reality is stunning. All too often, those "EVIL" companies took care of me and my family. They paid me, they trained me, they allowed me to fail and gave me second chances. Above all I was RESPECTED. That is key I think. Respect followed with money, and security... and practice, not just rhetoric and facade and optics.
Today, I am the man and leader that I am because of those opportunities. The roles that I play were not written for me. I lived them, and continue to live them. There are good days and bad days, but on THIS day.. I am thankful to GOD for providing me a career path and opportunities to work in environments surrounded by great people. They work hard, they compete, they win, and they lose. We do it together. We work hard and we play hard. Ultimately, my choices are mine. The accountability is mine for success and failure. I wonder how my life might be different if I had stayed on the path of performer instead of family. It matters not, my journey to date is set. My future is filled with opportunity just as it always was. How will I choose? I do not know.
I give thanks for this day, this year, and for the opportunities to pursue many more ahead.