Monday, February 20, 2017



Every company has two organizational structures; the first and formal one that is published, presenting flow charts complete with a stiff-lined human hierarchy, individual embellished job descriptions, and abstract mission statements; and the second and informal one, the actual animated day-to-day and recurring relationships amongst the drones and worker bees buzzing around their honeycombed cubicles.
Any work-smart person knows that interpersonal relationships are everything.  In Corporate America the dollar value of any company is completely dependent upon interpersonal relationships that are fundamentally established both within and without the company.

I shall begin this Yin-Yang oneversation contrasting corporate (formal) and corporal (informal) company policies.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company,” said Mark Twain.  Except the company he was referring to were the people in his social surrounding, rather than the abstract notion of a company.  I particularly like this line because I’m writing about those people who go to Hell for the abstract notion, oftentimes sacrificing the people within the social circle, the very corporal company they should be keeping, and I’m writing about those people who always seem to be in a Heaven of sorts, and those would be the buskers.

Company Hell is always because of company policy, because company policy is that expectation MANAGEMENT has for EMPLOYEES.  Company policy conducts work expectations, conflicts of interests, and consumer relationships.

Abstract company (corporate) policy dictates physical appearance and dress code. All employees must be clean and well-groomed.  Clothing must be work appropriate, and all clothing must avoid stamps that are deemed offensive.  A corporate compromise does come to mind: Casual Fridays being one of the few compromises.  

Both abstract (corporation) and concrete (corporal) company policy dictate behavior.  Both abstract and concrete company demand compromise.  Abstract company policy insists that all employees must comply with environmental and safety laws.  Interpersonal real people company policy dictates that employees must demonstrate respect for their colleagues, which includes discriminatory behavior, harassment, or victimization.  Company policy dictates what types of intertwined personal and professional relationships with consumers are acceptable.

Company policy also protects company property and dictates the use of equipment.  Company policy strictly regulates the use of organizational assets for personal activities or personal gain.
So much for my prelude on abstract and concrete, on corporate assets and corporal acquaintances – it is time now my notions on company policy as it relates to gigging and busking.

While gigging one is obliged to adhere to company (corporate) policy; while busking one is obliged to adhere to company (corporal) policy.  Not adhering to company (corporate) policy while gigging will result in termination; while, not adhering to company (corporal) policy while busking will result in a serious shortfall (of tossed coin).

Company policy when gigging and busker involves integrity, communication, and discipline.
When a performer signs up for a gig there are some formal obligations.  Show up on time (being also a courtesy for the professional doing the sound-check), have a polished stage performance with designed play-list, and be pleasant and cordial with the company staff. 

BUSHWAKKER BREW PUB (in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) is a pub where I have had lots of gigs.  Being somewhat of a tradition now, this is my typical behavior for these gigs.  I always show up an hour ahead of show time, and chat with the sound person.  I’ve been on the Bushwakker stage enough times that I actually know the sound person will be either Curtis or Tyson.  I treat these guys with total respect because first, they are really sincere individuals.  They know their sound and their professional purpose is to bring out the best sound in me

Also, because of the frequent familiarity, I know the bar managers and servers.  Necessarily, as familiar strangers, I know all their names and am always friendly to all of them.  I am never demanding and they always treat me royally.

Here is my gigging shtick at Bushwakkers.  I get four formal gig contracts per year.  In every contract I have the proviso to recruit anyone I’ve deemed qualified to share my stage, which typically has been other guitar slinging singer-songwriters.  These contracts at the BUSHWAKKER BREW PUB insist on two hours of stage performance.  Sometimes I recruit just one other guitar slinger, sometimes I recruit a half dozen; whatever the case, at the end of the evening I simply divide the profits accordingly. 

The highlight of gigging is the sharing of new original songs with my guitar mates and audience members.  Sharing contract free brews and telling guitar stories around the table with my stage mates is, too, another attraction.  

For the most part, the only time I see these other singer-songwriters is at such gigs.  This is by my design.  I am never even pretending to be in a band at gigs.  We each do our own thing.  When there are just two of us sharing the stage, we simply take turns singing our own songs.  When there are more than two guitar-slingers, I simply block off stage times, allotting so many minutes for each solo performance.  Having four singular singer-songwriters each owning the stage for thirty minutes seems to the winning formula thus far. 

For gigs over the years I’ve learned to recruit only those singer-songwriters that for reasons whatever, I’ve learned to trust.  In the past, but not anymore, I’ve had people show up late, people not show up at all, people complain that they cannot enjoy free food as well as the free beer (only free beer in the company contract).  I’ve had performers complain to the sound person, and have experienced performers just being difficult.  In a word, they are ass-holes.

These difficult ones are confusing their company duties, mixing up corporate with corporal.  Gigging is definitely a corporate contract, and demands compromise.

Busking, on the other hand, demands not the same sense of corporate compromise.  Busking demands only an informal personal and moral compromise.  To be good at busking it helps to be solid with your moral principles.  For example, busking at theatre and funeral lines (both captive audiences) is not cool.  Infringing on the territory of other buskers is not cool.  Store-front busking without vendor permission is not cool.  You get the point.

Busking does involve strong communication skills, but not in the same sense as those necessary in gigging.  Busking has one definite advantage:  You don’t have to talk; you just have to nod your head as a thank-you and strum, or strum and sing as the case may be.

And busking does demand discipline, but it’s only self-discipline.  If you dilly dally you get little coin. Unlike a gig, if you don’t show you’re terminating yourself.  It’s that simple.  The more you strum, the more money you make.        

Going to Heaven for the climate and going to Hell for the company, I’m still doing both.  I busk in warmer climes, but still put in long hours for my contract counseling work.

When I express company policy as Yin-Yang I am meaning I’ve a doppelganger need for company both corporate and corporal.  Gigging gives me the necessary corporate angst so that I really appreciate busking.   As for gigging and busking, I cannot quit either one because …

                IT’S THE COMPANY I KEEP!





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