in step

I’m taking it back a bit with this post. Back to a time that seems so long ago. Things were simple then. Children played in the street. We went out to eat. I’d lean in to hear a secret from our favorite bartender without fear of contracting the dreaded C word.

We’re taking it back to November 2019.

I know, but stay with me for a bit.

Back in November, I sat in on a board meeting call where each participant had to give the title of “their book”. It didn’t specify what type of book it would be. Most people, myself included, titled their autobiography. I think that’s natural. Maybe 2 out of 30 people gave the title of a fictional novel. Had my brain gone there when the assignment came out, I might have slept easier prior to he meeting, but instead I lay away the night before, trying to come up with my title.

I think this was a sneaky game of karma.

You see, it’s one of my interview questions I ask before every 1st round interview (my 2nd round starts with, so, let’s go back to that autobiography you told us about in the 1st interview… a major network has picked it up to turn it into a sitcom… so what’s your theme song – I can go into the science behind that question another time). I suppose it was only fair that I had to answer it this time.

I landed on To Be Late… in reference to the many lessons I learned in marching band that can be applied to just about any part of my professional life. Also, yes, it’s gross that I made up a fake self-help book. I’ve read my fair share of those books and have yet to find one that REALLY speaks to me in some deep, profession altering way.

This came up last night when I was emailed to remind someone about the subject of that title. I suppose some notes are being made, or maybe someone was just curious if perhaps I had an issue with being late (which I don’t, I’m almost always early and those of you know get the reference, know that the right thing to be). My brain started wandering, as it’s known to do, and I started to think about how relevant most thing I learned in marching band really are to my professional life.

Obvious things like teamwork and staying in step and playing in rhythm/tune/harmony/etc… yes, yes, all of those are good things. But I think it can go deeper than that. Drum majors you dislike but have to follow = team leaders that make you cringe. Band directors as dictators vs. band directors as friends = you know, good boss, bad boss and all. Having to wear wool blend uniforms even though it was the last thing you wanted to put on for a 103 degree football game = unreasonable dress codes. Cheering on the team until the end even if they are losing = basically, any time you have to play cheerleader to an idea at work that isn’t taking the lead… just yet.

Maybe the first chapter is titled In Step and starts off with a bossy cymbal player yelling down the line to get in step, stay in line, look to their left as they were about to turn onto a new street and the last thing they need to be is the line that couldn’t handle a turn in a parade. No intro, just setting the scene. Also, one of my favorite pastimes is shaking my head at marching bands participating in important parades totally failing at making the corner and cheering way more than I should at the ones who NAIL the corners each and every time. Lots of bands can play a great song while standing in front of the grandstands, but those corners can make or break a band.

Really, I could go on. Maybe there is a book in there somewhere.

Yes, even a gross, self-help book.

Anyways, thought I’d jot this down before it left me completely.

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