The NAMM Show & How I Landed A Job At Meinl Cymbals
“You absolutely will not find a job and you should really consider just staying in school”
Sounds like weird advice coming from one of your business college professors, especially upon graduating and having spent tens of thousands of dollars on a 4 year degree…but here I was.
Fresh off the heels of the financial crisis and pretty much clueless about it, I was about to graduate college and my professors were giving us fair warning that it might be tough to find a job.
During college, I played and built drums for fun and I had some friends on the east coast who built drums for a living, called SJC Drums. They offered me a free badge to get into the biggest music trade show in the world called NAMM, located nicely in Anaheim, California and just a quick 15 minute drive from my college campus in Pomona. This industry only event has most every single company that creates music products in the world. All instruments, all genres, all everything.
I mentioned to my parents that I was going to NAMM and my Dad said, “Hey, you should bring your resume with you and give it to a few companies you would want to work for. They’ll be there, right? Get after it.”
Get after it. I wish I could say that I was a hard working, grinding it out, working and studying way too many hours per week and beating all odds to make something of myself type of person, but I wasn’t. I was an oblivious 21 year old college student who was just taking things one day at a time, but wanted to do something with music. What exactly? I didn’t know, was I supposed to know?! I had toured but didn’t like that. I had worked at a record label but didn’t like that. I had built drums but didn’t want to do that full time. But opportunity was about to be within reach, and I knew I couldn’t stay still.
Taking things very seriously, obviously!
I ended up giving my resume out to 10 different drum related companies. It was actually pretty easy, I would just walk up and say that I’m a college student about to graduate in 5 months, looking for an opportunity to work in the music industry. Most people were nice and would take my resume. A few didn’t care, but I just took it to mean that I wouldn’t like working for them anyway.
Then I got to the Meinl Cymbals booth. I walked up and talked to a guy and said, “Hey, I’m about to graduate college and want to work for you guys. Here’s my resume. Who can I talk to?”, and he pointed me in the direction of a guy in a suit. I thought he was way too formal but ok. I told him again what I was looking to do and he said thanks and that he’d give it to his HR guy and be in touch if they were interested. I thanked him for his time and asked for a card so I could follow up. He gave me his card. Turns out, I had been talking to the President of Meinl Cymbals.
^ is all I thought, and super relieved that he didn’t tell me that BEFORE we started talking. Ok, this was serious.
This was in January. I graduated in June and spent that summer in Seattle, going into prisons and the homeless community with 25 people I had never met before to give hope and learn a lot about myself and my relationship with God.
During that summer I got an email. From Pearl Drums. They were interested and were hoping to work something out! Could I move to Nashville? - Uhh, sure! Could I work for free? Hmm, maybe, but how would I eat? They ended up not offering me a job. Not a big deal to me, to be honest. I knew something would come around or figure itself out. I was just excited they even remembered me.
I was about 2 weeks away from coming home from Seattle when I got another email. From Meinl Cymbals. Asking if I would be interested in a 6 month paid internship that may or may not turn into an actual job in Nashville starting whenever I want? I asked if they wanted to interview me at all? No, they said, just let us know if you want it or not. My next question was, can I wear a nose ring? I was thinking about getting my nose pierced. No problem, they said.
My White Scion, fondly named Bessy, was/is my ride or die through many adventures.
So I took it. I freakin took it! From there, I found a place to live and an awesome roommate, on Craig’s List (crazy, right?!). I took two of my best friends and had them drive with me from California to Tennessee, then Tennessee to Florida, then back to Tennessee (it was a lot of driving). I got my nose pierced. I started working at Meinl, a dream job for me, and learned a lot. Like how, apparently it’s important to be on time to work? This half hispanic Californian had no clue. And I lived in Nashville, the music city. It was awesome.
After I had worked at Meinl for a bit and noticed there were no other interns I asked, “Hey, how come you chose me to work here? I’m sure a bunch of other people gave you their resumes or want a job here?”
The President of Meinl said, “There’s only one other person that gave us their resume. And you gave us yours first.”
Now, years later, I’m going back to the same convention (NAMM 2020). But will be there with a company I started (Full Circle Co.) and I’m just as equally nervous, excited and hopeful as I was back when I was handing out my resume during a time that I “absolutely will not find a job”.