This one is more going out to prospective audio engineers. Much of us need a day job while getting started and are likely transitioning from a steady job after acquiring enough equipment-that-works to do the job and people interested in you doing said job. I wasn’t so lucky. I didn’t get a degree in this and I was living in New York while I was learning and often worked in restaurants to get by. I still do because it’s the opposite of engineering and I don’t like to stay in one place for too much time.

Learning about other crafts is important. If one can understand different prospectives one can bring advances from other fields into their own. While most musicians don’t expect to be waited on having the prospective of providing good service, finishing things up and finalizing the bill is quite helpful for working in the audio industry where it is expected as a baseline when waiting tables.

Making cocktails is nuanced and sensory. There are rules but it is also an artform and ultimately subjective. Sometimes cocktails become etched in humanity like a Manhattan or more recently The Last Word. To make a good classic manhattan you start with a chilled cocktail glass (think martini) and a large glass filled with ice. two dashes of angostura bitters and then pour 3-4 oz of rye bourbon and 1 oz of sweet vermouth over the ice and stir, stir, stir! try to stir with the spoon on the outside of the glass, the butt of a chopstick will work really well. strain the contents into the chilled cocktail glass and drop a(n ideally maraschino cherry with a stem) into the glass. If you stir it somewhere around 20-30 times it gets a watery sheen. A 90+ year old cocktail that is still one of the most popular served today.

You don’t need top shelf ingredients to make a really good Manhattan, just make it right. I like how the service industry has taught me how to do the necessary things quickly — particularly me who spends way too much time in my head being smart and stupid at the same time. Waiting tables means being quick on your feet and thinking quickly and clearly and that’s what you need sometimes to solve a technical issue, all while making people feel comfortable and confident their food will arrive shortly.

As Tim, the owner/manager of The Studio Portland has described to me a good engineer is cool and collected like a pilot over the intercom when there is a problem.

Doing audio work for others is a service and it’s important to remember that you are creating something for someone else, not yourself. While your tastes and skill contribute to the final outcome it is their vision that sculpts the project. If you can accommodate that with the highest quality ingredients and skilled techniques and deliver your results in a professional manner you are well on your way to doing sound for a living.