The gig triangle: what you can learn from the Rolling Stones

Posted May 3, 2010 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

My husband is a bass player and years ago came up with an article in Bass Player Magazine (yes, such things do exist) about the gig triangle.  It explains why Mick and Keith have been able to go for years and what you may need to do to find true job Satisfaction.

The gig triangle proposes that you can stick with a band as long as two out of three of the following elements are in place: money, tunes, the hang (band mates).

You can tolerate lousy band mates if the tunes and money are great (that’s gotta be the secret to the Stones longevity!); great band mates with great tunes can help you stick it out if the cash isn’t great (garage bands); and, great money and great band mates can help you put up with lousy tunes (that’s the only explanation I can give to why people form tribute bands…)

I began to wonder if the gig triangle could apply to any job.  Great money and great people can make up for boring work; great money and great work can make up for lousy people; and, great people and great work can make up for lousy pay (to the relief of many entrepreneurs!)

Were the Stones right? you can’t always get what you want… but (in the words of Meat Loaf) when it comes to careers, maybe two out of three ain’t that bad?

I suppose if you want to settle, then the career “gig” triangle works, but is settling what you want to do on this spin around the planet?  You only get one kick at this life, so why not go for all three – great money (which doesn’t mean being a millionnaire… you define great), great people and great work?  In my experience, two out of three isn’t fully satisfying and it’s hard to sustain.  Usually, the missing piece creates more “rub” than a high performer can stand.

So, how balanced is your career triangle? Are you hitting 3 out of 3?  Or are you like Bill Wyman and ready to walk away from “bad hang” despite the big bucks and killer tunes?  What’s holding you back from living a 3 out of 3 career?

Happy leading!


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