Ever been fired? If you’ve been working for any time as a DJ, chances are it’s happened to you. It’s certainly happened to me, more than once.
The reason for a DJ’s dismissal can vary – doing a poor job, partying too much, not focusing on work or the boss just wants to switch things up, for instance. But as I’ve found out myself, whatever the grounds are, it’s never pleasant, and can easily damage your dignity.
That awful “you’re fired!” moment…
I remember the first time I got sacked from a gig; I was DJing at an upscale club, things were going really well, and I was enjoying great reviews from the staff and patrons. Then, eight months later, my time was up – they simply fired me.
Turned out they wanted to shake things up, and unfortunately that involved terminating me as the club’s DJ, so they simply told me they were releasing me from my duties, and that was that.
I was devastated to say the least. Up till that point I had never been fired from any job – so I took it hard and very personal.
This club had had a revolving door of DJs before I got there and apparently I lasted longer than most of my predecessors, but my dismissal still didn’t sit well with me.
It hurt me on so many levels – my earnings had dropped, my ego got crushed and I was out of the loop within the club circuit. I didn’t feel relevant in the DJ world for a while – and that’s a dark place to be when your livelihood is DJing.
Dealing with being dismissed
Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with dismissal. First, you need to understand the reason for your dismissal, and if it’s something you’ve done, endeavour to learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The best way to get gigs is by doing them, though, so once you’ve got that sorted, it’s imperative to come back hard after your dismissal. Unless your name is Tiesto, nobody is going to come headhunting you unfortunately.
In my case I’m a persistent individual so I found it relatively easy to persevere and look for another gig. Being that I had DJ experience and I’d made some quality connections during my residency, it wasn’t long till I found another job.
If you’re an inexperienced DJ, losing that vital residency means you simply must do all you can to get back in work. You’re in a far, far better position than DJs who’ve not got any experience, so make that pay for you.
And if it wasn’t your fault?
Maybe the most important lesson I learned from my firing was I shouldn’t have taken it so personal. I was let go based on a business decision, not for personal reasons. It was hard for me to understand that, but as time passed and I analysed the incident, I realised that anyone can get fired – no one is bulletproof.
In retrospect I really loved that gig and I wish it had lasted a little longer then it did – but I’ve had plenty of other gigs since then, and I continue to DJ regularly to this day.
The sweetest revenge was when my former manager contacted me about a year after my firing and asked if I was interested in DJing New Year’s Eve at my old club. I was flattered for the call and the consideration, but I was already booked for that evening, so I said no. The beat goes on, my friends.
• Chris Mihas aka DJ Kitcho is a DJ from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and is currently writing a book on DJ culture. Visit his website at cmentertainment.net.
Have you ever been fired? Why? How did you deal with it? Did you end up having the last laugh? Please share your stories in the comments…