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5 Career Lessons From Iggy Pop


Sometimes, the best career advice comes from unexpected places. For instance, the 2006 concert rider for Iggy and the Stooges.

Iggy Pop 

(Photo Credit: Alex Const/Flickr)

If Iggy Pop seems like a strange person to turn to for guidance, consider this: he’s been making music for over 50 years now, has survived everything from drug addiction to disco, and, with his band the Stooges, recently entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Clearly, he knows a thing or two about enduring, even if he can’t advise you on corporate dress codes.

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Here’s what you can learn from the former James Newell Osterberg‘s success. (And by the way, if you decide to look at that concert rider yourself, be aware that it is most definitely not safe for work.)

1. Be considerate.

If there’s one thing that really stands out about this rider, it’s how relatively relaxed it is. OK, it’s 18 pages long, but it’s not terribly persnickety, as these things go. No picking out brown M&Ms for this crew: among other modest requests, they’ll take just about any red wine you can get your hands on. (Although they helpfully offer suggestions.) As the rider says, “Not all that bad, is it?”

2. Use humor.

When the Stooges get specific, they’re funny about it: “Some fresh ginger, honey, lemons, and a sharp knife. So we can make ginger, honey, and lemon tea. God knows why.”

Humor is a social buffer. It allows you to ask for what you want without sounding too self-deprecating or bossy. Even if the club staff knows exactly what ginger tea is for, we bet they appreciated the levity.

3. Be well-informed.

Although Pop and company will accept a variety of newspapers, they insist on something to read that will keep them up-to-date on the world around them.

4. Understand the importance of environment.

Before they go onto to make jokes we can’t repeat, the Stooges ask that their dressing room be “different from the usual rock & rock dressing room.” They specify “interesting,” but given the tea and newspapers on their list, we suspect what they’re after is homey. Which will sound familiar to anyone who’s tried to make their office cubicle feel more like a den than a cube.

5. Be yourself.

Off-color jokes, throat-friendly tea, wine, newspapers, a homey feel to the dressing room — it all adds up to a set of priorities. Figure out what yours are, and you’ll know how to make yourself as successful as Iggy Pop.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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