Meet Jose Alberto Gallegos. He is a multi-careerist based in Mexico. We met on LinkedIn, when he responded to my “2 careers” article. We struck up a conversation, and I learned about his dual hats. Here are his insights.
- Industrial Solutions & Services Executive
- Songwriter & Producer
On his motivations for many careers
I’ve discovered through my life journey that the idea of combining seemingly unrelated elements to create a cohesive unit is one of my top motivations. After several years moving on different positions in industrial companies on different fields, I realized that I enjoyed trying different activities, and then discovering how one activity started to feed into another, unearthing benefits and patterns unavailable until you start exploring and testing yourself on different contexts.
On how long he has had these careers
I’ve been an industrial services executive for 20+years, and started playing synths as a teenager, taking a more focused approach to songwriting and production 3 years ago.
Advice to aspiring multi-careerists
Keeping a healthy level of curiosity is always the starting point, to explore interests which can further become careers, because you never know when you start. Be intentional in your initial approach to a new activity. It’s always good to start with a goal in mind but keep yourself open to explore paths you’ll uncover in your journey. And then it becomes a virtuous circle that starts over again.
Grit and perseverance are key traits to break the stall period that will be inevitably faced in developing any new skill.
In my case, I stalled using only my home studio gear & tools to write and record music. I felt that I couldn’t get further on my own and started to look in the middle of the pandemic for a way to creatively collaborate with other people.
I started reaching out to some friends but soon discovered tools such as Soundbetter, which allowed me to remotely collaborate with top notch musicians all over the world, or Splice, to access millions of audio samples on any instrument and genre. I broke my own limits and quickly and dramatically expanded my creative capabilities since I started using these tools. Cover the basics, persevere and keep yourself open to technology, you’ll be surprised!
On how careers are mutually beneficial
Music is a creative endeavor that has showed me that there is always a new path lying ahead, waiting to be discovered. I use a diverse set of instruments & genres in my arrangements because more often than not, I discover a new melodic line that may change the entire song mood & emotion when I think that I have it solved, such as a funky guitar on an electronic pop song, that will open the chance to introduce a jazzy sax solo.
I take the same approach to solve problems in my corporate life, by engaging a diverse audience to bring in different perspectives, appreciating people’s unique background to break groupthinking, or applying an approach tested in one industry to a problem on a different industry, i.e. IT service delivery frameworks applied to field service delivery.
I feed into my music the structured planning & execution approach from my corporate life to get my projects completed and published with the quality I’m pursuing. The generalist, execution oriented mindset from corporate life have proven very valuable to make my musical dreams and ideas come true.
On finding balance
Of course, in time management there is no free lunch. I’ve definitely slashed the TV time, I’m 10 years behind all the series you sure have to recommend! But on the other side, I have a family that has been supportive like no other, and we’ve created a routine that allows time for me to work in my home studio on weekends and after kids go to bed.
On something wishes to have learned sooner
There was a time in my life when I felt that I could be successful only on one path. I gradually found out that balancing intention, time and effort, you could be walking several paths at the same time, and then success gradually became more about enjoying the journey rather than reaching the destination. I wish I had known this earlier in my life, and wish I had a role model to see it in practice. Now I have my own experience and Kabir’s article to share with my kids!
I’ve found key insights for life & career choices in books like Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, John Maeda’s The Laws of Simplicity, Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life, and listening to podcasts such as Gayle Allen’s “Curious Minds”.
Focusing on the topic of portfolio career, I find the biography of Francisco Gabilondo-Soler “Cri-Cri” specially inspiring: a Mexican multi-instrumentalist who was a self taught musician, sailor, astronomer, bullfighter…a man who seemed to have no limits on what he was able to learn and do.
Overcoming the stigma of multiple careers
On one hand, modern tech offers a plethora of productivity tools on any field, which will help expanding your skills & reach exponentially. On the other, there is a growing trend of increasing inclusiveness and diversity in society & companies. So, at this point of the human history, I don’t feel a stigma for having multiple careers. Actually, having the tools and the mindset, this is the time to develop a portfolio career!
On how to sublimate ego at the day job
I never felt there was an issue on sharing with my corporate colleagues my songwriting & production vocation. When I started developing it as a second career, it came with the realization that key personal traits are nurtured from that creative space. That, and having models as David Solomon, DJ & Goldman Sachs’ CEO, make that conversation of corporate world musicians an easy one to have.
A Day in the Life
6.30 AM – Wake up, catch up on the newspapers and important news of the day before showering.
7.00 AM – Breakfast / Coffee
7.30 AM – Leave my eldest kid to school
8.00 – 18.00 PM – Work / Meetings
18.00-18.45 – Evening commute, filled with music, listening to songs in progress to determine next steps.
18.45 – 20.30 – Family time
20.30 – 21.30 – Leisure time, including walking / light workout
21.-30 – 23.00 – Work on songs / videos in progress, usually putting in practice what I planned for on my evening commute.
Where to find Jose
Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.