15 New Year’s Resolutions for Audio Engineers

Normally I’m not a huge proponent of New Year’s resolutions. I believe that we should be learning lessons and striving to be the best we can be year-round. But, 2020 was unusual. To say last year was terrible would be an understatement, and the effects of the pandemic and years of institutionalized racism, homophobia, and misogyny have not magically gone away since the clock struck midnight on January 1st.

Yet, 2020 gave us an unexpected gift. Time stopped. Many of us suddenly had time to reflect. I hope that in sharing many of my personal goals, other audio folks may be inspired to carry the lessons of 2020 into 2021.

15 New Year’s Resolutions

I will not take things personally (even if the guitar player turns his amp up AGAIN after soundcheck.) The talent may be stressed by the gig for reasons outside of my control.

I will pay attention to how I converse with others and carry myself. Am I engaged in listening as well as talking? Am I acting like the calm and confident audio engineer the talent can trust? Or am I acting as if I am unsure of myself?

I will evaluate my immediate circle, in work and in my personal life, and consider how I can make it more diverse.

I will keep eating right and exercising. Good nutrition feeds my brain as well as my stomach; oftentimes, ideas about projects or new career goals come to me when I’m out for a jog.

I will hold others accountable for their privilege. I will correct them with calm professionalism and grace.

I won’t backstab coworkers by talking about them with other coworkers. It creates tension and an expectation for someone to mess up. The person being talked about can sense that.

The opportunity to even touch a sound console is sacred. The sound gods can count on more offerings in 2021.

I will notice when a colleague improves and cut them some slack. We all deserve a chance to grow.

I will learn new PG-rated jokes for sound checks.

I will recognize microaggressions and stereotypes in my own language and simply stop using them.

I will not drop money I don’t have on end-of-year sales on plugins. (Okay, maybe I will.)

I will do more ear training in my off time.

I will read more books for leisure.

I will not avoid conversations about race, LGBTQIA, and differently-abled people. I will listen with grace when I’m called out for my own privilege, and implement change.

I will check in with friends more often. I lost people I hadn’t talked to in a while in 2020. We all lost too many people and didn’t see enough of each other. I’m ready to open every door and invite people in.

Let’s continue making strides to better our industry for the rest of our lives. May 2021 find work bountiful, your workplace more diverse, and your mixes full!


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