People get in touch with London Underground for a whole bunch of reasons. To book tickets, check for lost property, get travel information, and no doubt a few people complain about the service too. Not me. Back at the start of 2011 I contacted London Underground to ask if I could busk on the tube. Why? Honestly – at that time it just felt like a fun thing to do. London Underground wrote back, thanked me for my interest and said they were not conducting auditions at the moment. They may run more auditions again in 2013 and if so, they would contact me again at that time. I carried on with life – and forgot about busking on the tube.

Earlier this year I got an email from London Underground asking me to apply for a busking audition. First things first, hats off to London Underground for recording my interest (over two years ago) and for getting back to me. I applied and got through the paper sift, and today is the day of my live audition. At every step of the way I’ve been kept informed, my expectations clearly managed. I am a candidate, and so far I am having a good candidate experience. All buyers and recruiters please note: if London Underground can do it – you can do it too.

I’m pleased London Underground got back in touch. As I continue to explore the pathways of creativity I know more and more that music touches many people in many different ways. I’m sure that each and every one of you can call to mind a library of music and songs to describe various points on your life journey. And I read more and more about actively encouraging workplace choirs, getting people together to sing can be a fun, powerful experience.

How am I approaching the audition? Loads of people apply for these licences, so interest in the scheme is big, and being a slightly nervous type, I’m nervous. And I’m also excited. People tell me they like to see me smile, and that is the thing uppermost in my mind right now. The photo on today’s post was taken by Callum Saunders and it proves to me I can play and smile at the same time. The next time someone comes up to you at work with a crazy idea, hold fire on your judgment a while. Let the idea unfold, give it some time and space, and maybe even smile and help your colleague to make it happen. I’ll let you know how I get on. Meantime, keep smiling folks – and have a great day.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

4 thoughts on “Auditioning”

  1. Doug, you are on of the bravest individuals that I know.

    From that first meeting at the Connecting HR Unconference, where you created an ad hoc song of the day – to performing under fire for us at SRCONF, you have always been willing to use the alternatives of music and poetry to engage an audience.

    I applaud your efforts of exploring the universe – and for sharing it with all of us. And, of course, you have found a way to compare it to the Candidate Experience.

    Good Luck today. I hope that the experience goes well. I, for one, will happily take an extra Tube journey to find you.


  2. I’m glad you said that about TfL – I did an assignment there a few years ago and they were doing some very good stuff. The killer for them in HR was a weak HRD in corporate (now gone) and a bullying HRD in LU (now gone) which resulted in a poorly managed shared service function. I don’t know what it is like now but there was sufficient good stuff going on to compensate. They get a bad rap – and most of it is not fair. Completely under-resourced financially and working with a creaking infrastructure, the dedication of many of the staff is really heartening.

    And you could go outside the structure easily and do some pretty creative stuff – a lot of people were very receptive.

    Hmm, interesting thoughts from an engagement perspective.
    And all the best – yep, keep smiling……..

  3. Thanks Meg, Alan and Julia for your lovely notes. Alas, they were more tuneful than the ones I couldn’t find yesterday 🙂 I appreciate you all being in touch, catch up soon – D

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