Turning points

The employee holiday party at the skating rink was raging, and there was no rule against alcohol.  Thursday afternoon was the only time available for our party and we were having a great time.  Some were skating, some were playing free Asteroids and some were having a few too many Molson Goldens. The problem with this was the private fraternity party scheduled at 9pm.

As the manager corralled the staff for the evening shift, he discovered the scheduled DJ’s head was spinning too much to spin records.  He raised his voice, “Hey, who wants to be the DJ tonight?” 

I worked as a skate guard, which was really just a glorified security guard on wheels. I had no “DJ training,” but I was sober.

“I’ll do it!” I shouted back.  I stepped up… literally, walking up the stairs on my toe stops to get a view from the highest point in the rink. After Bruce the DJ’s 10-minute crash course on how to run the equipment, he stumbled off somewhere to crash.

“Welcome to Skateaway… all skate now, all skate.” I believe these were the first words I uttered on a microphone in my life.  I muddled through that night somehow, making mistakes but having fun in the process. And honestly, I kind of liked the way my voice was amplified in those booming speakers.  People did what I told them to do… when I say backward skate, you better skate backward or get off the floor!

I digress.  The real point of the story is the turning point – the moment the manager asked if anyone wanted to step up and take control.  Because I said yes, it started a series of career chain reactions that led me into the marketing job I currently enjoy (a long story for another day.)

Had I said no, I’m sure that other interesting paths would have developed for me, but I’m really glad things turned out the way they did.  I wonder how many of these opportunistic points of divergence actually happen to us every day.  One moment… one chance encounter… one decision to take on unfamiliar territory… could make a big difference in your life. 

Are you ready to step up and say yes?

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16 Comments on “Turning points”


  1. Interesting question.. Is life (or career) determined by a series of choices at “turning points”? Do different choices at these points lead to different life paths altogether? Or is there an inert guiding principal (i.e. “destiny”) we operate on? And should the “wrong choice” be made at any point, then a new decision point will reveal itself later in the future, allowing one to course correct? I personally believe there is more to it than random choices. So David, if you missed that “turning point” I am pretty sure another opportunity would have revealed itself later.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Aahhh… destiny vs. choice, the eternal debate. I’m not saying there are “wrong” choices necessarily, but I think the inability to accept risk can prevent you from being the best you can be.

  2. Jeff G Says:

    You are so correct!
    As someone who was also in that rink for the employee party, and had a couple of Molson’s, you beat me to the booth that day. I had always been interested in the D.J. gig, but just figured that “someday” I would get around to asking the manager……but that day never came and my path went a different direction as well.
    I think you did quite well as “DJ Dave”, Rink Master, Cattle Company disco Dave, Reubens Video Dance Club Jock, the list goes on!
    Way to grab that original giant mike brother! It’s led to that fancy high tech in-ear boom mike and a web-tv gig. What lies beyond?

  3. Nora Says:

    On a personal note, I have to remark on all of the other great things stepping into that booth led to…friendships, relationships, a love of pop music and SnoCones….

  4. Jennifer Smith Says:

    Thanks David for another great story that fits in perfectly with the current situation in my life. We are assessing a career opportunity for my husband that would once again make us move and take us out of away from Family.

    It proved to be a good choice 10 years ago when we where in CA. Just hope the way we choose puts us down another great path.

  5. John W Says:

    My moment was when I was a judge for a lip-sync contest. At the end you asked If I ever thought of being a DJ? I saw what you did and thought no way could I learn. You said “I can teach a monkey how to DJ what I can’t give him is a personality!”

    Saying yes in that moment changed my life and gave me a career path. My take away is saying yes is important but so is giving someone else the chance at their own “Yes”.

    Thanks Dave!

    • davidgoad Says:

      And it’s satisfying to see that you have out-performed the monkeys in your career… at least 2 rungs up the evolutionary ladder 🙂 Thanks John!

  6. Richie Says:

    For those who did not have the pleasure of witnessing the young Mr Goad in his ‘development years’…best damn DJ the rink ever had…even better than CThomas…not a ad Commando to boot, either!!

  7. Tom Jacobs Says:

    Great blog post! My career has also been forged by jumping in to new things. There is almost no downside if you’re coming in and trying something new when everyone knows the score. If you mess it up, the worst thing is that they don’t ask you to do it again, but they know you pitched in when the chips were down.

    I believe that interesting lives are measured at campfires. Those who always play it safe listen to others tell the stories.

  8. diane davidson Says:

    I’m a believer in the power of chance encounters and opportunities. The movie “Grand Canyon” explores that very idea – multiple chance encounters that change not only the central characters but also ripple throughout their families. Courage and risk taking can be essential characteristics to embrace rather than run from these random chance opportunities. David – you have them both 🙂

  9. Sean Dyer Says:

    When the time comes to step up to a challenge, something new and outside your comfort zone, do it. Don’t hesitate, just do it and grow.

  10. Amanda Goad Says:

    I like the idea behind this entry a lot! I’ve definitely encountered these moments my first year in college, and it has certainly given me one of the craziest, unfamiliar rides of my life!

    • davidgoad Says:

      Thanks Amanda. The courage to say “yes” in unfamiliar territory will reveal talents you didn’t even know you had 🙂


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