Dan Perkins

Singer/Guitarist of Lo-Fi Champion, customer service at an Internet start-up company

Photo by Jack Gould The site is a business portal where businesses would go to get goods or look for services. My card says "Customer Service," but it's really product services, like when people have inquiries about products or if they need help processing an order. But the main thing I do is online chat—if you go to our site, there's a 24-hour chat. If you have questions, we can co-browse. I would open a program, and you and I would essentially share a browser page and that way I could bring you to areas on the site you were looking for or show you information firsthand. It's cutting-edge technology in online customer service, but it's so simple that your average McDonald's employee could do it as well as I can.

Before this, I owned a vegan restaurant, but I had to get a job with less responsibility and less work so I could play music. My No. 1 criteria was proximity to my house so I don't have to spend time commuting. I bring my guitar here every day, and usually in the evening, the last hour, there's no one here, so I can practice guitar. That makes it a nice rock & roll job, I guess.

It's the new economy. My department boss has bright red hair. I wear the same clothes I would wear onstage. Actually, I might be the only musician who doesn't wear a tie at work but might wear one onstage. I don't think I'd be allowed to wear a tie here.

We're definitely part of the dot-com mania. We were created in November and went public in early 2000.

It's a really volatile industry, and the industry itself is in a downturn. People are slowly starting to leave.

When I took the job I figured, "What the heck, we could be a Fortune 500 business next year or bankrupt, and it's okay with me." I don't want to spend my week driving to LA. I can work 40 hours a week, but I can't work 50 or 60. The fact that I don't have to put on a suit and tie is a big deal to me. It saves time. I don't have to commute to work and go to the dry cleaner after work. I don't have to compromise who I am. I get to be the same person here as onstage. That's a big deal.

—As told to Alison M. Rosen

 
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