Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Disposal

I was talking to a coworker about the ending of this gig; he shares my sense of excitement at the prospect of moving on.  He calls the job "A drain and a grind,"

Of course we embraced this job and made the most of it when we had committed to it, but it's just as he calls it: both a drain and a grind.  When you combine those mechanisms, you get the scary blades in the sink.

Here's why it's a grind: imagine a stand-up comedian taking 15 stories from the media and crafting them into 40-second routines of staggering brilliance within 24 hours.  It's necessary to imagine it, since it doesn't happen in the real world.  It's too much for anyone to do and produce real quality.  Loathe as we are to admit we aren't equal to a task, when the task is unrealistic it becomes a grind.  It's arduous and there's very little pleasure left in it.

Here's why it's a drain: we have to do it six days a week. Twelve to fifteen stories a day six days a week ads up to around one hundred brilliant short compositions, executed with the best possible delivery and often with added production, per week-with a mere two weeks off a year.  It really does suck all the creativity out of you, and a lot of your mental energy.  There's simply too much being asked of your system to allow replenishment.

This is an industrial formula.  Since the companies owning radio regard it as a widgit, they grind out the product with mechanized efficiency and squeeze out the maximum from the raw material for their money.  As industrialists they are unable to hear the fatigue, the chronic stress, the controlled panic that underscores voices on the air with a mind to the effect on the listener; to them a stressed worker is as satisfying as the sweat upon an apple picker's brow or a demolished sacred mountain.  When they see some sort of destruction, they see success.  To move in and shoot all the buffalo or rip all the coal out of a vein or drain an aquifer and then move on, to them, is a reassurance that they control the known universe.  They must cause quantifiable defeat or see proof of destruction to know they have "won" and that they have gotten their "money's worth".

I'm resigned to my cog status for the rest of my working life in this robber baron economy, in this culture of commerce...but I'm immensely relieved to take my creative life OUT of it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

No Unfinished Business

I'm being laid off from my full-time job in about a month.

And I couldn't be happier or more grateful.

First of all, I was informed of this in a respectful way. "We love your work.  You've done nothing wrong. We'd love you to stay on part-time and when we have more opportunities in the future we'd love you to consider coming back on with us,"

In the past my firings were unnecessarily horrid.  This was not.  There was no "putting me on probation" to rationalize the decision, no ambush-meeting with 10 people staring at me to see how I would take the news, no "Say your goodbyes and be out of the building in half an hour.  I will need your security pass," as if I was a corporate criminal.  There was no prolonged period of gas-lighting air checks, no mind games, no predatory management practices, no obscenities shrieked at me in the hall, no thinly-veiled demeaning speeches.  This was done with class. 

Second, this is a layoff.  I'm among many others getting laid off.  I'm not singled out.  I'm applying for jobs and able to say, "Still employed and yes, it's OK to call my employer,".  I'll get a good recommendation or two and I can tell a future employer that my present employers have a high regard for my work.

Third: mornings is the best gig I will ever get.  I'm going out on top.  Any other gig will be a lateral move.  I'm not interested in that.  I am interested in keeping a weekend show, where I can enjoy getting radio out of my system on a regular basis.

When I got this gig it was a reparation for all the firings I'd had.  MORNINGS.  On rock stations.  A CHICK doing a rock morning show!  And while this is a trend, I got to be ONE of those chicks!  The very fact that I was chosen for this gig said not only that I belonged in radio full time, I belonged on MORNINGS.  This was the ultimate middle finger to everyone who had ever fired me.

And now it is time to move on.

I'm ready for a full-time job that doesn't need so much of my creativity, because I want to be a writer.  I want to be published.  I want a stack of finished novels and stories at the bottom of my obituary.  This means I need to get moving.  If I do get another 20+ healthy years on this planet, my first priority (other than loving my people and animals well and STAYING on this planet for another 20+ in a healthy way) is to write stacks of work that I feel good about.

And-a job in an industry that's a bit less volatile.

No unfinished business.  No regrets.

I'm ready.