I have been somewhat swamped at work lately. Yesterday as I was preparing to go in for my afternoon shift I kept thinking of all the things I needed to get done once I got there, and what a busy day I would have today, as well. All of this anticipation started to overwhelm me, but then I thought about all the jobs I have had in my life, many of which I dreaded going to.
I thought about how little patience I had with Joe Public in various jobs; when I worked at the theater as an usherette, candy counter girl and ticket seller; when I worked at Handyman as a cashier; when I worked a few customer service phone jobs; when I waited tables. I thought about the job I had in San Jose as a veterinary assistant for a couple of cranky, condescending vets. I thought about the job I had working at a check-printing company in the mailroom, then as a shipper, then running a printing press. I thought about the various graphic design/production art jobs I have had, some good, some not so great.
I think about my parents. Back when my mother was a child I doubt she avowed to anyone who would listen, “I’m going to work in a paper mill someday!” But coming from a family of factory workers, that’s exactly what she did for thirty-five years. I remember how unhappy she was at that job, but the money she made helped keep our family clothed and fed, with a roof always over our heads.
My father came from a family of truck drivers, and that’s what he did for many years, up until his death at age 43. He didn’t seem to find much joy in truck driving, but the money was good. Unfortunately what he did for a living was how he died — driving a truck.
My primary job consists of reporting traffic on three radio stations, one being KIFM, a station I have wanted to be on since before moving to San Diego almost 20 years ago. I work 5:30 – 8:45 a.m., then go back in from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Some call it a split shift; I prefer to call it my 6-Hour Lunch Break.
I am also on the KIFM morning show as a co-host, where I sit and banter with the host, along with doing traffic reports right there in the studio. I have wanted to be on an actual show ever since getting into radio, and now I am. For the other two stations I record traffic from my own small studio. It is from that same studio that I report traffic for all three stations in the afternoon. Obviously when it rains, my job gets tougher, but that is a rarity here in San Diego.
I also run the producer screen and record commercial spots for our Production team. Sometimes there are only three or four spots to read; other times there may be a dozen. It takes an average of 2-3 minutes to do each spot, when you consider edits, redos, etc. No big deal. I consider that the Voiceover (my other career) part of my job.
I also voice track (record) my Saturday 3-7 p.m. show either on Thursday or Friday, plus (as in this week) I may need to voice track the 6-8 p.m. Monday – Friday show if someone is out.
All of these responsibilities come down to the fact that I talk on the radio for a living. I have worked in the field of Broadcasting for about 15 years now. My worst day in Radio is still, most times, better than my best day when I was in Graphic Design.
People at my job are amazing, talented and fun. I have worked with some real shit birds in the past — even at my last radio job (see Behind the Scenes), but most everyone at my present job is a joy to work with.
Sometimes when your job responsibilities overwhelm you, it’s important to step back and look where you are in comparison to where you once were. If you’re like me, and working at — and enjoying — the best job you’ve ever had, taking a look back can be enlightening, gratifying and rejuvenating.
If you’re working in a profession that is overwhelming in a bad way, that wears you down physically and crushes your spirits, then think seriously about change. Find a way to make it happen. If necessary, get help in making it happen. You’re worth it.
And whenever I catch myself singing the blues about how busy and overwhelmed I am at work, I’m going to remind myself — maybe even pinch myself — that things could be a hell of a lot worse than being “swamped” at a job — make that a career — that I really love.