Workload Overflows into My Living Room for the First Time
Throughout my 18+ years in radio I've always done my best to leave work at the office (studio), literally & figuratively, and just be husband and dad at home. That changed last night.
Saying I leave the work at the office doesn't mean I haven't had my fair share of times where pulling out my laptop and fixing problems or emergencies was required. It also doesn't mean I haven't let problems at work stick in the back of my mind and drag on at home. What it means is that I've never had to leave the office KNOWING I still had more work to do.
I've always had the supportive wife that works as chauffeur, chef & bedtime boss that allows me to work later than most on a regular basis. Whether it's an evening or late night remote, game or event, I know that business is being handled at home. Once I walk through the front door I'm able to take on my job as dad & husband. That changed last night.
Had my services as a driver for Logan's soccer practice not been needed, I may have been able to pull it off without the overflow at home. My day, like most of those with jobs that are non-stop craziness, gets busier as the day goes along. Most of the work I do can't be done ahead of time because of the "now" aspect of my chosen career field.
I can't get that coach's show done Monday afternoon if I've got a spare minute. I've got to do it at 9:30 Tuesday mornings. I can't schedule music a month ahead of time. I've got to wait and check the charts week by week. I can't fill out those prize sheets & give them to the receptionist until the winner has been found.
At this point in time I should probably offer the disclaimer that I DO, in fact, know that my job is great. I love what I do. There are a lot of talented, hard-working DJs that can't find work nowadays. I work hard, but I'll work twice as hard tomorrow if that's what it takes to run my stations and ensure continued growth and success.
This blog isn't me complaining about my job. Instead, I'm just sharing with you that you can count me as someone in the same boat as you, scratching and clawing each day to make sure we're invited back to work the next day. The days of diva radio DJs are done. Those looking for a laid-back free ride have been weeded out, and the voices you hear on the radio are those of the few that were willing to step up and embrace the changing radio environment.
The days of record company reps flying into town, wining and dining program directors, are done. The free swag and CDs are gone. The reality isn't what it once was, and I'm OK with that. The only resentment that comes out of that comes in the assumption of the general public that we're spoiled divas that expect a free bar tab and butt-kissing from everyone within earshot.
The term used to be, "4 and the door" for those radio DJs that did their 4-hour show and hit the road. I came in at the tail end of that, as multi-tasking became more important than nailing a song's post and having the "voice of God", as the phrase goes. I saw the importance of being Johnny-on-the-spot around the building, and shortly after arriving back in Central Texas in 2004 I began jumping at every opportunity to expand my abilities, knowing the more I could do the longer I'd be here.
Through all the different jobs and responsibilities, I've never been forced to take the work home with me. I've pulled out the laptop on many occasions to work ahead and prepare for the coming day, but never have I had work to do at the end of the day. Until last night.
As the kids were a whirling dervish of dinner, bath & bed there I sat, laptop open, finishing about two hours worth of work just so I wouldn't be that much farther behind today. For someone on their feet all day at work, you go home physically exhausted. For me, it's all upstairs.
After 10 hours on the air, countless meetings & conference calls and all the other tasks that require my attention every day, I'm mentally spent. My wife spends all day in a classroom talking to kids. I spend all day... talking. She wants adult conversation. I want 10 minutes without being asked to do something or say something. Sometimes she wins. Sometimes I win, in which case we both lose.
So here I am, sitting on the couch with headphones in, trying to keep one ear listening to what's going on around me while both eyes are on the computer screen. Already today I'm finding out some of the events I missed out on last night as I worked from home. Today was Meet Me at the Pole day at school and I missed hearing about that. Tyler is a junior scholar at school and had a big meeting yesterday I missed hearing about. I even missed tucking Logan into bed.
By the time I turned off the laptop and put it away, both kids were fast asleep and my wife was in bed alone. That's not a great feeling. I hope, for the sake of the time I DO have at home, I'm able to get back to a routine that allows me to finish up the day's work AT work. My work schedule is erratic and usually a 7-days-a-week schedule. That's always been my saving grace in my own mind, that once I actually make it home from work and walk through the front door, putting my shoes in the closet, Mr. Rogers-style, I'm done.
I've always said, "Busy is good because busy means you're employed". People have asked "why" or "how" I keep the schedule I keep, but I guess my response is always "why not?" or "how could I not?". Who's going to do it if I don't? I don't want to find out the answer to that last question, so just like you, I'm adjusting to a world that doesn't end when you close your office door for the day.
So what was so important last night that it required my immediate attention? I didn't get the time to write my daily website blogs. I've put both videos I wrote about last night below so you can see the important things that kept my attention away from the family last night. Obama's "latte salute" and an iPhone 6 being destroyed by a .50 cal in slow motion, those are the important news items of the day that kept me away.
There is hope for a return to normalcy with my work schedule. Maybe next time I take a little less time setting my fantasy football roster at lunch and look for inspiration for my web posts. Maybe next time Obama puts the latte down before he salutes and I get a little more time with my crew at home.