It’s been exactly six weeks since I was politely and lovingly handed my notice to vacate the premises of Sanyu FM as an employee.
Particularly distraught, I fell hard off my No-Drinking wagon and found the stain of my failure still lingering in the seat of my pants. I drank a little more and eh! the thought of my termination letter was still indelibly etched in my brain. Defeated, I tossed back that tequila by golly, and ruminated upon this shocking development. I’ve never been fired before, you see.
Well, I expected it that time at my other workplace when I confessed to all three of my bosses that I was the culprit who for a number of weeks had been using up all the Internet surfing pornography. I miss those bosses.
Anyway. Anybody who follows the news should have put two and two together that a major shake-down was going down in my former place of employment. I just happened to be part of the collateral damage (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!).
I took it particularly hard because it is a painful and traumatizing experience to be starting out in radio when your voice doesn’t sound like honey smothered in butter and sprinkled with lemon. Most presenters can just say ‘I want to urinate’ and it will sound lovely.
Me? Longer hours of preparation were needed. Exhausting searches for content. Some kick-ass Chuck Norris back-room production. Collecting snippets of this artist talking, and snippets of that song’s original to keep the listener stimulated and entertained. Trying to be absolutely perfect.
Because I knew that I didn’t have the voice to just say ‘I want to urinate’ and make it sound lovely.
And then a producer friend who works at another radio station asked me to pop over and do a voice test. As usual, I went into overdrive. I prepared two different links in my head for the demo, and practiced them all day long for three days straight. I’d be in a taxi, and mutter them under my breath to make sure I had the intonations just right. Want an example?
‘It’s Radio Whatsit, 60 FM! I’m Lindsey and you’re tuned to the Boat Cruise where we play you the finest of the snazziest! Like this fellow right here who, sadly, gets more and more deaf every year but his music shall live on forever! It’s Phill Collins with ‘I can’t stop loving you’. We’re heading in for a break now and when we come back, we’ll be inspired by Nina Simone who’s letting us know that she sings because she knows what it means to be free. Let’s embrace freedom like she does-as we embrace the music-here on Radio Whatsit, 60 Fm!’
Armed with such artillery and feeling shaky as a leaf, I took myself to the radio station where I was told exactly what to say, and to forget about everything I had prepared. Drat! Afterward, the producer asked me if I wanted to listen to how I sounded and well…wonders never cease.
People, I sounded good. There’s simply no other way to put it. Somewhere along the long dusty road, I’d nurtured a voice that sounded like honey smothered in butter and sprinkled with lemon.
It all boiled down to confidence, experience, preparation, diction but most important of all-practice with a capital P. All that time I’d spent sweating at Sanyu, worrying about not quite measuring up, I’d also been getting better, and it showed when I listened to a playback of my work in the production room of that radio station.
In the end then, I am happy and grateful. Grateful for all I learned, and also for a discovery of a new talent I never knew I had by way of production. I can produce the hell out of the end of the world, without a budget.
Shall I continue to use these newly discovered talents? I don’t know. I’m not a gung-ho, pistol whipping enthusiast anymore when it comes to seeking employment. I may manage a restaurant, I may become an investigative journalist or I may design jewelry for others than myself.
So to anybody out there who’s ever been fired-you are not alone. To anybody who’s worrying that they’re about to be fired-you may be right! To anybody who smells that they’re going to be fired and would like to pre-empt it and resign instead-that’s a jolly good idea. Wish I’d thought of it!
But please know that your time was not wasted. You learned something, you lived a portion of your life and it was time to move on to something new.
Or maybe you did waste your time, you loser. Shit happened and you fucked up. Like that time when I used up office Internet surfing porn.
Doesn’t matter. Don’t fret. It’s all part of living on this planet. Good stories for our grandchildren and our blogs.
Oh, and to the impertinent ingrate who told me that my No-Drinking wagon has no rails, a slippery deck and an oil spill.
You were right.