The $64,000 Question

The answer is…

Long-time award-winning programmer, Barb Richards, started a new career three months ago. She offered to share her journey with us, victories and defeats…

Doug just asked me the $64,000 question: Am I still having fun? Soooo…

It’s month three. I’ve got a pretty good handle on the job, what is expected of me, and what my duties are. I’ve put on two events with good success. I’ve put together a show program, messed up a TV buy and, making it official, I am totally behind in my work. So, pretty much like my radio job but with different duties.

The job has turned into a job now. This is now what I do for a living. And it’s a good living and a good job and I like it.

It’s been very interesting to learn a new type of business. I am still feeling out the right approach to the brand. For so long, I worked on one brand, the MAJIC brand. Knew it like my child (because it was). Now there is a new brand (new kid) and I’m learning its strengths, its weaknesses, what people think of our facility. I am stepping carefully, much like a new PD walking into a winning radio station. Our facility is doing well. I don’t want to reinvent just to reinvent. Echoes of consultants come into my brain all the time.

But the honeymoon is definitely over and the work has begun!

Any momentum left over by the previous person is now gone. I am on my own to move forward on projects, to look at the calendar and decide this has to be done next and do it without someone telling me this had to be done.

When I started, I really was focused, taking notes, making lists, trying to get organized. And then I let my guard down. As I entered month 3, I was so much more relaxed with everyone, really getting into the groove, thinking this job is a piece of cake, and boom! I missed something. Dang. I felt stupid. So I did what adults are supposed to do. I fixed it, apologized, and got my brain back in gear.

I guess there is a major difference for me. It was never an effort to think about Radio, to keep my brain in gear automatically. I loved Radio so I ‘lived’ Radio. I was always writing a promo, doing a music log, even watching TV and recording drops (pre-Internet). I never really took that break away from thinking about Radio and my show and what I was going to talk about tomorrow. Now I leave work at the office and my mind shifts into other parts of my life. Less dedicated? No, I think a more reasonable (normal) level of dedication.

Oh, and here’s another difference: I am the oldest one in my office. UGH! How I remember the days of being the youngest one at the station! I used to make fun of the older people at work. Now, that’ oldest one is me.

And something else I’ve noticed: The stress level is a lot lower. Sometimes I would feel like I could not catch my breath at the station because there was so much that had to be done right NOW! This job is busy but I don’t feel that sense of panic. During live radio days when we played records, we worked in 3-minute deadlines, remember? I still have deadlines but they are not as constant and not as quick. I feel that the difference in the deadline pressure has the potential to help me live longer.

So, back to Doug’s question: Am I still having fun? I pretty much have fun all the time. Even in difficult times, I can usuualy find some joy. But let me share that, so far, the whole career shift is a lot less scary than I thought it would be.

In many ways, life has just gone on and I’m just doing my thing for another place.

Barb is still leading, still teaching, still relating, and now she is offering proof that there is life after Radio for those of us who are being/have been tossed aside. And all of us who know her are grateful she is still in our lives.