Bob’s got nearly 30 years experience in radio. Loves being on-the-air but as radio consolidated and the local radio station became a cluster of stations under the same roof, Bob now spends all of his day in the production studio. He’s writing copy and producing commercials, promos and other content for cluster. And Bob’s good at it, he says. In fact, other clusters in the company will often send stuff Bob’s way to be written or produced.
Bob’s seen multiple decades tear off his calendar. He’s a homeowner (or should I say the bank & home own him). He’d ask for a raise, but he’s already earning twice what others in his position in the company are making. Worse, new cost control initiatives being studied by the company may target the higher wage earners.
Bob loves radio, but radio doesn’t exactly love Bob back.
Have you ever been in this position? Are you there right now? What do you do?
Right after the Telcom Act of 1996 passed, I was at a meeting where Randy Michaels, President of Jacor was speaking. Randy said something that made me, a homeowner with two small children, break out into a sweat. Randy told the room that if you wanted to be in radio once upon a time, you found a community you wanted to live in, moved there and played radio. Those days were gone. If you loved radio and wanted to be in radio, moreover wanted to move up in radio, you now no longer picked the community but went where the jobs were. That the future of radio consolidation meant there would be fewer jobs and they would go to the best and the brightest that would move to where they were and took them.
I heard Randy when I had been in my current GM position for 12-years. The following year, my stations would be consolidated and I would find myself out-the-door.
I thought that being the GM of the top property in a competitive market for a dozen years would make me a valuable commodity. What I would quickly learn is that other companies wondered why I had stayed in the same position for so long and not moved up. Having a house, raising a family didn’t seem to rank high on the hiring criteria.
The next dozen years I would move a lot. Always the odd man out when the consolidation cards were played. I was always with the radio stations being taken over and not with the company doing the taking. The other market manager would be the victor. It wasn’t fun. However, it was educational in ways being in the same position for a dozen years never was. I would grow more in this period of time than at any time in my radio career.
So Bob, the hard advice I’m about to give you is move.
If what you’re earning is below what you’re capable of earning with some other company, it’s time to move. If what you’re doing has become routine and doesn’t challenge you, it’s time to move. If all that changed on your resume this past year were the dates, you’re stagnating and the only way to change that is to move.
When you stay in the same place, you in essence let others make decisions for you. If you like the decisions they make and you’re happy, that’s great. But if you’re not happy with the decisions they are making for you, then the only way you make things different is by taking charge of your life and changing things up.
Leo Tolstoy once said “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one ever thinks of changing themselves.”
Bob, in what you wrote to me, you talk all about the changes you wanted to see other people make so your life could be improved. That’s not likely to happen anymore than my buying a lottery ticket and yelling at the TV when they draw the numbers is going to make me a winner. You cannot wish for things out of your control to change.
Progress is impossible without change.
Steve Jobs put it this way: “For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to be doing what I’m about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
So Bob, what do you ask yourself when you look in your mirror?