Career Question

1A reader of this blog wrote to me asking for advice on how he could reinvent himself and best utilize his talents. I’ll call him “Bob” and give it my best shot.

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?

10 Comments

Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio

10 responses to “Career Question

  1. Don

    I agree with Dick on a lot of what he wrote. I know of many instances where certain companies want guys who will move. In fact the particular company I’m thinking of in particular….all the top brass in programming are single guys!
    They want other single guys. They don’t want a guy with baggage (a wife and kids) who moves and in 6 months his wife gets lonely and he wants to move back.
    These huge corporations have a LOT going on. They have no concern for your family. They don’t consider talent alone…they need talent and mobility.

    I can go on and cite specific examples of this…many. But not in a public forum.

    Regarding Bob….you have been there a long time. You are at…actually above…the top of your pay rate. The sad truth is….one day you will be let go….and it will be because of that. I have been at both ends of this scenario.

    “We can find someone cheaper….get rid of him” I reluctantly did.

    “We’re downsizing…and you’re one of those being downsized”.
    Translation: I was making too much money for my market to justify.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Art Versnick

    Been there, done that. And that was after 30 years in one market and cluster. Shame on me. But I had that baggage and frankly liked what I was doing and contributing. Randy Michaels was right.

    Like

  3. spotmagicsolis

    I learned from this article NOT to look in the mirror AND ASK myself that question about the last day of my life. Sounds like a jinx! Seriously, good post. Things are changing and people haven’t quite accepted that yet. They really need to accept it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. spotmagicsolis

    If you haven’t read “Who moved my cheese?” get to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia Armstrong

    I always wanted to work in larger radio market but coming from what is considered a smaller market I didn’t think I could measure up. The truth is if you have the right attitude and you are good at your craft you have what it takes. Yes you have to move and that’s scary all on it’s own but it’s worth it for you to at least try. I guarantee by trying a new market you will learn, you will learn a lot! Nothing better than learning more than you know now.

    West Palm Beach is hiring!!! = )

    Liked by 2 people

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