by Scott Statham
"Can you play this spot for the client?" "This cart is bad." "The computer says the spot isn't in there." "Can I use your brain for a while?" "Can you print me a copy of the script we ran for so-and-so last August?" "Mr. B. Chin Mone has a question about his spot. Can you talk to him?"
And those are just off the top of my mind. Certainly you can think of many more ways your precious time is spent.
There's no avoiding the daily intrusions; they come with the job. But the question is, how do they effect our effectiveness? Are these hitches in our day the reason potentially great spots end up being just good or adequate spots? Are they the cause of occasional writer's block?
And now the big question. Have you ever spent the better part of a Saturday or Sunday at work? It could be the answer to your frustrations. Around here, the only people you see at work on the weekends are the jocks, who have their own obvious responsibilities. Quite often, the General Manager is here to get something done, too. But there are no salespeople, no Program Directors, no nobody! Saturdays are yours with nothing to keep you from your goals. (Neither sales, nor programming, nor questions from clients shall keep you from your intended goals.)
When you make the decision to work on a day off, remember that you're doing it for yourself. Most places won't pay you for your time unless you ask ahead of time. And even then, it's questionable. But, it's still worth it. And because it's your time, it's your time to begin and finish those projects you've been hearing in your head for so long. All those scrawled notes collected in the car on McDonald's bags can come to fruition (God, I love my thesaurus) on a Saturday!
Personally, maybe it's a killer demo for your next job, a compilation of your better work for the people in your network, a tape for mom and dad, or a demo to get a new freelance client. Maybe you're just dying to transcribe then re-produce a spot you've heard, to prove you can do it better. (Silly, but oh, so satisfying!)
Professionally, maybe your job takes more than forty hours a week, and you're tired of starting the week two days behind. (Who am I fooling? That should read, "Maybe your job takes more than 60 hours a week....")
Whatever the case may be, don't waste your time. Saturday is your day to do what you will, and if you've made the decision to spend it working, get something done! Make a plan; have specific projects and the necessary information and material. When you walk in the door, you should be ready to go. When you walk out the door, you shouldn't feel like you've wasted the day. Your day.
Nearly two years into this job, one or two Saturdays a month are still spent here doing all of the above. In at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to meet a client and make some money. I've spent Saturdays filling orders and tapes, Saturday afternoons prepping for the following week, Sunday afternoons writing copy, writing to Radio And Production, and on and on.
Spending some of your own time at work over the weekend produces fantastic results. If it's for your job, your peers will notice the difference. It's a real kick to have spec requests that are turned in on Friday ready the first thing Monday morning, or to walk into your office at the start of a week without it being the disaster area you left Friday afternoon. Mondays never felt so good!
On the hunt? A stack of sealed envelopes stuffed with tapes and resumes may be an even bigger thrill for you come Monday morning. (Shouldn't be doing work like that during the regular business week anyway!) When you slip into the studio to listen to your demo, "just one more time," chances are real good IT'S PERFECT! 'Cause nobody was bothering you. You were allowed to concentrate.
As creative souls, the demand and routine of the work week may prohibit true or complete expression. That frustration begets more frustration and before you know it, you hate your job. It sounds idiotic, but working a Saturday may actually increase the appreciation you have for your job. And if your GM hangs at work on the weekends, think of the points you'll score!
I'm sure there are those out there that never, never, never work a weekend. It's your time; you don't even have to get out of bed on Saturday. I'm a work-aholic, or maybe just a radio junky, and I have found that 4 hours work on a Saturday equals about two days work during the week. If you're feeling the pinch of too much work Monday through Friday, the itch to make a move, or the juices of creativity gushing toward eruption, control the flow with a Saturday at work. And when you're there, call me. I'll probably be here.