by Sterling Tarrant
If you are in a really bad mood, if you hate your job, if you feel your boss and co-workers are the biggest jerks in the world, DON'T read this column. I don't want you to get jealous, or feel pressured to feel better in any way. The reason is this: today I ordered my second Orban DSE 7000 Digital Sound Editor--all the bells and whistles, all the new effects, an external DAT backup and all. Today my boss let me spend over $20,000 to get a second production studio going. On top of this he's given me oodles and oodles of reasons to stay right where I am. I work at a happy place, even more so than my previous job at Disney World. There's forward momentum, a positive outlook, fun people, the money's not bad, and there's more chances to challenge myself creatively. I just looked at my driver's license and the name had changed to Pollyanna. Even the picture looks better.
Plus, I've got a new baby (the sweetest and cutest in the world). My wife looks six years younger than she actually is, and we actually look forward to spending lots of time together and are more deeply in love than we ever have been in our nine years of marriage. I've got a nice house, two fun dogs, hot chocolate provided for me at work, and it's fall...my favorite time of year. The bluebird of happiness would be perched on my shoulder if only he hadn't flown south out of Colorado (the most beautiful place on earth) for the coming winter.
Thanksgiving is coming, but excuse me, I'm starting early, and I'm doing it with the help of some of my friends in the biz, all of whom I'm thankful for.
Craig Rogers, WHO, Des Moines: In the material world I'm thankful for my DSE-7000 (of which he also has two), an on-air light that keeps people out, and, on a more serious note, my wife, family and a roof over our heads.
Kathy Morgan, KOSP-FM, Springfield, MO: I've got a list of things I'm thankful for, but rattling it off will make me sound like Kathy Lee Gifford. Getting past all the spots that have gone wrong, and all the client from hell stories, and getting right down to it, I'm pretty thankful that I'm able to do a job that's not just a job, but something that is a real passion for me. I'm thankful that my company provides the support, encouragement, equipment, and professional training that I need to get the job done. I'm thankful that they prize their people as their number one resource. I'm thankful, too, that I have great friends here who aren't just friends, but they're family, even though that sounds so cliched. I think it all comes down to being thankful for the people in my life who one, let me be creative, and two, let me remain a kid at heart.
Greg Williams, WMC-AM, Memphis, TN: I would say secondary to my foundational thankfulness for Christ and his saving grace, I'd say I'm most thankful for my family, especially my recently born fourth child. I'm thankful that I have a job and thankful that, as I'm getting older, and after having to deal with job change after job change, that it's all the same "schtick." I have a friend who works for a government contractor. Someone who's been hired and fired dozens of times. After the latest cycle of paranoia came around, and everyone in his office was freaking out over losing their jobs, he was sitting back and saying, "You know, God has taken care of me before, and I'm not going to worry about it because I've wasted enough energy worrying about it all the other times." I'm of the same mindset. Here we've gone through two ownership changes. We're losing both stations' Program Directors, our Chief Engineer, a new GM is coming in, and people could be freaking and getting their tapes together. But I'm sitting back and thinking that they'll always need production, so I'm assured there. But I'm thankful that I can take that out of the picture, because my assurance is in Christ and in my family and in my faith, and my job is just gravy. Granted, sometimes the gravy is thin and watery. Right now it's thick and chunky and rich. I've sat at the table with both servings. I'm thankful that life is tasty right now. I'm thankful for other job opportunities and for being able to free-lance. I'm thankful for a chance to grow, to stretch out into television voice-overs. I'm thankful that I'm able to put my talents to good works. Most of all, I'm thankful that there is a tomorrow.
That is true. There is a tomorrow. I was just looking back over my Q it Up column from exactly one year ago. It was at that time that it was announced that our station was being sold. We went through the holiday period with a lot of uncertainty. My wife and I were dealing with infertility and wondering if we would ever have kids, or if we would even be in the same place for much longer. I learned to pray a lot and to have the mindset that Greg Williams spoke of above. One year later, and I'm full of thankfulness. If these situations are a little too sugary for you, I want you to know that I don't consider all of life to be so rose colored. Like a sine wave, life will go up and will go down. It's guaranteed. But I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Find the thing that is constant. The earth always spins, the compass needle always points north, and Production Directors always save the day. It's in that kind of consistency that I find comfort and thankfulness. May you be pointed to what is constant and absolute, and in the process may you discover, like a pilgrim, a Happy Thanksgiving feast.