Monday, November 28, 2011

You do less with less

The night before Victory and I went down to Houston for Thanksgiving, I finally finished watching The Wire. Yes, the show that's required viewing if you want to be a white person in the know. I can now join the many folks who find it to be one of the best TV shows of all time . . . because I agree with them. Solid show from top to bottom and all that good stuff.

What I found most compelling was the final season, where a portion is shown at The Baltimore Sun. With buyouts coming and a pressure to deliver a different kind of content in print, there is plenty of drama. And even though I've never worked for a daily paper, I found so much of what was depicted to be spot-on, especially given my layoff last month.

In particular, there's plenty of inspiration in what series creator David Simon did when he himself took a buyout at The Sun. By then, his first book had been turned into a TV series (Homicide) and he made the transition into making The Corner miniseries and The Wire for HBO. Definitely a rare sort of story, but I think it's worth remembering.

With my post-layoff life, I'm not focusing on what went afoul or how I should have done things different or prepared more. I try to think more about what I could do next. Given that half of my office was let go, I feel bad for the people who kept their jobs. Trying to do "more with less," I echo what Simon says about that work mindset: "You do less with less."

As for what I could do next, I'm not tied into a knot of "This is the only thing I know." I'm not cut out to be a salesman, a retail drone, or a janitor, but I'm open to a lot of other things. Just because I worked in radio for 11 years doesn't mean that's the only thing I know how to do. I've kept up with writing/blogging side because I love to do it, want to do it, and find time to do it. Coupled with my multi-tasking ethic and a desire to work with a team (and independently), I can do more than turn on a microphone and speak with authority.

What's difficult in casting a wider net is when you're around people who don't want to cast a wider net. Being in radio, you tend to run into (but not all the time) those who remember when radio was a big fun party. Making near-six figures and only working four or five hours a day can be a blast. But what kind of work ethic comes of that? Not a good one, in my opinion.

I once heard co-worker say, "I remember when I was paid more for working less hours." And this was coming from a guy who worked seven hours a day. Well, that hasn't been my experience -- I worked hard and was paid, but never got much in the way of time off and rarely received a raise.

So, it's been over a month now since the RIF. And I see no reason to give up, pull up stakes and retreat into a hole of self-loathing and depression. I'm glad I had the time to finish Simon's excellent show because it gave me more than simple entertainment. And it let me think about how I can move onto something else, even if it's different than what I've done before.

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