It was around 9:30 Friday morning, five years ago today, that my Station Manager informed me, "budget cuts, it's your turn, Sharon will go over your paperwork." I laughed. He left the room. "It wasn't supposed to be you. This isn't fair." That's what I heard. But it didn't matter. And that was how 15 years at 698 South Willow Avenue ended for me.
I wasn't ushered out with security after being laid off. I went back into the Magic studio to finish the Friday edition of Jane Magazine. There was one voice track left to play right before 10am. I could've gone live to break the news, but I just didn't want to get emotional. I had been plenty emotional during 9/11, during the Virginia Tech shootings, you name it. I realized I didn't want to leave my show on a downer.
The problem came when the entire staff came in. Well, almost the entire staff. It was touching and I shall treasure it. Is it relevant that there was behind-the-scenes drama to which I was made privy? No, not at all. I knew that radio was dying. Sure, I wasn't ready to pull the plug at that moment because I loved doing my show. But I did know it wasn't going to last.
Am I angry that I was laid off? No. Can't say that I am. Once Clear Channel had sold the stations I knew that I had no desire to work with any other company. When the largest radio broadcasting company owns your home so to speak, you get used to a certain level of benefits that small companies cannot compete with.
Do I still see anyone I used to work with? Well, Jim Herrin, sure. We celebrated 20 years of marriage last October. In 2009 there was a lot of contact with my former co-workers. But it slowly faded. Do I have any hard feelings? Not at all. Life goes by pretty fast as Ferris Bueller said. If you don't see someone every single day, it doesn't mean you don't like them, it just means they're not part of your daily life. That's normal. Do I listen to the radio? January 25, 2009 I reactived the Sirius account in my car. No terrestrial radio for me.
If I had not've been laid off, I would've missed a great deal. No doubt I would've had to take a leave of absence due to major medical issues and surgeries. (I'm fine now.) I wouldn't have been able to just be with my daughters. Anna Grace will turn 9 in May and Jenna will turn 8 in August. They are beyond awesome. They're not only beautiful, but they've been gifted with intelligence, sarcasm, and a great sense of timing. You just can't learn timing.
The whole door shuts window opens things is true. Things happen for a reason. When no one in this town would hire me, let alone interview me, I started my own business. And it is extraordinarily successful. Yes, I still dabble in acting and such but we all knew I wasn't going to do that for a living unless I was given my own show. This Type A doesn't do background or principal extra all that well.
What I get now is, "what do you, uh, do now?" I haven't gotten , "you used to be Jane Ellen." Yet. I am still very much Jane Ellen. And I am not defined by my job. In short, I say I make people look good. No, not as a makeup artist (I got bored with that), but as a media coach. I work with branding, marketing, engaging an audience. Yes, engaging an audience-something at which I excel.
I have several major clients. I'm not going to name them here because I often ghost as them on their social media accounts. My specialties are G+ and Pinterest. G+ has been my favorite place to play since its launch in 2011. And with YouTube integration, authorship, Local, and Google search, it's the best way to get you or your company noticed and your audience engaged. Sometimes I just teach G+ because there is a fairly significant learning curve. But it's like going from a rotary phone to a smart phone. There are new features to learn and a new way of thinking, but once you grasp how to use it, it empowers you.
I laugh to myself when I use phrases like audience engagement, thought leader, business transparency, and the like. I can talk tech with the best of them and even understand it. Whoa! My uber geek is in full swing and I couldn't be happier.
My point in writing this is for anyone who feels their world is ending because of a job or a relationship or a whatever. Well, it isn't. That's something I always knew in theory, but now I know it in practice.
I read that most people have five different careers during a lifetime. Everyone has to make a new normal for themselves. For the last ten years of my radio career, the new normal was getting up at 3am to prepare for my show. Since that ended I did national TV, wore iconic fashions, traveled, made new friends and spent a lot of time with my family. I took what I knew and adjusted to the current business climate. Now I'm the one with the right skills at the right time.
Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself in order to succeed. Reinvention means change and change can be scary. You just have to have faith that you'll find your way. I did.