Friday, December 7, 2018
Elves at Work
Yesterday, I wrote that I wasn't much of a Christmas person, and I'm done apologizing for it. As the great philosopher Popeye once said, "I am what I am." Plato said "an unexamined life is not worth living," so let's take a look.
I had great holidays as a kid. When did it get off the tracks? I think the light started to flicker as a teen, and I really don't have a good reason for it.
I should establish right now that I truly do appreciate the significance of the day, and I have much for which to be thankful, especially this year.
I've been on the air somewhere since 1979, counting college radio. I'm guessing that in those 40 years, I must have worked Christmas 30 times, probably more. No complaints. As I always say, when you take a job in news and broadcasting, you have to know that working holidays is part of the package. If you can't accept that, it might be time to think about doing something else. And, yes, I do realize that some people absolutely hate working holidays.
I am blessed in that I am local and the family is local. There are no long hours on the road, no frustration of being stuck in an airport. I could pull a Christmas shift, even if it was an overnighter, get a little sleep, and still have some family time. And, if my working Christmas gives a Christmas lover an opportunity to have the day off, great! It's my gift to the universe.
Here is the advice part, and it's for the younger people-- not just in broadcasting, but any business that needs people to work holidays. Do it. You might get a chance to attempt something you ordinarily wouldn't do. Case in point, the first WNEP newscast I ever anchored was on Christmas morning 1998. It wasn't a great performance, but it wasn't awful either. It was a foot in the door, a chance to enter the anchor rotation at the top station in town, the station I grew up watching. It was a dream come true. I gave up a little time on a Christmas morning and received quite a bit in return. It was like a gift to myself.
My first Christmas at WARM was 1981. This was the time before mega conglomerates. One station. One building. One guy working Christmas Eve in to Christmas morning. Me. All I did, for hours and hours, was put reels of religious programs and Christmas music on the tape machines, and hit "play" every half hour. It wounds horrible, and looking back, it probably was. On the other hand, I had a job at a good station and I was happy to have it. Working Christmas, I hope, proved to management I had a good attitude and a strong work ethic.
And in case you're wondering, yes, I am working Christmas this year. I hope it won't be the last.