Timing. It’s all about timing.
I’ve learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything … at least not at the same time. I consider my priorities not in terms of what activities I can do, but what I should do that is most advantageous for all parties involved. Timing is everything and, for me, the time has come to thank Joan Gillman for our many wonderful years of producing a radio show together, and to take off my headphones, turn off the microphone, and leave the WTDY studio.
Together, Joan and I have produced more than 1,200 hours of interviews. And during those years spent talking to area business, government, and nonprofit leaders for a drive-time audience five nights a week, I’ve also published In Business magazine. I worked with staff to launch two In Business websites, and I’ve volunteered for three to four nonprofit boards every year, and serve as a “Safe from Harm” trainer for the Salvation Army.
On my “own time,” in the last five years, I worked for nine consecutive months at the Salvation Army for 20 hours a week to resurrect an emergency disaster team. That’s besides the full-time job at IB with radio show thrown in. I’ve taken 9,000-plus photographs of tombstones as a find-a-grave.com volunteer, logged thousands of hours of research time for my own business as a genealogist, created 16 books for family and friends, put 10,000 photographs on Flickr, made a half-dozen aprons for my daughters, maintained a blog for bereaved parents, logged thousands of miles driving back and forth to Chicago to visit grandchildren every other weekend, and tried to maintain long-distance relationships with my Illinois kin and a few closely held friendships here.
Whew, right? Yes, it’s a lot. And I’m thankful for the fairy tale life I’ve led these past years and grateful to the audience and advertisers who have supported our radio programming. Thank you, thank you, thank you. But I need to step back from the ledge for now and take a breather.
Now, my internal clock says I need to do other things with the hours spent driving back and forth to and from the station every week, with those moments spent waiting for guests, fiddling with equipment, drinking studio coffee, and announcing “We are In Business, and tonight our guest is ….” I need the flexibility to be able to take an unscheduled vacation day to go to Chicago, if I’m needed there mid-week, or to write an extra story for In Business at 4 in the afternoon instead of 1 in the morning.
It’s time to leave the recording studio while I’m still authentically engaged in the stories being told, to join my colleagues again who capture them in ink. I love the feel of a magazine in my hands and still get a thrill when each issue is delivered by the printer, boxed with that fresh inky smell. First and foremost, I’m a writer, and frankly, I miss writing.
It’s time to leave the demands of producing a weekday show while my grandchildren are young enough to believe that time spent with Nana is magical and precious. It’s time to leave the headphones behind, while IB still values my leadership and benefits from my participation in our other product lines. I want to more fully engage with the committees I serve on and be available for after-hours impromptu staff gatherings.
It was a hard decision to come to, but it’s right for me and for the company I lead, and I trust that Joan will continue her work in radio after this transitional period in the coming weeks, until it’s her own “right time” to set her headphones aside, too. She’s been a great partner, a great friend, and I wish her all of the happiness she’s brought into my life returned tenfold.
Thank you, Joan, for the memories.
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