Is Alan Working?

Posted by Al | Audio,Thoughtful | Thursday 11 December 2008 4:40 pm
[audio:isalanworking.mp3|titles=AR – Is Alan Working? – Featuring: Al]


“Quit My Day Job” by Geoff Smith

“Almost Forgotten” by Acoustic Rosh

“Big World” by The Whole Tribe Sings

Download Link

My Grandmother used to ask me every time I saw her if I currently had a job. “Nan”, as I call her (short for Nanny), would at this point always tell me the same story as if I had not heard it the 100 times before.

My grandparents, and my father for that matter, were born in Great Britain. I’m not so sure they really ever thought it was all that “Great” but England was where they started out. When Nan was a young girl her father was in and out of work quite regularly as were most working class people before and during WWII. Her family were not the nicest people around and to that end they would ask upon seeing her, “Is your Father working?” as a way to embarrass her and make her feel small. After she married my grandfather, the family shifted the question to, “Is Ken working?” My grandfather was an accomplished bricklayer and moved about the country picking up contract work until the money ran out, the boss got on his nerves or the building was finished. He did spend some time looking for the next job, and did very well once he was employed, but the family would not let her forget when he did not have a paycheck. My own father has rarely taken a day off in his life since starting work at an early age. He was acutely aware of the question on the lips of the family and I’m sure this had a large effect on him. But still the question would be asked, maybe now as a matter of habit, “Is Alan working?” And even when the answer was in the positive, I’m sure they just pressed on to the next bit of bad news.

I myself have followed more in the footsteps of my grandfather. Not so much bricklaying, but working on short-term contract. Much of my career has been in the audio and video field which, unless you own your own company and can keep plenty of clients, means you are pretty much a freelancer. And so, each time my grandmother speaks to my father or mother she asks, “Is young Alan working?” And when she asks me herself, “Are you working?” she relays the story once again. Which I find strange, as she explains how rotten it made her feel, maybe not realizing the perpetuation of ill will. How long do family habits like this continue? Even after all involved can admit it was not for the best?

Well Nan, I have a job currently, though the pays not good, and the hours don’t add up, and I have to work second job as well to make ends meet. I know you will be glad to tell the family, “Yes, young Alan is working. Now get off my back!” once and for all.

Two Thirds Majority

Posted by Al | Thoughtful | Monday 25 August 2008 12:16 pm

It seems like such a short time ago I was just turning 30 years old. A lot can happen in 3 years, and even more can happen in a third of a century. On August 25th 2008 I turned 33 1/3 years old. It’s milestones like this that give you the chance to look back on what you have done, as well as a look forward to where you are headed. The question of direction is one that I think people struggle with most of their lives.

1/3 Empty Or 2/3 FullAs a child, I wanted to be a Bus Driver. I can remember wanting to help people get where they are going, in a comfortable, safe and enjoyable manner. I have always felt the need to be in control of what’s going on, but I rarely put my wants over other peoples’ wants and needs. I liked to know what was happening, have some input about it, and have a chance to serve others. It was not about me taking people where I wanted to go, or being the boss. It was about being proud to help them achieve their goals. Even if it was just the goal of getting across town to work.

That’s exactly why I joined a radio show in high school. After years of listening to a local morning talk show on my way to school, it occurred to me that I might be able to make the show better for the listeners. So I drove past the high school that morning and straight to the radio station. I told them, “I can make this show better.” They shrugged their shoulders and said,  “OK. Do it.” It was not about being a celebrity on the radio. It was the pride of knowing the listeners were going to get better entertainment.

I’m not about to go into my full memoirs here, but I think I have enough life experience for a book already. I began my working career in 1991 at the age of 16. In 17 years of paid (and sometimes unpaid) jobs, I have answered to over 40 different companies, bosses or projects. I have run my own company, and helped start many new ones. I’ve worked in a dozen different fields as a freelancer, hourly wage employee and intern.

I’m not saying that where you get paid makes the man. Many people believe their occupation is who they are, not what they do. Even after retirement people answer the question, “What do you do?” with, “I’m retired.” They don’t say, “I play golf… I mow the lawn… I enjoy time with my family…” They answer with the thing that they spent the majority of the time doing. So if we were to choose what we wanted to do with the majority of our lives, why would we not set out to achieve that goal? Why do we get sidetracked with doing things that do not get us what we want?

Since I still have the majority of my life left, I’m taking this opportunity to consider just how focused I am currently on my goals. I have already led a very full life and intend to do much more living. So I guess I’m right on track for my goal in life. To experience life, not just survive. To sample and choose, not just take what is given to me. To learn and lead, not just follow the crowd.

Even if you are not at the 33.333333333… year mark yet, maybe you should get on the bus and ask yourself, “Am I doing what it takes to get what I want?

About Ambush Radio

Posted by Al | Thoughtful | Tuesday 1 July 2008 12:28 am

[audio:3yearoldpromo.mp3|titles=3 Year Old Promo]

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