Friday, June 08, 2007

Onward Brash Young Adult

This extended story of my first years of full time employment is happening over a three to four year time period described in the previous two posts about the actions of this brash young adult.

An opportunity for me arose at the local radio station owned by the same family who published the local newspaper. I interviewed, then accepted the behind-the-scenes position at that station. A couple of weeks before my start date, I became aware that the owner/employer with whom I would be working, had a rather serious debilitating habit. Now I was no prude, but this was the first of two instances during my early employment years when I avoided desirable positions offered to me because the individual with whom I would be working reportedly had a serious social problem that came in a bottle. My reasons were based simply on the fact that confidential information had been provided to me indicating that I would be doing all the work there. Much of the time I would be covering for and doing that person's duties and my own for little pay accordingly, and that person would be reaping all the financial benefits.

I phoned that new employer-to-be, told him that I would honor my commitment to accept the position, since it was so close to my scheduled start time, but I thought it was only fair to tell him that after a period of time that I would seek employment elsewhere, probably out of town in television. Now, television wasn't too highly regarded by radio people then, since fear abounded in many that radio listeners would abandon radio to become TV viewers. Radio would die as broadcasting employees would simultaneously lose their jobs. I had literally waved a red flag in front of the bull, so to speak, which likely escalated his anger toward me, because he did become more than annoyed. He, of course, did not know all of the factors motivating my decision. He, also, likely resented being placed in the position of having to accept me under those circumstances, or needing to hire someone else.

He tried to convince me of the folly of my intent when his position had so much to offer me. I was firm in my conviction which escalated his outward expression of displeasure with me even more. I didn't mind his anger, since my forthrightness allowed him to save face, essentially forced the withdrawal of the offer, which is what I wanted in the first place.

By this time, I was feeling a bit guilty about having withdrawn from positions I had accepted much too quickly. I was beginning to realize I was allowing the enthusiasm of the interview moments to affect my reactions. Also, affecting my actions were my concerns that if I didn't act immediately the job would no longer be available to me. I just was not giving the positions ample consideration before accepting or rejecting offers. This kind of behavior was not in keeping with what I believed to be a moral imperative, which was to honor commitments, not back out on them once made. Throughout all this, I was creating dilemmas for myself. There was little doubt how the employers felt as each, finally, vitriolically informed me that if I ever wanted to work for them again they would not be favorably disposed to hiring me. Their words were in considerably stronger terms.

Years later, as news of our nation's first manned flight into space emerged, I thought, just think had I accepted employment at that college I would probably eventually have met their famous alumni, astronaut John Glenn.

I had already given notice and a final employment date to my present employer at the bank. After they learned of my change in plans, I did not rescind my resignation much to their consternation. I remembered the previous conversation with them about future opportunities for my career progression. I pictured that glass ceiling still hanging pretty low, so I knew I would leave there.

Despite all that, my employer at that time ultimately did seem pleased I was still around, and asked me to stay on there despite all my machinations, though I hardly viewed them as such then. In all my wisdom, I knew for my own well-being I needed to leave that town. So, I politely declined, saying I was leaving sooner or later. They must surely have thought I was crazy. They accommodatingly said I could continue working until I actually had a position to which I could go.

Somewhere in the time frame of all this, I answered an ad for an interesting sounding position in the northern part of the state by one of the Great Lakes. There was a distance problem for me as I would not be able to drive home quickly and easily, if needed. There was no commercial airport in town, but then air transportation was not used as readily as is done now.

I was invited for an interview, so drove up the day before, stayed overnight in a hotel, entertained myself the night before by going to a movie premiere of "South Pacific." I quite enjoyed the story, the music, everything about this show. This trip alone to a new and distant city was quite a rather adventuresome undertaking for a single young woman such as myself in those years. Questions would be raised about a single young woman seen out and about, especially at night, in the minds of most men, and many women, too. You can be sure very few, if any, of the young women in the town where I was, would have done such a thing.

The next morning I had my interview. The only thing I remember about the actual event was that it was with some new publication hoping to capitalize on the television mania sweeping the nation. They hoped television viewers would eventually subscribe to this weekly publication that was named TV Guide.

I wasn't really interested in celebrity stories and gossip, though I had met a few such individuals who peopled the then considerably more limited entertainment news, so expect that attitude came through loud and clear in my interview. They said they'd let me know of any offer after they completed other interviews. Obviously, they weren't concerned I wouldn't be available if they didn't hire me on the spot. Ultimately they didn't offer me a position. I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed.

Employment life went on at the bank, I continued to be restless, and searching for a special employment niche I hoped I would recognize on sight. Then, what should appear in a newspaper from a more centrally located metropolitan area, but a "want ad" for a position at a television station. I'd better save that until next time.


  1. It is interesting that you were not gung-ho over celebrities and gossip in those days, as most young people were. TV Guide might have been an ideal place to get started in that world - since it became so popular. I am looking forward to the next post!

  2. TV Guide, huh?

    Interesting to read about the early effect of television on the then predominant media.

    Sort of how journalists today view bloggers....whippersnappers.

  3. I imagine it was a big deal to drive all that way for a job.
    I eagerly await the next instalment.