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underthecity
06-15-2009, 07:31 PM
Not sure if this is an Office Party post or not.

In the 1990s I went to school for broadcast engineering, which at that time, was a hands-on, technical career; and radio stations, I was told, always need engineers.

After the 1990s, radio technology had shifted to computers and IT. I worked as an assistant engineer in radio from 1997 to 2002, after which my job was eliminated when they hired a full time IT guy.

I haven't been able to get back into radio since.

Now, in 2009, ownerships have changed, the economy has changed, and radio is all entirely computer driven, and much of it is automated. Now, instead of one engineer and an assistant being in charge of two or three radio stations, they have one engineer in charge of a cluster of five or more. This isn't entirely new; it was that way a lot in the 1980s, but now it's become much more prevalent and common.

In fact, some places have engineers from one city three hours away be in charge of the sister stations in another market. Unless the station is off the air, the engineers aren't coming.

So, I guess my gripe is that today there's no chance of my ever working in radio again. Local engineering staffs are locked up, and I heard that cutbacks have forced some companies to let some of their engineers go.

Looking back, I see that it was a mistake for me to major in this field, but at the time, I wanted to work in radio. I spent the past two and a half years as a machine wiring technician, but I lost that job in January due to the economic slump.

My career choice is obsolete. It's kind of depressing.

Wayne K
06-15-2009, 07:47 PM
Just publish a book and get rich. Duh!

skelly
06-17-2009, 04:16 AM
Your story is very similar to mine except that (and this will probably piss you off), I didn't get a college education for broadcast engineering. I was (still am, actually) an Extra Class amateur radio operator and the owner of the sports radio station where I got hired was an avid ham operator as well. That was my in, and luckily I learn really fast.

Everything beyond that is about the same though, and it sucks. I really loved working in radio. If it will make you feel any better I will add that after I got booted from radio I got a fantastic manufacturing job that propelled me instantly into the upper middle class. Woo Hoo! Unfortunately they shut the plant down eight years later and sent all the jobs down to may-he-co.

But that's cool since I was able to land a job with a "third party distributor" working in a warehouse that distributes for a major company. Sure, it was over a 50% pay cut, but at least I've been working these last two years, eh? Woo Hoo!

Well, up until today, when I was told they are shutting us down at the end of September.

Probably I'll write a fucking book about it.

mario_c
06-17-2009, 07:01 AM
That is really a tough break. What about doing something similar like working in cellular technology or wireless broadband? What certs would you need, and how hard would it be to learn the new technology? If you are unemployed, you certainly have time to study.

This is when you sit on the corner with a cup of coffee, look at the people going by and think: Who do I want to be? What else am I good at?

maestrowork
06-17-2009, 07:00 PM
Other than writing, probably a good idea to look into changing careers. It feels sad like you've wasted your time, but focus on the future. People change careers all the time. We adapt and change and move forward. It seems to me that you could probably transition to digital/computer technologies with some training. Or go into digital TV broadcast. For example, my friend who was an analog editor for decades eventually moved to digital editing and he did two movies already. Someone I worked with used to be a steelworker, but he went back to tech school and now is a computer programmer.

rhymegirl
06-17-2009, 09:02 PM
Yes, I think people have to keep rediscovering themselves.

My older sister lost her job after 26 years with the company. It took her about 10 months to find another job and she had to take a cut in pay and start at the bottom with this new company.

One important thing for everyone is to keep your skills up to date. My sister resisted learning about computers for years, then finally had to learn.

LorelieBrown
06-17-2009, 09:35 PM
I considered going to college for journalism. Thank christ I didn't follow through with that plan. Now I work for Uncle Sam.

But hey, I'll tell ya what - I'll give you this multi-million dollar book deal idea I've been sitting on. It's for YA, and there's this girl, and werewolves, and vampires -- but the twist is the vampires sparkle....

What? What're the groans for?

aadams73
06-17-2009, 09:44 PM
Other than writing, probably a good idea to look into changing careers. It feels sad like you've wasted your time, but focus on the future.

This.

It's probably scary with new baby, but this could be such an exciting adventure. It's not every day that people get to reinvent what they do and choose a new path.

Think hard about what you might like to do then do it.

underthecity
06-17-2009, 09:54 PM
Just publish a book and get rich. Duh!

I've tried. In fact, I was writing that book during the two and a half years I worked there. Well, not during, but throughout. So far, no agents have picked it up.


If it will make you feel any better I will add that after I got booted from radio I got a fantastic manufacturing job that propelled me instantly into the upper middle class. Woo Hoo! Unfortunately they shut the plant down eight years later and sent all the jobs down to may-he-co. My last job, the one I lost in January, was at a manufacturing plant. I just heard yesterday that they've laid off even more people in the last two weeks. My guess is, that they've probably let go about 90% of their employees. My further guess is, that if things don't change, they're going to close.



That is really a tough break. What about doing something similar like working in cellular technology or wireless broadband? What certs would you need, and how hard would it be to learn the new technology? If you are unemployed, you certainly have time to study.

This is when you sit on the corner with a cup of coffee, look at the people going by and think: Who do I want to be? What else am I good at?
After leaving radio, I decided never to do anything technical ever again. That changed within a year, and I worked at a A/V installation company for nine months. Then they let me go.

Study a new technology? I've thought about it. I could probably work for a cellular company, but I'm not sure I'd like it.

What else am I good at? Writing.



Other than writing, probably a good idea to look into changing careers. It feels sad like you've wasted your time, but focus on the future. People change careers all the time. We adapt and change and move forward. It seems to me that you could probably transition to digital/computer technologies with some training. Or go into digital TV broadcast.

I've thought about this, too. If a TV station is hiring, and if they're looking for assistants, and if they feel my out-of-date experience in a different field will transition, and if they don't have 900 better applicants than me, then I might have a chance. Believe me, I've given it a lot of thought. It seems like the technology sector is locked up.



Yes, I think people have to keep rediscovering themselves.

My older sister lost her job after 26 years with the company. It took her about 10 months to find another job and she had to take a cut in pay and start at the bottom with this new company.

I don't mind taking a cut in pay as long as it doesn't equal to what I'm going to have to pay in day care, or some other alternative. Her grandma might be able to look after the baby, but we just don't know right now. If I buckle and take a job that pays $10 an hour, and it costs over $10 an hour for child care, then what's the point?



I considered going to college for journalism. Thank christ I didn't follow through with that plan. Now I work for Uncle Sam.

Sometimes I wish I had majored in journalism, but with newspapers shutting down, who knows where I'd be now. Sometimes I wish I had majored in business management. Actually, I kind of wish I had majored in marketing. But nooooooo, I liked radio.

At the very least, my extended unemployment benefits are good for five months. Then I read today that after that, I might qualify for two more months. So, it looks like I'm set for a year as long as nothing breaks.

LorelieBrown
06-17-2009, 10:05 PM
Sometimes I wish I had majored in journalism, but with newspapers shutting down, who knows where I'd be now. Sometimes I wish I had majored in business management. Actually, I kind of wish I had majored in marketing. But nooooooo, I liked radio.


I can tell you were you'd be - in the same place you are now. My mom worked in newspapers for ~30 years. She was senior management for the SF Chronicle. She took a buy out 4 years ago & went to law school. Says it was one of the best moves she ever made. A LOT of her contemporaries didn't take buy outs and it was just delaying the inevitable.

Fokker Aeroplanbau
06-17-2009, 10:18 PM
Clearly you should go into a new and vibrant industry, like the newspaper or automotive sectors of the economy.

Mela
06-18-2009, 12:43 AM
I can tell you were you'd be - in the same place you are now. My mom worked in newspapers for ~30 years. She was senior management for the SF Chronicle. She took a buy out 4 years ago & went to law school. Says it was one of the best moves she ever made. A LOT of her contemporaries didn't take buy outs and it was just delaying the inevitable.

Boy you got that right.
Both my husband and I worked in community newspapers - him for something like 20 years; me for maybe 18 years. I left the organization - one of the biggest newspapers in the state owned by one of the biggest newspaper chains in the country - because I didn't like what they were doing with me. Went back to the magazine I freelanced for while in college and I'm still here.

But then I got disenchanted and I tried exhaustively to get back to newspapers; as did my husband, who now works in non-profit. And today, we tell each other that some kind, dead relative was watching over us, preventing us from making the biggest mistake of our lives.

So underthe city, never think that the career would have been all that had it worked out. The trick is, I think, to evolve beyond it.

underthecity
06-18-2009, 04:34 PM
never think that the career would have been all that had it worked out. The trick is, I think, to evolve beyond it.

Yeah, I know. My feeling, though, is that if I had majored in journalism, at least I would have learned about journalistic writing, which is kind of its own beast.

But I know I'm not in the minority of people who had to change careers.

For instance, I went to school with a guy who was majoring in journalism and worked at the campus newspaper circa 1995 or so. In 2003, when I took a temp job, I saw him at the temp job in another department--definitely not doing any journalism.

One of my classmates in college was minoring in radio production (or maybe majoring) and I ran into him on facebook just recently. He now manages a law office. That was so . . . bizarre.

Another guy I went to school with was majoring in marketing and minoring in radio. He was an incredible air talent with limitless imagination and great at production. After working in radio for a while he got an IT job, where he had no prior experience or education.

And finally, a good friend of mine who majored in radio production, an incredible talent and a hell of a guy, worked his butt off to continuously improve his on-air work, and did in fact work in radio for a few years, eventually becoming the imaging guy at one of the largest conglomerates in the city. His voice was heard on many spots across all their stations, he was busy constantly, made a decent, but not giant, salary, and was happy with what he was doing. He was getting burned out, though, because it was so nonstop, but overall he liked it.

Then, when the economy and recession hit, the company laid off 1/3 of its staff, including him. He got a good severence package and is currently unemployed, and is in the process of starting a freelance production company in his apartment.

So, all in all, I need to re-invent myself. I tried the freelance route one other time, and it ended in disaster. I've often thought about trying it again.

mario_c
06-19-2009, 09:59 AM
Freelancing is normal when you lose your job. Most 'entrepreneurs' and 'small business owners' are basically keeping their skills and networks fresh while they look for a 'real' job; they don't put the commitment in and so the business closes when they get hired. (Key word is most.)

I am in what I hope will be my last corporate job, and definitely the last job doing what I do. I like to draw up different itineraries and plans of what I would do if I was laid off tomorrow. (After I party like its 1999 :D ) There are also freelance jobs in my different skills that I could do. It could work if you have the discipline to cold call and network every minute of the day that you're not working on projects.
What I would love to do is move to LA and pursue my movie writing full time, but that part of the country is so severely hit by unemployment, the notion of going there without a job is more than career suicide. So I query from CT and hope for the best.
Unemployment could be quite an adventure, but it could cost lots of money, so I don't do it.

Good luck!