I recently went out to lunch with two of my friends from the media company where I used to work as a traffic reporter. I met them at the company’s office where they both still work. I’ve made the 40-minute drive from my house to that office hundreds of times, and memories of those commutes flooded back on this latest trip. I remembered speedy drives at four in the morning, when the highways are beautifully clear. Muggy drives with the windows down in the summertime on my way to report the rush to cottage country on Friday evenings. Calming drives in the autumn when trees covered in leaves of red, yellow, and orange brightly frame the 401. White-knuckled drives in the winter, following the tire grooves other cars had made in the snow. Enjoyable drives. Purposeful drives.
I truly enjoyed working in radio. I relished the pressure of having to file multiple reports for multiple stations, hour after hour. There were fun and funny people to work with. There were difficult people to work with. There were irregular hours. It was a job that required you to be “on,” or at least sound like you were, everyday. I loved it when I could crack a joke or be part of the conversation with the hosts who introduced me before my report. I worked on days when my ulcerative colitis was active because I didn’t want to let the disease win, and because I wanted to do my job. I felt proud of the fact that I had a different job, the kind of job that gives off the impression that you’re interesting and unique and talented.
After my second surgery to close my ileostomy and get my pelvic pouch working, I wanted to go back to radio, but I also knew that I needed a full-time job so that I could afford to live independently and get on with the life I’ve had to put on hold for so long. Full-time jobs in radio aren’t easy to come by, and I’ve been reminded recently that even if you manage to land one, your aptitude is no guarantee of job security. Two stations I used to work with in New Brunswick were sold and reformatted this summer. Earlier this week, three people I used to work with in Toronto were laid off from the station they worked for, one of them after 14 years of service. The fickleness of radio is the reason I went back to school at the University of Toronto. I know more than just radio now, and that’s cool, but I still miss being on-air.
I’d like to return to radio someday, but for now, I’ve got something new lined up. Starting next week, I’ll be the communications coordinator for a financial brokers’ membership organization. It’s not talking about highways on the radio, but the job title sounds pretty cool, I think. I was offered the position after months of applying for jobs. When the offer came through, I felt a sense of relief more than anything else. Finally, someone had the common sense to hire me. That pretty communications degree can be put to proper use again, and I’m glad about that. I’m looking forward to overseeing a few different communications streams and working in a variety of areas – website content, newsletters, social media, article writing. But I’m also nervous. Less about my competence or ability to handle the workload, and more about how my body will hold up now that I’ll be commuting to and from an office and putting in a nine-to-five day, five days a week. I hope that my J-pouch will be cooperative and not get in the way of productivity. I hope that I won’t have to take time off to visit doctors or stay at home because I’m not physically up for a day at work. I’m desperate to move my life forward, so I worry about the possibility of yet another setback.
In the fall of 2011, when I started my first internship after graduating from U of T, my colitis flared up within two weeks. Not because of the job, but because my medications were failing. Just before I started my second internship in January 2012, I flared again. When I started a full-time social media specialist job in the fall of 2012, I flared after five months. I’m hoping this time will be different, largely because my useless cunt of a colon is out of my body.
I hope I’ll be okay, professionally and poop-wise, and I hope that I’ll be a valuable inhabitant of this planet again. I’m also looking forward to donning dress shoes and suits; I look less hideous when I wear them.