DON'T TAKE THE FURRY GONKS
..So how DO you cope with it. First of all, you don't. In media land you're always the last to know, though security were told weeks ago. They're on the look out in case you get wind of the decision and decide to nick the stationary or the furry gonks on the researcher's desk.
Naked Ambition good? Hiding behind niceness, Bad.
The thing to remember, is that if you are a presenter, you're probably on more money AND you have a higher profile than the people who do all the real hard graft. So, they may be sad to see you leave, but frankly alot of them want your job. I like the fact that there is a kind of naked ambition in newsrooms. You know where you are. Sometimes, in other environments, the public sector, charities and churches, conflict is all fuzzy and hidden. You know it's there, but you can't quite get to grips with it.
I Don't Like Your Hair, Your Script or YOU?
Truthfully, a development charity I've just worked for, was great at being upfront. In a supposedly 'caring' environment, 'conflict' can be seen as a negative. However, being shouted at in a breakfast newsroom because the producer doesn't like you, your script and your hair, is going a bit too far the other way. In this case I shouted and swore back. The room went quiet, mainly because women (at that time) didn't shout, so it was all a bit of a shock. I didn't know I had it in me.
Danny took My Place.....
And after I'd cried in the boss's office: (I had to walk out into the open plan area and into the ladies to get loo roll as I was crying. Bits of it stuck to my face - very attractive)...after the deed was done, I eventually emailed him to say 'good luck'. I do actually believe that just because you lose your job; and I have lost several, it doesn't mean there isn't 'enough' in the world or that I am 'doomed, crap, hopeless'; and so on. None of this was to do with Danny. He is so talented anyway, he probably didn't need the work that much; but, like me, just loves radio.
I Was My Job
I was far too overidentified with my radio job at that time, anyway. I choose to see this now as the beginning of a process of dismantling. This is still going on, but during those high stress and fun full on times, that was what I lived for. My poor boyfriend at the time handled the Catford sacking saga really well. He took time out from his work on the day it happened and supported me as I got through 20 fags and alot of wine in Cafe Rouge near his office.
It's All About Meeee
Everyone in the public eye, has some kind of ego. But when it takes a hit; and there's no other real passion in your life, then you're stuffed. Celebrity's crap too, honestly. I've been very big in Reading (!) (worked in local radio there), though I have done my share of national shows too. Needing other people's approval can become a drug. So when they don't love you any more you get withdrawal and fall apart.
I wasn't in a position to hang about before finding work after all of this. I started freelancing at BBC Breakfast doing night and day producer shifts. This was bloody hard. It was also humbling, very useful in terms of learning new skills, but sometimes humiliating. One old colleague came over to my desk and said, loudly; 'oh look how the mighty have fallen!' I said; 'it's called paying the mortgage, mate.' I spelt 'antibiotic' wrong on a TV graphic, and was ripped apart by the editor publicly. We talked about that afterwards, and I explained that shaming people wasn't great. We got on afterwards, fine.
...And Where I'm At Now?
Truthfully I am not sure. I love the radio I get to do; I have been quite ill on and off for about 2 years; recovering from all that stress, the early starts and the hiring and firing. But I can feel a different kind of Clare emerging. I reckon I probably was 'up my own xxse; wasn't really being me, but trying to be something I wasn't. I get to write books I believe in, have done a couple of degrees whilst working (that's tiring), do my Pause For Thoughts, pass on media skills and get paid for it, and all kinds of other bits and pieces. If a radio programme comes back - that will be a gift, not a right. And if it doesn't; there's always other things. I have enough money today, enough interesting work and enough time for me. That's all I need.
Oh yes, you DON'T put a hyphen in ANTI-BIOTIC. Just so you know.