I had a bad day.

I had a couple bad days this week (and, yes, it’s only Wednesday). And while this blog is meant to be an inside look at the station and its workings, giving you, dear reader, a greater understanding of the hows and whys, tonight it’s going to be a little more personal.

I had a bad day on Monday. After the most incredible event this organization has ever – ever – pulled off. After a big party full of people who love us and wish us well and wouldn’t think of saying derogatory things about our work. After more incredible food and wine than I’ve seen (and tasted) in one place before.  After having some real money flow in. After watching a truly remarkable staff/team – and I use the term “team” with pride and pleasure – pull together under some ridiculous pressures. After having the genuine buzz of having my grown-up kids take part in my work and make me beam with pride. After having a board that called an extra meeting just to deal with difficult and important issues because they care so much about this work and this community.

After all that, I had a very bad day.

I got tired. Everybody’s been working hard, not just me, and it’s been a heavy load for everyone. Maybe other people have more resiliency than me sometimes. And because I am a real person, sometimes I also have personal junk that just moves in on everything and saps the energy and breaks the heart and . . . I just got tired.

You know how toddlers get when they are just past going? Even if they want to be good, they can’t. You can see it coming but there’s nothing you can do about it. Everything is out of whack and no matter what, there is going to be a melt down. Big, sloppy meltdown. That kind of happened to me, in front of people, and it felt awful and messy and out of control. But you know, it was just going to be like that. I can make amends for that and maybe it helped bring some important things out in the open. I’m glad that it was such an unusual thing that people were really concerned. Thank you for thinking that me being a jerk is not normal.

Then I got a letter on Tuesday that was full of spitefulness and vitriol and it was personal.  It happens.  In fact, it happens a lot and while I will never, ever get used to it, I don’t curl up under my desk and cry any more.  Or call in the bomb squad to check my car. Or examine subsequent envelopes for white powder. But words like “You, Joan Brown, are single-handedly killing classical music radio” do have an effect. (Besides making me feel incredibly powerful – people have been trying to kill classical music for eons and I’ve managed to do it? Single handedly? Be impressed, people, be very impressed.) Those kind of words suck the air out of my lungs and it takes some time to breathe normally again.  They don’t make an inhaler for that.

And that happened the day after the bad day. So a couple of bad days, in a row.

But you know, you still heard all the programs you value. Matt Dance wished you a “Good morning”. Midday Matters covered the news, told you how to vacation, and looked at health issues. StoryCorps is moving ahead (10 am tomorrow!) with so much energy and excitement. Bills got paid (well, some of them) and jazz got played and everybody else just kept on doing what they need to do.

In this tough little organization, small as we are, the GM can have a couple bad, very bad, days and everything still runs like clockwork.  This station is in remarkable hands driven by pretty incredible minds, certainly at the board, governing level, and really truly at the “this is how we do radio everyday” level.  I love that about this place.

Here’s to the good days.  Bad days are, honestly, the exception.

Joan

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3 Comments

Filed under Apologies

3 responses to “I had a bad day.

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your series of bad days. Although I have never been accused of killing classical music, I imagine that you want to simultaneously shake them for being melodramatic and sit back and be horrified that this is what must be going through their head.

    For every person like this letter-writer, Joan, you have 10 fans of the station — 10 people who like the direction you’re headed, and who recognize that you are responsible for there still being a public radio presence in Fort Wayne.

    I just wanted to throw that out there.

  2. Joe Conrad

    Along with leadership comes a little criticism. It always stings when it comes. I think that is a good thing and when it stops we should take it as a warning sign. I wish that those who criticize better understood the sting. And I wish some of them would stand up and lead themselves for a while. They would have a softer heart perhaps. Until then, you remain strong. And get some more rest. All of us toddlers need our naps!

  3. Joan – I was at our Techapalooza workshop today and a guy said, “You cant steer a ship that isnt moving”

    For some reason as soon as he said it, I thought of you. Your ship is moving, my friend. And you are steering it with love and compassion. And doing a damn fine job.

    A wise one said: “But it isnt everyone who can do it”

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