Sunday, March 11, 2007

the happiest place on earth is not the CBC

I have news - good and bad, of course. After a whopping 3 months on the job the CBC has - in their unfathomable wisdom - decided to lay me off. This sucks. Especially since I turned down other work in favour of working for the CBC because they offered me a 6-month contract. Personally, I think asking employees to try to plan their lives in 6 month increments is enough to ask - but to turn around and kill a contract half-way through??? I have been assured that this layoff has absolutely nothing to do with my performance - rather the mandate for the program I am working for has changed. Neat.

Now, I've worked in television long enough to know that this kind of shit happens all the time. But that doesn't make it okay. It's just nasty. How can the Corporation demand loyalty from its workforce when they keep busting the kneecaps of their employees? I have been laid-off from the CBC three times now. It makes me very, very angry - just like that little Martian fellow from Looney Toons. But what can I do?

I love working for the CBC - so, I put up with the short contracts and premature lay-offs. I don't want to break up with the CBC, but I keep getting stood-up and rejected. And like most dysfunctional relationships - the more the Mother Corps rejects me the more I crush on her. Sigh. I reckon I'd better buff up the old resume. Maybe I should have listened to my mother and had gone into the exciting world of medical reception instead. I'd be wearing sensible shoes, a uniform with a comfortable elastic waistband and I'd probably be married to a nice pharmacist or something.

"You've just been fired! What are you going to do next?" I'm going to Disneyland. For reals. Get this: After I signed my "6-month contract" I promised my daughter I would take her to Disneyland. She's nine and she has such a hard-on for the Happiest Place on Earth that I knew this had to be the year of the mouse for us. After all, it's only a matter of time before she gets too cool for school and stops believing in the supernatural powers of Main Street US and A and it's not like she's having the time of her life as the child of a single parent. So, I laid it down. I PROMISED. This wasn't a "we'll see" or "maybe next year" - this was a full-on giving of my word. Besides, I had a good job with a real future - why shouldn't we go to Disneyland? You can see where this is heading...

So, I lost my job and I had a big-ass promise to contend with. Kids don't care if you lose your limbs in a freak accident or if your bank account is wiped out by Winners - a card laid is a card played. Sure, they'll pretend to understand if they're old enough, but they'll never really forgive you. I know this because my parents reneged on a Disneyland promise. That was 22 years ago and I still haven't forgotten. Now, don't think the white bread privilege of this conundrum isn't lost on me, but you play in the sandbox you wandered in to. And so, the trip to Disneyland features heavily in this story.

Where was I? Right - the good news! Well, I had discussed going to D-land with a fellow co-worker a few times because she has kids and she's taken hers to the park many times. She offered on a few occasions to give me some tips and was basically very cool about it. Well, on the evening of pink slip day she called me at home and told me to check my email. And, Jiminy Cricket - if there wasn't a 4-day, all inclusive vacation to the Magical Kingdom booked in my name! She took care of everything. We're talking air, hotel and even park passes.

I was stunned. I thanked her profusely and I wish I could come up with some creative way to thank her more. She responded with something along the lines of that it's her pleasure and that it's important to keep promises to your children. The kindness of this gesture blows me away. I know if I had the means I would love to do something like this for someone and so I am trying to deal with my gratitude accordingly. I have managed to stop thanking her every time I email her and I will - as they say - pay it forward when I can.

So, there you have it. Very bad news tempered by really good news. I'm still unemployed and times are going to be tough - AGAIN - but I have friends who do wonderful things. And once the rent is paid and the groceries are bought I'll at least have something to look forward to. And I kept my promise! That's one less future therapy session for my daughter.


Anonymous n said... that is a gift.Also restories faith in magic.

3/12/2007 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Ken Regan said...

There is more to life than the CBC. As an ex-CBC TV News producer,I can assure you of this.

There are also (believe it or not) other reputable employers such as Alberta's CKUA Radio Network who seek out and hire qualified, conscientious and dedicated broadcasters; and though they probably can't match CBC's cadillac pay/benefits package, they do pay competitively, provide decent benefits/pension, etc...but most importantly allow creative freedom !!! Many CBC producers, technical people, hosts, journalists, have transported through CKUA over the years, including Yvonne Gall (at Radio 3,) Dan Cherwoniak, (Saturday Night Blues and Key of 'A'), Alex Frame (retired V-P Radio) Heather Abbott (Senior Producer - TV - London Bureau) ...and many more.
Don't know if it will work for you, but you may want to check it out.

3/12/2007 4:10 PM  
Blogger Justin Beach said...

I'm in the wrong part of the country, but since I'm also looking I'll keep an eye out (I sometimes get ads for the wrong part of the country). Let me know if there's anything I can do beach.justin[at]gmail[dot]com


3/12/2007 6:48 PM  

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