Less justified

I’ll tell you now, I don’t come out of this well. Perhaps we could skip chatting this week, what do you think?

A year or 18 months ago, I can’t remember, the local radio station BBC CWR booked me to do an interview about something or other. It was just a phone interview, live into a show, and I’ve done that twenty times or more for various stations. You don’t get paid and as quick as it is to have the chat, it’s always a lot more work beforehand making sure you know your stuff, but I love and relish doing it. Gives me the same buzz I used to get while working in radio.

And doubtlessly because I’ve worked in radio, I get it. I understand how things work and so on that day when the show ran out of time before it got to my topic, I did not care in any measure. Someone from the station phoned right afterwards and sounded as if they usually get people swearing at them for doing this but I shrugged and I told them I shrugged. It’s the way it is, not one pixel’s worth of concern to me.

Equally, as absolute and resolute as they were when they then said they would definitely have me on the next day, I knew and I told them I knew, that the same thing could well happen again and if it did, so what? Radio is radio, news is news, it’s fine. I truly can’t remember the subject now but there was something about it that meant I needed to do some more work the next morning. I remember figuring out that over these couple of days I’d spent two hours on it. That’s two hours out of a freelancer’s week: you’re not getting paid for this but you’re also turning down work you would get money for so it’s a commitment in every sense.

Fortunately, this time they did get to the item. Unfortunately, they interviewed someone else.

Even that is fine. I’m a producer, I completely recognise that you could get better guests than me and that if you can, you’ve got to take them. Got to. No hesitation: the show comes first. I believe that in my very bones.

Only, I found out they got someone better by listening to the show: it was solely when this other guy appeared on air that I discovered I’d been ditched. They could’ve called me with seconds to go and I’d have understood. But they didn’t call before and they didn’t call after, either.

Now, I still kind of get it.

But they phoned this week asking if I could come on the same show and I said that I could – but I wouldn’t.

I can tell you that time is ferociously more pressing now, that taking time out from my work is far harder than it was a year ago, but the truth is that I’d do it like a shot for any station but BBC CWR. This is moot now because they will never ask me again and if they keep a running list of guests who are too petty to use, I’m on there.

The professional thing would’ve been for me to say yes and to do it. Nobody on that station even remembers screwing up that time and it is true that I’m petty being annoyed. It’s not like I’ve spent the year seething, but this week’s call of course reminded me and I just thought, shrug, fuck it.

Fail wail

Now this is a distinction. I am proud of this, though even typing those words to you I just paused to scratch my head. I am proud, it’s just possible that I shouldn’t be.

For it turns out that I am so good at failing, at completely screwing everything up and at being rejected and fired that I’ve just been interviewed about it.

The American podcast series The Successful Failure podcast has a new 45-minute episode devoted to just how badly I do things. Me. The whole show.

Okay, also to how I cope, when I do, and what coping mechanisms I have, when I have any.

The Successful Failure is really about taking bad things in one’s career and learning from them. Before I went on it, I listened to the previous episodes and the recurring theme is about specific failures that have then directly led to specific successes. Maybe I’m lacking in specific successes but where do you want to start with the failures?

I’ve known the producer/presenter Gigi Peterkin for years so she knew to steer me away from topics like my dress sense and hair style which will come back in to fashion, they will. Instead she focused on a few key writing failures and I will tell you she got more out of me than I’d intended to reveal.

I won’t tell you what. And you know how usually when someone writes to you like this, you know they’re going to end with a link and they’re trying to get you to listen?

Not this time.

I will include the link because I get twitchy if I don’t link you out to somewhere more interesting and The Successful Failure podcast is more interesting.

But I am truly fine if you never listen to the episode about me. Seriously, I’m good with that. Forget I ever mentioned it.

The Successful Failure podcast is on iTunes and also at its official site. One thing I can tell you from having done the show is that I’ve been told who else is lined up for an appearance. The show’s got some truly interesting people in the next few weeks.