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Next Steps

Posted on 5 August 2014

A while back I posted about my last day as a host of CBC Daybreak North. That post came a little early because, as it turned out, I was back on the air the next week and stayed there until early last month.

At the time I wrote that the next steps for me were back to my original role as an associate producer, helping put together the show. But that didn’t last long.

I’m happy to say that for the next nine months I will be the producer of Daybreak North, the most-listened to morning radio show in northern British Columbia.

This is an interesting step for me. When I started as a part-time fill-in researcher four-and-a-half years ago, my goal was to get a job. When I got that, I thought that maybe a decade or so down the line I might make it up to producer. So to be stepping into that role now is, well, humbling.

A few things. First, this isn’t permanent. The regular producer is great at his job and the only reason I’m doing it now is because he’s taking some time off to spend with his family (for real, this isn’t one of those haha-there’s-really-a-secret-plan-here-we’re-just-not-saying lines, he’s legitimately spending time with family. This has been planned for years). So I should only be doing this job until next spring.

Second, I’m still super nervous about this. I’ve done the producer job before, but only a few days or maybe weeks at a time. There was always a very nearby window when this would end. This is far longer. It’s big.

Third– HOLY COW, I’M THE PRODUCER OF A CBC RADIO SHOW. Do other people ever feel like this? Where you mostly just do your job but every once in a while realize how crazy it is that you’ve actually achieved it? I have so much respect for what CBC is and stands for. I still think of myself as more of a fan than an actual part of it that I have these moments every once in a while. This is one of them.

Fourth, my viewpoints of what a producer/manager is have definitely evolved the closer I’ve gotten to taking on this role. My uninformed outsider view is that you’re “the boss”, giving orders and shaping things to your vision of how they should be. Not true at all. Yes, the buck stops with you, but it’s not as simple as being a top-down manager. I’m working hard at having the decisions I make be based on agreed-upon values, ones given to us from CBC mandates and agreed-upon locally. This isn’t “what does Andrew want to do?” but “how can Andrew best make sure what we’re doing aligns with what we should be doing?” So now a lot of the stuff I used to think was kind of silly, copororate talk has a lot of value for me: mission statements, pillars, etc. These can easily devolve into pointless mumbo-jumbo, yes, but if you hone it down and focus I think they can be a valuable tool. So learning to use them well will be a challenge.

Finally, I’m learning how to help other people do their jobs. The last five years my role has been to get a task, do it, and find ways to do it better. Now I’m still doing that, but I also have a direct impact on the ability of other people to do their jobs. I want to be good at that. I don’t want to be an obstacle-creator, over-assigner, or micro-manager. This means a lot more paying attention to how I interact with others, and how I can do simple things like ask questions and have conversations better. It also means getting out of the way as much as possible, and getting other annoying things out of the way, as well. A lot of my job is going to be making sure technical things are working, mailing letters, and washing dishes. For more on this line of reasoning, see this piece by Sash Catanzarite called “Wash the Dishes When Nobody Else Will.”

Anyways, this isn’t a real thought out blog post, more of a status update of where I’m at professionally and how I’m feeling at this point in time. Excited, nervous, hopeful. Here goes.


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