Getting out of the noise floor


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Believe it or not, working in radio used to be fun! Those of us who got into the business in the 1970s and earlier were drawn in because there was some magic about having an association with a radio station. We ended up working alongside the same on-air personalities we listened to as kids. There was a time when people were actually impressed to know someone that worked in radio because radio was bigger than life. Memories were made listening to the radio.

A successful radio engineer needed a unique mixture of skills like creativity, problem solving, dealing with egos, dealing with non-technical managers and working long hours, in addition to an aptitude in audio and RF. Radio engineering in its most basic form always represented something new and something challenging. Looking back on all of it, I think many of us now see those situations as fun on some crazy and what we now call geeky level. Most people don't get to mix work with their hobbies.

I'm not sure when the fun left engineering. Perhaps it was deregulation; limiting the amount of stations a person could own seemed to make better owners. Maybe we can blame Wall Street and the point when radio owners figured out they could go public and suddenly needed to keep the stockholders happy. Or possibly it was the ever-improving automation technologies that took the personality out of radio.

But here we are. Many of us are now left with the responsibility of solely running the show, which doesn't really permit us to do what made us enjoy the business in the beginning. Perhaps the fundamental problem is simply the loss of control we once had. Or the lack of time we now have to complete those (once fun) tasks, or maybe responsibilities are taking us in a direction that seems less interesting.

You're not alone

Satisfaction usually equates to fun in the workplace. According to studies of many large organizations, employees are apparently having less fun at work. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor concluded that only about 23 percent of employees are satisfied in their work situations. Interestingly, the age group that expresses the least satisfaction is in people under 25. The percentage increased in the older age ranges.

The main reasons for job dissatisfaction include:

  • Get the fun back

    Excessive time and effort required at work takes away from personal time, particularly time with family and friends.

  • Excessive stress created by company policies, downsizing, economic conditions, unrealistic goals and expanding responsibilities.

  • Little significant income change as a result of increased responsibilities or excessive work hours.

Manage your time

While changing the way a company operates or its policies may be a little beyond your control, you can change the way you approach a job. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, considered one of the best places to work, has many writings and statements that have become legendary quotes. I think one of those quotes sums up concisely the underlying source of an individual's satisfaction: Control your own destiny or someone else will.



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