career

'After 9 years of hard work, I was finally achieving my dreams. Then COVID happened.'

My career in radio was a slow burn. As Drake would say, I started from the bottom. 

I worked for free and started off as the receptionist at a radio station. I was so driven it became my life’s purpose to get on air and when that finally happened; I felt like I was on my way. 

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As I mentioned before, it was a slow burn, but I managed to progress very slowly. Over nine years I moved five times across the country. It was hard. I was away from friends and family and I missed out on milestones, but I was driven.

As hard as it was at times, I knew I had found my place. I loved being behind the microphone and connecting with listeners. In fact, when life got tough it became a source of comfort. I felt like the studio was my protective bubble from the world. 

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And after years of hard work and sacrifice, I managed to find my sweet spot – my dream job in a dream location. I pushed myself to my limits and took every opportunity, which included things like live television, a TEDx talk and launching a podcast. I was on buses and billboards and I had to pinch myself every single time I saw them. It was never lost on me. 

And then came COVID.

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I was a part of a wave of redundancies and my dream job literally didn’t exist anymore. I will say I was fine, I didn’t take it personally, but my heart ached for an industry I loved and my colleagues that were out of a job.

I feel lucky I got relocated and I have a job. I didn’t dare speak openly about my grief for what I had lost because I was considered one of the lucky ones and I even considered myself to be just that. But as the dust has settled, I realised that even as I count my blessings, I can’t help but feel a tinge of loss. 

This pandemic has created a new normal for so many of us and perhaps later on, it will be a lesson in resilience.

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For so long I have put on a brave face and even as I type this I am self-conscious of who will be reading this. All of our lives have been forever changed by COVID and I am well aware that most people reading this have suffered from not being able to see loved ones, being locked down, and having their milestones cancelled. 

One thing I am learning to do is to adapt and power on, but the most important lesson I am also learning is to not minimise the uncomfortable space that we are sitting in, between life as we know it and life as we now have it. 

I truly believe we will come out the other side of this as more adaptable and grateful humans but we are still in it so let’s be kind to one another and let's have a space where we can be open in our loss. Take time to hear people out before you tell them a story of someone who has it worse, don’t pat them on the back and say it all will be alright because it might be eventually but at the moment it all feels wrong and for now when it comes to how we are feeling there are no wrong answers. 

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