career

"After 10 years together, my job - the thing I loved most - ghosted me."

Pain that keeps you up at nocturnal hours, pain that makes you gag at the thought of food, pain with no remedy other than time: welcome to heartbreak. 

The first time I felt this I was 14 years old. Much like the way I struggle to process negative emotions in my adult years, I did not have the tools to treat this sting. Despite many attempts to do so through a new haircut, extreme weight loss, and a concoction of painkillers, the source of the bite was from another person.

That’s when I decided I would be a Career Girl. I had the epiphany that finding lifelong love was out of my control; pursuing my dream though was something I could control. 

Watch: How Sophie Cachia's life turned upside down at 30. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

It didn’t take long to find my soulmate.

See, for my whole life up until that point, society had thrown the same two words at me to describe my effervescent personality: "Too much!"

When I walked into a radio station at 16, it was love at first sight. The office of Radio Metro, a community radio station on the Gold Coast, felt like an uptown Los Angeles elites-only nightclub. The electronic dance music was pumping through the speakers, I was greeted by a blonde bombshell of a manager, wearing stilettos and a tight black dress; she was one of the most gorgeous people I had ever laid eyes on and her personality was even more spectacular.

This was an environment that bred craziness, wild stories and loud laughter. Yelling across the hallways, swearing and inappropriate computer chitchat were the norm here. FINALLY, a place where instead of 'too much', I was just enough. 

I knew in this moment that radio was my one true, lifelong love. So, just like one does when they are hopelessly in love, I vowed to follow it to the depths of the world, through all trials and tribulations. 

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My first stop was Port Augusta, a city with a population of about 14,000. I moved there at just 19. I gradually slaved my way up the steep ladder to Townsville, then Canberra and, most recently, Toowoomba. 

You could say radio and I have a toxic relationship. It has brought me my highest highs and my lowest lows. I have cried and screamed in the soundproof studio under the radio panel on the carpet floor countless times. I have run into the bathroom and yelled 'get your sh*t together' in the mirror, while slapping my forehead. 

But no matter how bad it got, I always came back. Memories of the domestics grew distant and the gratification of those radio segments with echoes of laughing listeners and happy tears in the office afterwards, became the focus. 

I was living in Townsville when I really hit it off with a guy. He was probably the only person I’d dated who actually had a positive influence on me, because if you didn’t catch-on already, I generally go for the bad-boy, dickey, self-esteem wrecking, toxic type. But this guy seemed like he could be the one.

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'It’s too good to be true', I thought.

**Ring ring** 

"Hello, Bethany speaking."

"Hi Bethany, it’s the content director of Hit 104.7 Canberra, I’ve heard your work and was wondering if you were interested in the announcer position here?"

F*CK. 

"Yeah, sounds great, what’s the application process?"

"None mate, I’m offering you the job!"

Of course, he was.  

"Are you interested?"

"Absolutely!"

Bye-bye Townsville boy. He seemed lovely, but I was head-over-heels for my career and I wasn't gambling that on a two-month fling.

The breakfast show in Toowoomba was the job I had been working towards for my whole life. 

Nik and I hit it off in a way that most announcers who have never met each other don’t. From the get-go he felt like a brother and we shared the same vision as well as work ethic.

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By August 2020, in a short period of five months, I had settled into Toowoomba and was in the process of buying my first property. Finance had just been approved, and I had spent that weekend furniture shopping. 

I sat on the double bed that Sunday night at a family friend’s home who I had been kindly staying with for the last few months, while I saved for my own place. I had visions of my house-warming, of having a free space to play music, cook food and have as many 'special sleepovers' as I desired. As a feminist, I was so proud to achieve this life milestone as a single woman.

That night, I dreamt that I got made redundant. 

Three days later, I did.

My premonition did not protect me from the black wave of sadness and torturous denial. 

"THIS IS NOT MY LIFE!" I screamed. "Wake up, WAKE UP!!!"

I punched myself so many times; I stood in the kitchen with a steak knife, going back and forth on whether or not to end the pain. I couldn’t do it. I’m so unbelievably thankful that I didn’t do it, but just like in a toxic relationship, this reality didn’t seem fair. 

A few months on from this and things are looking up. Life is still hard but exciting things are around the corner. Radio is still the apple of my eye as I will never relinquish the yearning of my dream, but in future I will not be blinded by love at first sight. My career will always be vital to me, but if 2020 has taught me anything it is the need to welcome the light from all aspects of my life – not just work. 

Who knows, maybe this time next year I’ll be in a polyamorous relationship: with my radio career and a physical-being. 

For more from Bethany Larsen you can check out her blog, bethanylarsen.net or follow her on Instagram @bethanylarsen_.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.