Stress Salad – Part 1

soundboard and micI have trouble knowing what I should be stressed about.  There’s always the question when you have major depressive disorder if it’s the depression talking or real, honest-to-goodness stress.

For instance, I started a DJ shift at work this week.  It’s sort of a trial run.  The station program director was listening and critiquing my work, the station manager was listening as well, as was (as I understand it) the station owner.  Pre-recording the shift, writing and recording the news and updating the weather all has to be done before 8:30 am.  I start at 4:00 am, so that’s four and a half hours.  You think that would be plenty of time, right?

Not a chance.  News and weather take up around 2 hours.  I still have to keep track of ads on all the stations and record discrepancies.  I’ve been doing this for a while, so I can be both fast and accurate – or I could be before we changed the system.  It’s all on computer now, which I’m told makes it more convenient.

It has yet to do so.  I found out it is saving us money and storage space.  This explanation I’ll buy.

Regardless, it takes time to get the hang of any new system and this one is no exception.  It now takes me twice as long to just check ads and three times as long to note discrepancies.  Generally, I’ll burn another 30 minutes getting readings from the transmitter towers and doing the first check on the logs.

So it’s now 6:30.  Ideally, I have to be out of the recording studio by 8:20, because someone else needs it at 8:30.  Up to this point, I’ve done a week of practice, so I’m still nervous behind the mic.

Nervous?  HA!  I feel like I’m in one of those nightmares where you have to take a test for a class you have to pass, but didn’t study or know you were even enrolled in the class, only I’m completely awake and this is real life.  I’m terrified I’m going to say the wrong thing, lose my job and have to start from square one in a new field again.

I quickly realize that I have no idea how to pronounce half of the current artists names.  It’s very hard to find things that accurately say their names online.  More time gets eaten up just trying to figure out how Camila Cabello says her name, if Ne-Yo sounds like knee-yo or like the character from The Matrix, and that Icona Pop isn’t aye-co-na, it’s aye-ka-na.  I slip up Monday and doubt myself for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, I discovered coffee gives me heart palpitations.  It gets shelved with energy drinks as things I can’t consume any more.

I struggle with improv and that’s all DJ chatter is.  I’m scraping for info on artists, referring back to sites I know are accurate, but I worry I’m referring to the sites too often.  I worry I’m using the same format too often.  I worry I’m using the tagline in the wrong spots.  Around Wednesday, I develop an inexplicable stutter.  I keep having to re-record the same spots over and over and over and over….

The critiques prove to be very helpful, but what I think I’m doing wrong aren’t the things I’m doing wrong.  I sound like I know what I’m doing, like I’m comfortable behind the mic, but I don’t I know what I’m doing and I’m wondering when people are going to find that out.  Several people give me the same advice: forget that there are all those people out there listening and just talk on the mic like you’re having a conversation with a friend.

Yeah – one) if I talked like I talked to my friends, I would get sacked.  I don’t even write here like I talk to my friends, because the stuff that comes out of my mouth when I’m with my friends doesn’t make any sense most of the time and is often abrasive when it does.  Two) I have no problems forgetting there are listeners out there.  I’m an out of sight, out of mind girl.  I’m surprised and a little freaked out when people recognize my name as the morning newsgirl and I’ve been doing that for at least 2 years.

And all of this sounds stressful, but how much of it is stress that I’m manufacturing?   Obviously fearing that someone is going to discover I’m faking it is a completely empty worry – it’s pretty common knowledge that we all fake it at some point.  The critiques are great and really helpful, so me dreading opening my email in case I see one is an unworthy, emotionally-driven reaction.  And the self-doubt is totally me inflicting things on myself – it is, after all called self-doubt.

As far as getting fired for saying something on air that I shouldn’t – would that be the worst thing that could happen to me?  I mean, I’d finally get my circadian rhythm straightened out and I’d never have to dress up in a giant mascot costume in hot weather ever again.

So…here’s the question…why am I still stressed?


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