By the time many of you read this, I shall be once again, on a freelance basis, be working at 630 WMAL, the place that furloughed me in a corporate restructuring nine months ago. I have had this work scheduled for a couple of months now, and as the day has drawn near, I have found my own personal anxiety level growing a bit.
From the day I was let go, I have never felt those feelings of anger and bitterness towards my former employer that so many have felt - or at least, not against the managers of WMAL. They were given an unpleasant task to perform, and so it was done. I have appreciated their support these many months as I have sought a permanent job, and I also appreciate that they have called me for fill-in work when they clearly had no obligation to do so.
I have been back to WMAL on two or three occasions since I left - each time on business that was unrelated to my former job there. The first time I returned, it felt very strange, but since then, it's felt strangely comfortable - as if I had never left, except for the fact that someone else is occuying my office. And even that didn't matter much, because I had spent most of my time in the newsroom instead of my office even when I was working at WMAL.
This time, I'm actually returning to work FOR the radio station, writing newscasts and anchoring a couple of them a day as well... and hoping I don't fall flat on my face. I don't have any real expectation that I WILL fall flat on my face, but nothing could be worse than going back there and showing my former co-workers that my furlough was actually justified!
If there's one thing I have learned from my months on the beach, it is to treasure every opportunity I get to work. It's a joy that gainfully employed people who've never lost jobs cannot possibly appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed filling in at WBAL over the summer, as well as my ongoing freelance job at ABC News. When I am scheduled to work, my adrenaline goes a little nutty, and I find myself a little giddy at the opportunity to channel my creative muscles in a constructive and income-producing way.
It makes me thankful at a time when finding things to be thankful for is a bit of a challenge. And those positive thoughts will make it that much easier to take when my clock radio goes off at 2:30 Monday morning!