Monday, August 17, 2009


Even my fun little bloggy space gives me homework.

And, avowed commitment-phobe that I am... I avoid it. When I am the only one who needs it, and no one suffers if it doesn't get done.

So now...having avoided, procrastinated, and frittered away hours and days... my post about last week's interview is very nearly completely irrelevant.

I was interviewed - honest-to-goodness - for NPR. I can explain this away, and aw-shucks my way through the (real) point that I didn't feel entirely relevant to the discussion... but be that as it may, I was blown away with disproportionate pride (and a dash of fear.) NPR!

Really, nothing I could conceive of happening to me could make me feel more famous.

The story is here, and is about Mommy Blogs, and marketing... Michel Martin interviewed four of us for the not-widely-enough-circulated and always-interesting Tell Me More. Intimidating enough in itself (she is very good at what she does), the other three also all seemed way out of my league: Kelly Wickham of (Who unwittingly got me into blogging in the first place. The first blog I ever followed - whose wit, honesty, and careful editing never cease to inspire me); Jamila Bey, who also inspires me just by being an actual journalist, living her vocation at NPR member station WAMU-FM in Washington D.C. and blogging with the Washington D.C. Examiner; and Christine Koh, of the blog - who was on the ground floor of Blog With Integrity, the pledge that fueled the discussion and piqued the interest of NPR.

NPR(!) and "real" bloggers who know things. And blog faithfully and consistently about the things they know. And can probably talk at length about "social media." Heady stuff.

I reassured myself that as a blogger with a tiny little blog space, and 29 known readers, and no advertising, and only accidental references to products... I would not be in much of the discussion.

To Michel's credit as an interviewer... I was wrong. Michel very much included me.

And I stammered through responses to questions I had previously over-thought and promptly forgot. Then the fine production teams at NPR fixed it so I sounded nearly intelligent, and not a bit irrelevant.

For all of my excitement, nervousness, and even a little preparation for the interview... I was somewhere else once I was in the control room with a mic in front of my face and headphones strapped to my head.

And, now, a week too late - I wouldn't blog about this at all except that the interview pulled a long-lost friend from the woodwork... with "my sister heard you on NPR..." So. I have to.

Backstory, if you are still with me (and not related to me): I write for a living. Corporate communications. I was managing intranet content for the once big-ass company for whom I do work - and then person, person, person were all 'let go.'

One-by-one-by each, co-workers, colleagues, and friends were invited to go, escorted out, given severance packages. Or not.

Before that happened, we hummed along and completed tasks. We did work that needed to be done - I edited or posted or wrote. A contractor, it was originally a 6-week assignment. That started nearly four years ago. Midway through, we moved. Some 900 miles away from Corporate. My hours were reduced. From full time, I went to three days a week. That they let me keep working was a coup.

Then the scary culling began, and continued. More like a massacre than a cull, really. Those of us left are jumpy, or bitter, or both. They still pay me - not because I am the best at what I do - not because I am the most necessary, or the most competent - but because I am the person without benefits, a little below the radar, capable enough, with a few skills no one really wants to learn.

I started the blog, this blog, as work life made less and less sense. I started the blog so I could talk about whatever might matter to me, and not have it scrubbed for notional corporate acceptability. I started this blog as work was taking over, and I needed to re-evaluate.

On this day, a mixed-up, overwraught, confused and complicated working Monday morning started a few minutes later than it should. It was a messy morning, and the fracas had me late leaving for the NPR studio. A response I received after hitting 'send' for an email to hundreds before leaving my house had me hurtling through traffic - convinced fully and wholly and absolutely that I would come home, later, after the interview - and find that I was fired.

I ran upstairs to dress before leaving (because even over the radio people can hear if you are rumpled, stained, and sporting flip flops) and put my foot through the hem of my favorite decent looking pants. I ripped the hem the rest of the way off and strapped on stylish wedge heels, pretended it looked fine, and ran back down again.

I got lost on the way to NPR. 10 collective years living in Atlanta, and I believed my GPS over my instincts and got hopelessly turned around. I screamed in traffic. My hands shook. But I made it.

An impossibly calm person guided me to the studio, and set me up. Finally established - 30 minutes late - with Michel et al piped through headphones at the other end of an invisible phone, in four other cities. I sat.

Naturally, I thought of my blog. I thought of its title. I thought, in a sort of a loop "What Matters. What Matters. What Matters. What Matters Right Now is Your Keeping Your Job. What Matters Right Now is Not A Couple of On-Air Minutes in a Conversation that is Not Relevant to What You Do. What Matters is Feeding Your Children. What Matters is Not Screwing Up Your Work. What Matters is Staying Visible at the Office. And Not THIS." This was gnawing through my head when Michel asked her first question. I tuned in and out and fretted and answered.

And ultimately, it did matter.

When I got home, and I wasn't fired - it felt great. I replayed the interview in my head with wittier, more trenchant responses... and I later heard the answers I gave, that the good folks at NPR cleverly fixed to be "uhmm" and "errrrr"-free - and found they were almost as good.

I am still blown away that I was included at all.

(Oh, and if you have something you want me to sell here? Send it on. If I like it, you can bet your marketing dollars I will figure out a way to honestly, transparently, and enthusiastically weave it into a story right here. For all twenty-some-odd faithful readers.)

1 comment:

  1. No comments??!!! I have been incommunicado for weeks due to whatever it is that makes us focus our attention away from the blogosphere (like, oh, work and parenting and marrital maintenance) that the case with everyone? How could this post have NO comments? This happens frequently, it seems. The deeper the post, the more meaningful the post, the more revealing the post, the higher the liklihood of zero comments. Weird.
    Anyway...GREAT POST!!!! As usual. I LOVE that you are blogging. I love that you are so honest and deep and so very articulate. I often have a strange sense of deja-vu when I read your posts, as if my own posts have been written for me while I slept, only they are written by you and they are written better and are much more powerful and insightful than anything I've written. Often I think, "Ah yes, that's exactly what I meant and how I felt and what I clever of me to say so..." except of course, I didn't write it. You did. And I thank you for it.