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Friday, July 13, 2007

Weeping silver tears on a rusted heart

Do you guys in the States know who Jann Arden is?

I've always listened to music at work. This used to be easier at the MotherCorp, where it's normal to wear headphones at your desk. I had a really great set of headphones that drowned out the entire world -- necessary with a job like mine that entailed fixing the mangled carcasses of botched interviews. When I was pregnant, I used them to play Mozart to my stomach (my boss thought this was hilarious). And just before I quit, I used them to ignore my co-workers and listen to Jann Arden.

Leaving CBC was like a sucker punch. I'd just spent $40,000 on an honours degree in journalism and moved to the Northwest Territories. I couldn't have moved any further away and still been in Canada -- I'd gone from one corner of this giant country to the opposite corner in the name of journalism. Journalists have it hammered into them: they are professionals in the most noble cause there is, and "public-relations officers" are the excrement of creatures that live in pond scum. I imagine it is like leaving a tenured position as a philosophy professor to sell vacuum cleaners door to door. Except that as a professor, you do understand that some people need vacuum cleaners, so somebody's gotta sell them. The jump to public relations is sort of like that. You have this deep-seated self-loathing for the first little while, and all of your former co-workers look on you with disappointment, or (worse) say things like "I knew that's where you'd end up" or "Enjoy the money".

I usually tell people that I left the CBC because I had a baby. The truth is more complicated. Yes, I had a little guy underfoot and no child care. I really did need a job that would allow me to work from home. But I also felt like I was heading up a show that had little to no support from our head office. I was very sick while I was pregnant and took pains to show my devotion: I used to joke that I would give birth in the studio while directing the show. I came back from maternity leave wanting to prove that nothing had changed; that I was still the same person. I didn't want to admit to myself that I had indeed changed.

Jann Arden's known for her sense of humour, but you'd never know it from her music, which is usually about pain and sorrow. This song and every other song from Living Under June brings me back to early 2002, writing "greens" and re-writing intros with tears in my eyes.


Anonymous said...

Jann Arden is someone I never heard of. Great voice and lyrics. Will have to check out more of her stuff.
The Auntie

PS Being a mother does change everything. At least it did for me.

Alison said...

I wonder why we are so hard on ourselves when we don't end up doing the specific thing that we intended to do when we were in uni... Going back to community college after getting my degree was a hard one on the ego... I mean photography as a career...? But ultimately you have to do what's best for you at the time. Besides, how many people do you know that are doing now what they thought they would be doing 10 years ago...? I for one, don't know many at all. Good for you for being strong and true to yourself :)

Alison said...

PS - I love Jann :)

Dad said...

The stuff we planned in college is the smallest stuff in our life. God put things in our hearts, long before college, long before we sat under all the subtle sarcasm of the "professors".

You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

Dad said...

(The music is great, too. Do you remember? You sent me the CD for Christmas. It's a blessing.)

Cin said...

Megan, what you do for people and reporters is a gift. You're one of the best media relations people I've had worked with. And I mean that.

Sure, I might tease you about the "dark side" but I see the value of your work.

Heck, look at me. Award-winning journalist one day, stay-at-home mom of three the next. Sigh.

Cin said...

correction.... "ever had the pleaseure of working with."

Cin said...

OMG, I can't type. No wonder I don't have a job anymore!!!