When we last left our hero, he was wallowing in unemployment for around 8 months in 2004. The odd job here and there, (working as extras on well known TV shows and adverts) but nothing permanent and certainly nothing that brought in nearly enough money to survive. Remember the stale ice cream cones for dinner period? Well, the journey was certainly epic, but a change of career was on the horizon.
After getting booted out of a career in IT, I took this time to really go for what I wanted, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be in media and most certainly I wanted The Burg to truly become a brand.
I lost a lot of friends during this period as my resistance to starting from the bottom working in a call centre ever again was met with criticism and anger.
I begged, borrowed and sold to survive, repercussion of which I still feel today.
During mid 2004 I worked on a reality show and met some important people who helped me show my worth. It was a contract job that allowed me to be a writer for a website. (In my interview, when asked how much I was looking for, I replied “I would even work for a bucket of chicken”…this got me the job). For 3 months I lived the dream, I was writing, I got “The Burg” attention, I developed a character – who was pretty much an extension of myself, I got massive exposure, I was on TV and eventually when the 3 months was up I had succeeded in making a name for myself.
I was offered a role as a weekly TV show presenter for text to TV chat show, which I embraced, and despite what may come out later in this blog – will always truly be thankful and appreciative for the gentleman who gave me this opportunity and effective stated the ball rolling on “The Burg” that you all know and love today. (or love to hate).
Come the close of 2004 I was desperate for more permanent work. Things at home were at there worst, I had debtors knocking on my door, even cars parked outside my house waiting to serve me with summons for accounts. I had to do something.
I made the heartbreaking decision to give up the dream and go back to IT.
Another Call centre…I forget the name anyways -> Beat Magazine (Circa 2005)
An old friend of mind (who put up with a lot of miserable crappola from me), organized an interview for me with the company that was essentially the evolution of my first job at Micon. I got the job. Duh. Even being way over qualified, I started at the bottom and committed myself to the job, even though my heart was never, and would never, be in it.
A few weeks later I got the break I had been looking for, a position with Beat magazine, SA’s newest entertainment gossip magazine had opened up. I organized an interview for late in the day so I could shoot through after my call centre job and interview for it. The interview went OK, and for once my nerves and desperation probably got the better of me.
A few days later I got the call from Beat magazine. I didn’t get the position I applied for. I was crushed. For a few seconds at least, because during the conversation I was offered another role – that of a TV writer for the magazine. DREAM JOB ALERT! I accepted without hesitation, and the only problem was they wanted me to start the next day. Uh oh…tricky.
The next day I explained what had happened to my old friend and boss, and thanked him for what he did for me and explained this was what I had been working for my whole life. I knew he understood, but was disappointed that I had let him down after he went to bat for me. The company insisted that I work my 30 days notice first…and being a 24 hour call centre I cleverly organized to work grave yard shift. So basically I worked grave yard shift, raced home at about 7am, freshened up and went to my new job at Beat Magazine. Put in a full day of learning, when home, freshened up, and then went to my evening job at the call centre.
On top of this, I was still hosting a TV show twice a week, which thankfully both jobs allowed me to do. (of course neither job knew I was working for the other)
This lasted for a few weeks before they eventually allowed (read: asked) me to leave. Of course at this point I was a zombie, but living the dream.
Beat -> Always Look Up/ N-Net (Circa 2006)
Officially starting in February of 2005 I spent a wonderful year at Beat magazine, and it was by far the best year of my life. Despite increasing personal issues and playing catch up financially, I gave EVERYTHING to the job. I was happy career wise. I met so many people, made so many contacts and met the people who would shape my life.
After that year however, the reality that I needed more money played on my mind heavily.
Eventually my bosses from the TV show made me an offer to come on board permanently, and while the financial offer they made me was never great, it was enough not want to turn down (plus it was more than that bucket of chicken I never got). Plus I always felt I owed them for giving me my start. I had clashed with one of the bosses fairly often during my time on the reality show and the TV show, and I always worried that this would be magnified if I worked permanently with him.
I explained this to my boss at Beat magazine and said I didn’t want to leave, but I just couldn’t say no to the money. To their credit Beat magazine tried to put together a counter offer, which simply wasn’t enough. With tears flowing I turned it down and handed in my resignation…
It broke my heart to leave Beat, and its one the biggest regrets I have in my life, but it was a necessary action to get me where I am today.
My farewell email is considered EPIC, and is completely honest and heartfelt.. I’d like to share it with you, if I may. (excuse the horrendous spelling and grammar…i was young)
Always Look Up/ N-net-> Pony Music Circa (2006…also)
I joined the company on a full time basis in March of 2006.
The first few days were great! I was treated with respect; I had a nice reputation with my coworkers because of “The Burg” and all he had accomplished. But soon enough things changed.
What followed was the worst 6 months of my life.
Essentially I had three bosses.
One who truly believed in me and the potential of The Burg as a character, and I would work for/with him again in a heartbeat.
One who had all my respect and while firm with me, allowed me many opportunities.
The third, became the man I clashed with on a near daily basis. Perhaps some justified, and some just purely ridiculous.
Once I wore track pants to work. I got pulled aside and told I was being disrespectful and hadn’t earned the right to wear track suit pants to work and to never do it again.
Another time I got up to got to the vending machine…my boss ran after me and told me that can’t I see everyone else is plugging away working hard and I should do the same.
A third time, after a miscommunication in an email I was dragged out into the courtyard and humiliated, sworn at and lambasted. I later got an apology. But by then I was seen as the rebel. The one guy who stood up to the powers that be. I never did this deliberately, it just sorta came with “being me”
I was eventually suspended from my TV show due to a few mistakes of letting certain messages deemed “inappropriate” on air. Of course this was likely just a way of working me off air. It was ok though, while I loved what I did I at peace that I had done all I could with the show, and was happy for someone else to get the chance.
When I was given creative freedom, I shined, but ultimately I was held on a leash and used as example for anyone who tried to be an individual – which I was and always will be.
After handing in my resignation (for a second time in six months), I was told that I would never make it out there without them.
On a side note, during my time with Beat magazine, I had made friends with a famous local idols judge who worked for a music company. At the end of one of the Idols competitions, I wrote him a letter saying “I will work for you one day”. During my time at Never Look Up, he contacted me and said there was something opening up he thought I would be perfect for, nothing however had been finalized until two weeks into my resignation period, so I took a massive chance by quitting my job after only 6 months.
My resignation was kept quiet for a while, and eventually I was told they needed the space and I was welcome to work my last month from home.
The funniest/saddest story out of all this, and I’m sure this may upset a lot of people for revealing this, but on my last Friday there, me and a few of my close allies wondered if there would be farewell drinks for me. Well, thanks to some ingenious trickery and computer hacking, we were able to find out more than we should of. There were indeed drinks for me, except I wasn’t invited. The email was sent to a few key people who would be meeting up after work, I just happened to have been excluded on that list. A final slap in the face after 6 months of regret.
So after being told that I would never make it out there without them, the very next day after being told I could work from home…I started at Pony Music.
The Here and Now (Circa 2011)
I have now been here for 5 years, and will NEVER leave for another local company.
My time here has saved my life, its allowed me to fix my personal problems, recover from my financial woes, and even given me the freedom to film a few movies on the side. I found a home within Pony Music.
The day I leave here will be for overseas. Which you all know is what I’m pushing for big time now, and I do very much see this as my final here.
But this decade plus long journey has had its ups and downs, its bad decisions and good.
I have made and lost many friends.
In the end however…this is all the journey to where i am meant to be…