Posts Tagged ‘career’

NIGHT OF THE DEAD (AIR)

 [The following is a true story.]

The year was 1977. I was 22, just out of college, and working minimum wage for a top-forty radio station in Charlottesville, Virginia – WCHV.

I completed a grueling course to earn my Third Class Radio Operator’s license, qualifying me to be on the airwaves – and make photocopies for the other disc jockeys. Perhaps because I broke the copy machine and spilled coffee on the radio control panel, the station manager wouldn’t let me near the microphone – except to read the T & T (time and temperature) on Christmas day when everyone else was at home for the holiday.

My big break came the following Spring. It was 11:30 on a Tuesday night. I was in bed, unable to sleep because I lay there hacking and sniffling. I was sicker than a dog. Then the phone rang. It was the station manager: “Tim, Chris Furlong is under the weather and can’t do his midnight shift. I’ve called literally everybody, and nobody is available. So, what do you say? Want to be on the air?”

Tonight?” I wheezed. However sick Chris Furlong might have been, I was feeling ten times worse. So naturally I answered: “Abso [cough] lutely, boss! [cough]. THANK [cough] YOU!”

“Sure you’re feeling all right, buddy?”, he asked? “Never felt – ahhhhh-choooo – better. I’ll be right over,” I sneezed.

I arrived at the station at 11:50 for the 12:00 to 6 am shift. At the stroke of midnight, the previous shift’s jock raced out of the studio, like Cinderella fleeing from the Ball. At that moment, it suddenly dawned on me: I was totally alone in the building. The fate of WCHV was upon my shoulders ALONE.

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  • Tim. This was hilarious. I can imagine how you felt when the studio went dark. Kerp them coming. Jim
    James RichesonJ
  • Published On Apr. 12, 2018 by TEJ
  • Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Oil Rig Piston Corers and Drill Strings I Learned from My Dry Cleaner

    Did you know that on a deep-water oil rig, the crew cements casings between drillings and that when the rock cuttings reveal the oil sand from the reservoir rock, they then remove the drilling apparatus from the hole and perform a logging test to retrieve a core sampling before lowering a perforating gun into the well to set off explosive charges in order to create holes in the casing through which the oil can flow? Neither did I – that is, until this past Tuesday, when I stopped at my local dry cleaner to drop off a pair of pants.

    It was a routine trip to my local dry cleaners. All I wanted was to get my trousers pressed. In and out in three minutes, right? Not quite. The owner, an elderly Korean man, was feeling particularly chatty, so it took me almost a half hour to get out of there – and I was the only victim, I mean, customer. This is the honest (significantly abbreviated) retelling of the day time stood still.

    As I was wrapping things up, the proprietor, Mr. Ho, asked me my name – so he could write it down on the claim check. In retrospect, revealing that information was an egregious error.

    Mr. Ho: You name Jones? You know Keith Jones?

    Me: No, can’t say that I do. Who is Keith Jones?

    Mr. Ho: He very nice man. He live London, England.

    Me: You don’t say? And to think we’ve never met.

    Mr. Ho: He very smart. He manage oil rigs all over world.

    Me: Very impressive. Well, thank you. Have a nice day.

    Mr. Ho: He in charge of oil rigs in Africa and Asia. But not South America.

    Me: Fascinating. So, you say my pants will be ready on Friday afternoon? See you then.

    Mr. Ho: Keith Jones. He Welsh. You Welsh?

    Me: Um, yeah, I have Welsh ancestors – and Scottish and German.

    Mr. Ho: Keith no German. He Welsh. He very smart. Was my boss. He work in oil business for years. Manage rigs. I work on rigs for career.

    Now I SHOULD have just ignored that last comment, smiled, turned and marched out the door. But No! I had to be polite and ask, So, you worked on an oil rig, you say? I immediately paid for this blunder.

    Continue reading “Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Oil Rig Piston Corers and Drill Strings I Learned from My Dry Cleaner” »


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  • Published On Jul. 15, 2017 by TEJ
  • Trading Stories at My College Reunion

    I just returned from my 40th college reunion. It was an amazing experience to reconnect with many people I have not seen in decades. What college did I attend, you ask? Well if you guessed Harvard University, you’re extremely close – in fact, my alma mater shares several letters in common with Harvard, including a V, an R, an A and the entire word “University” (University of Virginia).

    One thing I’ve always preached to my daughters is the importance of being authentic, and to be proud of who you are – which can be a challenge at times when you realize you’re a humor writer. To be honest, I was a little anxious about seeing my old college cronies. Sure, I’ve had my share of achievements since I graduated – like having never once been convicted of a major felony. Or the fact that I am a published author of a book that has sold roughly 100,000 copies (if you round up to the nearest 100,000).

    I arrived at the reunion’s opening reception, and the first person I met was Brett Farnsworth III. I told him I wrote a weekly humor blog. As though he were experiencing an adverse Pavlovian reaction to the word “blog”, Brett abruptly excused himself, proclaiming he had to step away for a phone interview with CNN to discuss his role spearheading NASA’s manned flight program to Mars – ETA: 2022.

    Next, I bumped into Richard Brantley, who lived two doors down in my first-year dorm. “Tim, wow, I barely recognized you with your weight gain. And when did you lose so much hair?” I started feeling a bit self-conscious, but I tried to be polite, asking him what he’d been up to in recent years. “Oh, nothing much,” he started. “Same old – same old. Still Senior Vice President of Global Strategy for Apple. What about you?” A nagging feeling was mushrooming inside me that my career accomplishments might not stack up to those of my fellow alums.

    In an attempt to preserve my rapidly crumbling self-esteem, I went into improv mode. “Um, well, since you asked…. I was recently promoted to Executive Senior Vice President of International Brand Management for P&G – you know, Proctor & Gamble. I just flew in from our Geneva manufacturing facility for the reunion.” Okay, so I lied. Sue me. I just didn’t know how to make “I write blogs about being a bad parent” sound impressive. On the one hand, I felt badly about the ruse. On the other hand, Richard was clearly awed by how I engineered a five percent gain in market share in our consumer brands division in my first quarter in the job. So much for my plans to be authentic.

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    • So loved reading this. You've totally nailed why I absolutely refuse to go to reunions at all. (But on…
      Clare
  • Published On Jun. 24, 2017 by TEJ
  • The joys and perils of working for my wife

    Working for my wife - Tim and MicheleRecently my wife Michele and I started a new chapter in our lives by moving to a lovely, somewhat remote island. We also decided to start working together. We thought, what better way to strengthen our marriage than to spend every waking minute of every single day together – eating, playing, sleeping and now working? What could possibly go wrong?

    Okay, I know what you’re about to say: What were you thinking? But before you question our wisdom, I should point out that our skill sets are remarkably complementary. On the one hand, my wife is an extremely talented portrait artist. And on the other hand, I am the husband of an extremely talented portrait artist.

    My job will be to market my wife’s portrait business. I am an experienced professional marketer. For example, remember the pet rock – a crazy, fun idea from the 1970s that generated millions in sales simply by packaging an ordinary rock in a box with funny instructions about how to care for it? Brilliant marketing. No, that was not actually my idea. But the idea for selling a 25-pound box of litter for your pet rock was mine. Sadly, it never made it to market. Okay, perhaps this isn’t helping make my point about being a marketing guru.

    My wife wanted someone to oversee marketing so she could spend more time painting – and shooting down every marketing idea I came up with. (I still think my idea for her to parade the sidewalks of Seattle in a sandwich board handing out coupons for $10 off a portrait would have worked. But alas, we’ll never know because she squashed that idea, too.)

    Continue reading “The joys and perils of working for my wife” »


    • Luckily, Michele's gorgeous work markets itself, so you can enjoy reruns of "Modern Family." Congratulations on…
      Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
  • Published On Apr. 22, 2015 by TEJ
  • Business Lesson #39: Awlays Proffread Yoru Wrok

    As a successful entrepreneur and highly sought-after business guru, I am constantly being asked by people trying to climb the ladder of success “How can I ever become as successful as you?” Well the short answer, of course, is “You can’t. Don’t waste your time trying.” That said, there are still several things you can do to ignite your career, including offering to have sex with your company’s president or blackmailing the CFO with photos from last December’s Holiday Office party. But these strategies are best reserved for the experienced career climber. For someone with your more modest level of talent and ambition, how about we start with something a bit more basic, shall we?

    One of the most important things every business professional can do to improve their chances of getting promoted is this: Awlays proffread yoru wrok.

    How we communincate in righting can leaf lunglasting impassions about us. Weather its an emale massage, a business mammo or a for mall propostal, it is criticial to revue your work for accuratecy. By making egreekious grammer and spoiling misteaks, it can from in the mind of the reader a severally negative impersonation abort you. They may persleeve you too bee someone who is lazey, careles, disogranized or somewon who simply can’t finnish their

    I can’t stress how pearamount it is to careflee skan your work for posse ball tie pose. Remember, how you communionate in rightwing may be the differents between getting a raze and getting fried. I could knot be moor serialous about this then I are.

    Continue reading “Business Lesson #39: Awlays Proffread Yoru Wrok” »


    • Sorry I didn't see this one sooner. I was in Vietnam when you posted it. They sent me there in…
      Jim Hayden
  • Published On Jan. 20, 2012 by TEJ