This year Matt Eggleston landed his first job as a content director at Hit105 in Brisbane. (Yes, that’s Matt with his girlfriend….he wishes.)
It was always going to happen. Matt has been in control of his career for as long as I’ve known him.
In my previous role at SCA I was on the road from Monday to Thursday and would finish off the week with a day in the office in Adelaide.
Eggo was the music director at SA-FM for 12 months during this time and whenever he noticed my car in the downstairs carpark he would arrange a meeting with me to discuss where he was at.
He never once wasted my time with trivial questions and small-talk.
He would bring in the playlist and talk about some of the songs that were on the fringes of being played and any trends he was noticing in terms of music research and the charts.
We would discuss any scheduling challenges he was having, how the station was sounding, what the opposition was doing and then any general questions that he needed some advice on.
I know what you’re thinking, in my role as head content of SCA I didn’t need to be involved in conversations around music scheduling and the machinations of the SA-FM formguides. Local content directors and the Today network content director could, and did, manage those issues.
Whilst this is partly true, the fact was one of my key responsibilities at the time was to develop the next generation of content leaders for SCA and every Friday Eggo would demonstrate in very clear terms his desire to learn and get ahead by knocking on my door and engaging with me.
Most people would think “this bald bloke with the fancy title and the big office is not interested in hearing from me”.
Eggo was the opposite, his view was “this guy needs to meet with me because I’m doing important work.”
Sometimes in your career and in life you have to reach up to that next branch on the tree and hope that it’s going to hold you.
This is an uncomfortable thing to do for many of us.
Jillian Michaels talks about it this way.
“No one likes to feel vulnerable, and I’m no exception, but the reality is that you can only know as much depth, happiness and success in your life as you can know vulnerability. If you don’t ask out a girl or a guy on a date, you won’t get rejected, but you won’t fall in love, either. If you don’t apply for the job, then you won’t get the position you want. If you don’t try to start your own business, then you’ll never be the entrepreneur you always dreamed of being.”
Here’s the other thing you need to know about Eggo’s approach. It’s actually quite rare to see someone reach out like he did and be so specific with what he wanted, so when it did happen I knew I’d found someone who was prepared to do whatever it took to reach their goals.
For those of you at the ACRAs a couple of years back you might remember Kyle Sandilands putting the mobile numbers of Paul Jackson, Duncan Campbell and myself onto the screens above the stage-suggesting that if you were a young, ambitious announcer these were the 3 numbers you needed to get ahead.
I had one phone call the following week from a young team who wanted feedback on their work which I promptly gave them. I guess for other young announcers in the room that night they weren’t quite ready for such a ballsy approach to getting on my radar.
The question I often hear from regional on-air talent and young programmers is “how will I get noticed by the people who are going to hire me next?”
My answer is this, as my friend Frances McCahon once said “No one will care about your career as much as you will.”
Sometimes your skills and suitability for your next promotion will be obvious, but there will also be times where you’ll need to reach out, reach up and make the right connections to get yourself in pole position for that job you want.