A lot of people have commented, with equal measure of praise and disdain, about how much work I've done lately. Wherever and whenever I'm on air, I tend to promote it on Facebook and Twitter, predominantly for reasons of pure ego, but also to remind future potential employers of my existence and current "popularity".
Anyway, this week, it screeched to a halt. An enchanted seven months or so of non-stop work on a total of ten different radio stations had suddenly had a vast, yawning crevice opened up before it. The calendar for the whole week was blank.
It meant I could rest. It meant I could take the dogs for longer, more leisurely walks at nicer times of day. It meant I could go to an away game on a Tuesday night (albeit the closest one of the season, at Doncaster) and not worry about missing out on much-needed kip afterwards. It meant I could go to the gym. It meant I could see people and places that had been off my radar.
And I really didn't like it.
Well, I did, but you know what I mean. When you're freelance and overworked, you have to strike a balance between needing the money and not doing yourself a mischief. When you're freelance and underworked, you have to strike a balance between needing the money and being able to enjoy your life. Thing is, my profession is a privileged one (despite the moaning that sometimes comes with it) and I try not to lose sight of that. So by Tuesday of this week I was starting to panic about where the next job was coming from. Then by Wednesday, the panic was over. Two late breakfast bookings in Bradford, the second of which was this morning, and then next week I'm doing drivetime cover in Wigan. Phew.
People at various stations ask me where I get my energy and appetite for all this work from, plus the patience to do all the travelling and stupid hours that go with it. My answer is simple: it combines a love of the job with a morbid fear of unemployment. For as long as someone thinks I'm of use, I'll keep doing it. And although I do want to be back on a full-time schedule, it's quite nice to be known - rightly or wrongly - by up to a dozen radio stations as someone reliable and versatile enough to step in and do the right kind of job for them when needed.
Have a nice weekend.