Understand that if I was an engineer or an accountant this resume would be an exemplary model of buzzwords and bullet points. You could hang it in the freakin’ Museum of Human Resources. It’d be that rigorously controlled and carefully assembled. Because that’d be what I do, if I was an engineer, is Follow The Rules. But I’m not an engineer.
I’m a writer; a content guy. Been one for a long time, most recently as the Associate Editor of the Food Section for the e-zine The Nervous Breakdown. Started there in September ’11 – tricky abbreviation, that – as the first food writer in the six-year run of the mag. Apparently they like me, ‘cause I was promoted to Associate Editor in April 2012. No accounting for taste, but they get a hundred thousand readers a month, so they got some idea what they’re doing, I guess. The Nervous Breakdown initially hunted me down and signed me up after my essay “Purple Reign” was published in the 2011 edition of Best American Food Writing.
The other current project is a big wonderful mess. I am the Miscreant-In-Chief of the League of Miscreants, a theater troupe I launched over drinks in the summer of 2010, to support the Chicago Fringe Festival. Wrote up a little piece – I have too much conscience to call that pyramid of grinning skulls a “play” – called The Roast of Piglet, and to the complete shock of everyone it was the hit of the Festival in September 2010. Once we recovered from the afterparties (March 2011) we started work on the next show, The Roast of Santa Claus, and that one was so much better that we wound up staging it in a real theater at Christmastime. I made up some marketing involving the illusion of vigorous profanity. Three shows, three sellouts. This September, we premiere our first all-female production, The Roast of Cinderella.
It was a plus for me that the Miscreants did so well, because in November 2010 my job as Senior Writer with The Roe Report came to an end when the host, WLS-AM’s Roe Conn, decided not to continue our two-year-old national feature. That one hurt, because I loved writing two minutes of new jokes and material five days a week on a ruthless deadline. It takes real game to have somebody level the pink slip gun at your forehead as a warning that you better be funny in the next five minutes when the only thing that happened in the world today was that page 4,721 of the tax code was updated. (“Goats over thirty pounds shall be taxed as non-motorized transportation.”) Great challenge. We met it, too: by the end we had 3.1 million listeners on 33 stations nationwide.
My wife, a Certified Financial Planner, went into private practice in Florida, in 2005. Six months later, I was podcasting and writing freelance when Emily came to me and said “This is not a one-person job.” And that is how I got hired as the General Manager of the Private Practice of Emily Brouilette, CFP®, a position I held officially for six years. I have never learned so much in my life, and I include the three-year period in which I learned to walk, talk, read, and flush. It was a multistate financial firm, which means compliance with a lot of regulation. I also managed all the marketing and advertising, kept the books, wrote the budgets – 2008 and 2009 were kinda tricky – organized office logistics, developed the client relationship management models and systems, and booked all the travel. I can talk to anyone in any organization, now, because I have worn all the hats there are. I even wrote columns about personal finance for the local paper, explaining complicated financial and psychological issues in clear language. The business is alive and thriving, and I did my job so efficiently that I automated myself into obsolescence. Which was the SECOND BLEEPING TIME I DID THAT.
The first was in 2004, but the seeds were planted in 1998, when as the inaugural Internet Director for ABC Radio Chicago I was handpicked by the Operations Manager to build websites – design, coding, and content; the whole UX – for three major-market radio stations: WLS, WMVP, and WXCD. (Not that we used the term UX then. I was the “Webmaster” back in the day when there were two computer jobs, “Webmaster” and “IT Guy”. The grander title came in 2003, when I got sufficiently tired of dungeon jokes to say something.) I was basically the gatekeeper of the user experience, and we were so successful that WLS topped 700,000 page views per month in 2002 with an audience primarily over 55 – unheard-of at the time.) I was a one-man-band: Managed listener contact via email, wrote and edited the WLS Insider newsletter, wrote the airstaff’s blogs, chose and edited the podcasts, and managed a vigorous and opinionated message board community. I was also the only translator at the station; I spoke nine languages: Management, Airstaff, IT, Programmer, Sales, Marketing, Network, Engineering, and Legal.
I got hired by ABC right out of college, me and my Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. I was an associate producer at WLS-AM, then a producer at WMVP-ESPN. The latter was the best job ever, excluding summer camp counselor, and it is the one I would still have if it paid more than $8 an hour.