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Monday, December 2, 2013

Radio is not My Identity

Today will be a very personal blog. Thousands of people will miss what I am sharing. And it's an important message.  
I start this week officially “unemployed."  (Sorry, President Obama, you'll have to add me to the list.) Whatever negative baggage comes with that term, that is not me. Even more importantly, my last job was not who I am.

For the past 14 plus years, I have served as executive producer and host of a Chicago based morning radio program. That's right … 3 AM wake ups, many 80-mile-per-day commutes, along with the daily pressures of finding interesting topics and conversation starters. And did I mention being not only awake, but energetic and excited at 5 AM sign on? Every day.

Make no mistake, here. I ENJOYED it! Radio is a wonderful line of work. The connection to people from all walks of life … travel ... the opportunity to be creative and use your gifts … are all such a blessing.

But radio can also be a very transient line of work. Most of us in this business have experienced changes in station ownership, management, and formats at some point. It often required that we move along, and take our talents with us. Thus, I've been blessed with tours in Sacramento, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.

The radio management team where I've served in Chicago recently decided to make a change in morning programming. Like most changes, "in with the new and out with the old." Marketing impact is always made with "new and improved." That's usually how I came to get my jobs!

Most of my work life has been as a radio personality. (I dislike the term "deejay" since it implies my role is to "spin records."). Formats I've been involved with have been quite varied. Some involved music. My talk radio work did not. But it was personality radio that kept me employed.

Having said that, radio is not who I am. My identity is not wrapped up in being a radio personality. I've also been a radio sales manager and program director. I've helped launch two nonprofits, headed up operations for a trade show company, and been involved in two business start ups. I've authored two books. NONE of this activity truly defines me.

I share this with you because, in the world of the unemployed, it is very easy to lose sight of your worth. For a season, you're not on the "WANTED” posters ... you become unwanted. And I refuse to go there. Moreover, I want to help others not go there.

But know this: our work should never define us as human beings. God created in each of us something much greater. The Creator of all things has made every human being in His image. He doesn't stamp us with a job title. He gives us His divine imprint. [Pause, please, while I reflect on this amazing truth.]

When we are around the unemployed, we have in our presence people uniquely gifted by God. People of such great value that God sent His only Son to die for them. (John 3:16). That's who I am. And no one can ever take that away from me.

This is not a new revelation to me. I've held onto this truth for years. And perhaps in the days ahead, I will find a way to make this message come alive more powerfully in the workplace.

As we say in the radio business … STAY TUNED!


  1. I've been in many job searches in the past. I agree with you. It is dangerous to put your identity in your career, because as soon as you realize that you aren't a fit for every job you apply for, the search becomes very demoralizing. Your identity needs to be based on something permanent. Only that will get you through the ups and downs of everyday life.

  2. Thank you! I only seem to remember this when I hang out with my two boys. I need this understanding more and more each day.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Mark. These are encouraging words for those who are currently unemployed as well as for the many who live with continuous uncertainty about the future of their current job.

  4. Thanks for the good word, Mark. I'm a bit out of sorts after not getting my daily dose of you and Dave in the morning. I do not understand or appreciate the decision to pull you guys from the morning program, but I'm working hard at trying to maintain a godly response. I suppose we will never totally get used to having to say goodbyes on this side of eternity. In the meantime, I'm "staying tuned" and eager to see what God has for you next.

  5. Mark, your perspective is accurate but not of this world of woe. Having gone through periods of unemployment also I know it can be difficult and personally challenging BUT God does have a plan. You are too talented, too inventive, too creative and too eager to serve Him that He will not waste that is already in the works, His timing is perfect, know that and like Elijah, listen for God's "gentle whisper".

  6. Mark, thank you for sharing this. It is an encouragement to everyone, even those who are currently employed, since the work world is so tenuous at this time. I will share this blog with my friends who are unemployed, and I will also look forward to seeing future blog entries.

  7. I just shared this blog with two friends!

  8. I don't often make comments, but could not pass this up. Your words are so wise and I continue to be enriched by your perspective. I am sharing with my social media friends.
    Thanks for continuing your true have a positive impact on so many peeps...including me. Thanks, Mark.

  9. Appreciate your words. I read of the change on - trust that the future continues to find you in God's place.

  10. Mark, thank you so much for a beautiful, uplifting, and inspiring blog, though the subject itself is not that uplifting! But this is exactly what I expected of you. Listening to you every morning, for so many years, I knew you will take this new change in your life with grace. My boss always says, "I work for God, not for a company." He explained to me that if he thinks this way, he is never worried about loosing his job. If that happens, he would just move on, he said, knowing that his work is for God and he can do that anywhere that God wants him to be. Wishing you the best! (I am still trying to get over not having you "accompany" me on my morning rides to work...)

  11. Great blog! If I can't listen to you on the radio at least I can read your blog!
    What I've always enjoyed in listening to you is the way you gracefully and tactfully tell it like it is. I often found myself talking to others about "Well...Mark & Dave were talking about this subject..." Like the the post from JJMom, I too am finding it strange not having you to listen to as I start on my day. I'm all discombobulated! :)
    Thank you for being my morning companion for so many years!
    You are in our prayers daily. God bless you and your family.

  12. Thanks to all who read this blog.

  13. We will greatly miss you on The Morning Ride, but thanks for this thoughtful blog. I appreciate the way you handle it with the public.

  14. Hey Mark...
    I'm late to the party...but wanted to let you know that i miss your voice every morning. Thank you for professionally delivering your program every day. I appreciated your insight and your perspective was always spot on.
    May God Bless you Richly my friend!
    Remember...this good day is from the Lord!


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