July 21, 2024

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Martin Shakil – Afraid of Black Holes

Martin Shakil – Afraid of Black Holes


Martin Shakil – Afraid of Black Holes

I would have gotten rid of my old shoes before I got new ones. After a live skydive, two Tomba Festival appearances, a 103+ hour non-stop radio marathon and many other acts of pushing my limits “just for fun”, a skydive into radio that lasted for almost 20 years was a completely different order of magnitude. It wasn’t fun, it was without a safety net or framework. It was really scary.

It was clear to me that my only option was to leave paradise when my warning signs weren’t being adequately acted upon. Their choice. Then I’d make my own. But how do you do that? Why not just keep working for a few months and look for something new in the meantime? That would be an exercise in great hesitation. Conflict including sick reporting, labor department, etc.? Also unnecessary energy consumption. Better: respect yourself and – fast forward – pull the plug. Very intense, with family and mortgage.

General bulb

“You can do so much,” “You’ll be fine,” and “Where one door closes, ten more open.” If I had ten dollars for every time I heard that last sentence (in its infinite forms: windows, sliding doors, everything open), I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Easy, encouraging words from the outside world, until they become about you. What if I can’t find anything that makes me truly happy? What if I’m no good at anything other than radio? Who am I without a radio anyway? My dear friend Riley once said, “Martin without a radio is still just Martin. That’s good enough.” Thanks Riley!

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When I announced my departure from radio, the support was greater than I could have imagined. I didn’t have much of a say in my mind, I just felt like I owed the listeners a quick message. All the feedback gave me more confidence that things would work out. I also wrote that I had time for coffee. That opened the door to some very nice, constructive conversations in recent weeks. A bit of humility and gratitude on my part is appropriate. Of course I can do more than just be an adopted puppy, but it has to be done for you. I hope to share the first tangible new adventures with you soon.

What I realize most is that I’m lucky that people know me and that some people in my field see something in me. But conflict in the workplace happens every day, everywhere. Employees are suddenly out of work out of necessity or against their will, partners in a firm get into arguments and feel unfairly treated. I know people who have been job hopping for years and still manage to stay brave through every new job offer they come across. Now that’s resilience! So what do I know about it now?

All the appointments and phone calls over the past few weeks have pretty much eliminated my biggest fear of that mysterious black hole. I think there will be a big new thing coming in six months or so. Something about radio or maybe something completely different? No idea yet. I’m 41 and I have a blank canvas. Maybe this is the time to do something completely different, start a clothespin factory for example, I’m just saying. Everyone should do laundry! Until the “big new thing” comes along, I’ll probably stick with fun freelance projects for now.

Recently, my wife Michelle and some close friends and experts helped me make my choice and take the right step. “Act from strength, not from fear” and “Think of possibilities, not limitations” were the pieces of advice I consciously applied. For anyone in a similar situation, I recommend the story “Who Moved My Cheese?” in a best-selling little book on how to deal with unexpected changes. It can also be viewed on YouTube in many animated forms. Will this skydive be my best ever? That remains to be seen and is largely within my control!

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