Friday, January 7, 2011


By Frank Absher

We humans seem to have a blind spot when it comes to perspective – at least initially. Those of us who are lucky are soon able to see things for what they really are.

My first tour of duty in the Air Force was a “remote” base in eastern Thailand. Air Force management, such as it was, deemed this base one of the worst, most isolated assignments a person could get.

When I arrived and we were being bussed to the processing point, I noticed a group of Marines on the base and asked what they were doing there. I was told they’d been sent there for R&R (rest and recovery). In other words, a base considered one of the worst assignments in the Air Force was so cushy that Marines went there to relax. That, my friends, is a perfect example of a difference in perspective.

I’d spent some time in Indianapolis for military technical training prior to being sent to Thailand. Just as any visiting fireman would do, I would often stop at radio stations there just to see how they did things. One particular Saturday morning I was in the studio of one of the market’s better stations and the jock there was suffering the throes of a terrible hangover.

His off-mike comments to anyone who would listen made it very clear that he felt like he was going to die and how he really did not want to be here in this miserable studio. It would have done no good to reason with him, but I would gladly have told him how happy I would have been to trade places.

Give me your gig, and you fill my shoes and go to a town cleared out of the tropical jungle and put on a uniform every day and go to work as a disc jockey. Perspective.

Life provides us with many opportunities, and some of those opportunities are disguised. Sometimes we need to peel back the layers and look past those initial impressions. Taking a “smaller” job at a lesser pay scale may just provide you with greater future opportunity. Less stress at work may help preserve your marriage.

A radio job in a smaller market may provide you with a greater opportunity to make a difference.

Trust me. There’s a lot to be said for personal satisfaction, and sometimes that satisfaction can come from places you least expect it. In fact, from a life perspective, the best decision I made was to take a professional step down, even though I was very hesitant to do it at first. I hate to think how things would have turned out if I’d gone with my initial impression.

Discuss on the STL Media Message Board. (Registration Required)