I didn’t know where to go, who anyone was or how anything worked…No it’s not a line from my diary on my first day of school, but how I felt yesterday as I worked my first shift at Radio 5 Live. Obviously I know the station well from a listener’s point of view, but when it came to navigating my way around the newsroom that wasn’t much use! ENPS, the system for putting together the programme run order was totally alien to me and I didn’t even have a log in to use it, which meant there wasn’t much I could do.
You’d have thought I’d be getting used to that blind panic by now. I was so nervous before giving my first media consultancy session at the start of this month that I checked I had my notes 5 times and my inaugural day at BBC Wales was only 2 weeks ago (I laid everything out the night before to make sure I didn’t forget anything!). At least on those occasions though I was in a city I’m familiar with, working alongside people I’d met before, at Media City in Salford everything was brand new.
Thankfully help was soon at hand. My producer Ellie couldn’t have been more helpful. As well as giving me a password for the computer, she set me up on a range of online courses to help me with my work. While spending several hours filling out online forms and taking tests may not sound like everyone’s idea of fun (to be honest it wouldn’t be mine usually!) ticking each one off the extensive list did make me feel like I was achieving something! I then bumped into a couple of familiar faces, in the form of newsreader Clarrissa Chaddington who was at the same school as me and a friend of a friend called Laura, suddenly I was starting to feel at home.
There was one wobble when someone asked me why I’d given up a staff job as a correspondent to go freelance – panic suddenly set in, have I made a catastrophic error leaving ITV to start over as a freelancer??? – but, as soon as the show went on air and I was in my stride, I started to feel like my usual confident self.
By the end of my shift I was actually enjoying myself and, believe it or not, now I can’t wait for my next work trip ‘up North’.