Last week I was shaken by a very high-profile resignation. It meant a lot to me – this person has featured in the background of my life for a very long time, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about his departure.
The various iterations of his career have mirrored my own progression through life; we’ve been through a lot together and in some ways he’s like an old friend.
But I have been frequently enraged by his clownlike mannerisms, his jocular insincerity and his terrible puns.
I am, of course, talking about Steve Wright in the afternoon.
I remember listening to him in his Radio 1 period during the late eighties and early nineties, when I was a university student. He was pretty cool then, in my opinion. Although I wasn’t, so my judgement isn’t necessarily to be trusted.
He left his Radio 1 afternoon show in 1993 only to pop up 6 years later in the same slot but on Radio 2 instead, and this is where our paths began to cross again.
23 years later, he has announced that he’s leaving his afternoon gig – for good.
On the one hand I feel a profound relief that I won’t have to listen to him singing deliberately out of tune and making constant reference to ‘serious jockin’ – whatever that is.
But on the other hand I like him as a person, and he represents a link to my distant past, a beacon of continuity in a world of increasingly baffling change.
So I am torn.
In a way, this is similar to the feeling that you might get if you’re about to hand in your notice.
You know that leaving your job is the right thing to do, but something is holding you back. You’ve made a list of all the reasons why you need to move on, but you can’t be 100% sure that your next role will be any better. And when you think about leaving, it’s hard to be dispassionate. Memories of the good times come to the front of your mind, obscuring the bad.
Once you deliver your parting letter you are extra vulnerable, for the duration of your notice – which could be a week, or a month, or longer. Your employers might try to exploit this uncertainty and attempt to change your mind, but my advice is to stand firm and remember the list you made. In the end, change is inevitable, and generally positive. It’s the only way to learn, after all.
So – there will be a change to the radio 2 afternoon schedule, and millions of people – including me – will have to get used to it.
Courage! He’s not gone yet, and he’ll still be doing Sunday Morning Love Songs, so we can always tune in to that.
Hang on – that’s even worse.