Greg Michaels’ Job Interview Trek 18 Years Ago This Week
What is the furthest or craziest thing you’ve done to get a job? For this story we have to go back to the summer of 1994 when I was 22 years old. In June of 1994 I was hired as a part time DJ at a station in Yarmouth, NS. I wasn’t there very long but long enough to hear the stations in Maine over The Bay of Fundy.
Since things didn’t work out in Yarmouth for me, I applied to stations all over Maine from Portland to Bangor. One radio station that got my interest at the time was out of Brewer, 104.7 Fox FM (Now defunct.) So, I called on a follow up on my tape and resume I sent earlier, and the Operations Manager told me if I came down she’d interview me. That interview was the spark that lead to my life here in Maine.
That meeting was pretty close to 18 years ago today. It was the day after the Super Bowl in 1995.
The trip down to Bangor was tough because mass transit between Nova Scotia and Maine is non-existent now as it was back in early 1995. They did however have a coach bus that went from Halifax, NS to Bangor but it only went once or twice a week.
I took that on Super Bowl Sunday. I can’t believe I did this now looking back, but I asked a complete stranger on that bus if he wanted to split the cost of a motel stay. The guy agreed. We stayed at the Econo Lodge on the Odlin Rd in Bangor. He was moving on to the Greyhound system that Monday morning and I was going for a job interview, a part time interview at that. I spent 12 hours and 500 miles on a bus for probably a 30 minute meeting. We watched Super Bowl XXIX and went to bed.
Monday morning January 30, 1995 bright and early with a bit of a groggy and doughy head after the beers from the night before, I got up and got ready for this interview at 12 Acme Rd. I vividly remember no one knowing where Acme Rd in Brewer was located. I bought a map, which I still have by the way. I think I paid $2.95 at the hotel. It’s hard remembering now, but after seeing that the station was probably 10 miles from the station, I took a cab.
The interview was cool. I remember being distracted by some parody bit of Kathie Lee Gifford singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. I was also distracted by one of those posters where there’s a picture within all of this wavy blurry stuff. It was on the wall over the head of my old boss. I never could make any those pictures out. Anyway, I worked a song segue or two on the mixing board and was told if I was serious I could have a part time overnight gig. Of course, you know now by me being there, that I took the job. The story of the move will be a post on February 13th, look for it then.
The interview was over, where to go what to do? Now for the way back home. I think I may have overlooked that aspect of my 2-3 day trip. I was 500 miles away from home with $63 in cash. The trip home was quite the event but I pieced it together.
I read about a bus that went from Bangor to Calais for $20. That “bus” turned out to be a conversion van. I was kind of nervous about going in this vehicle by myself, but I did. He left late in the day. I want to say 5pm? I hopped in this guy’s van, which takes me, the only passenger to Calais via Rt 1. Not sure how he made money. He probably used more than $20 to drive me from Bangor to Calais.
When I got to Calais at about 7-8pm I just walked across the border to St. Stephen, NB. I got a donut and coffee at Tim Hortons. While having my coffee I called an old broadcasting school classmate of mine out of the ble from a payphone to see if he could drive me from St. Stephen to Saint John. He said yes. At About 10 pm he showed up and we headed down NB Rt 1. At this point I had about $40. Mark, my broadcasting buddy, drove me to Saint John where I decided to take the Saint John, NB-Digby, NS ferry at midnight with all of the truckers. The whole time on the boat I was wondering how I was going to get from Digby to Halifax?
I don’t suggest you do this today, but back in late January of 1995 I actually hitchhiked from the Digby dock to Kentville. The guy who drove me was nice. He didn’t take any money from me and he let me stay at the business he owned in a heated building corridor. I had about $20, which was just enough to buy breakfast and get the bus ticket home. When I got home I was tired and hungry for something other than muffins and donuts. When I told people I got the job in Maine, I think everyone thought I was insane for traveling so far, for so little. The thing is, it wasn’t. That job and me staying here, well I couldn’t put a paycheck on. Life leads you places and you either grab or pass.
That’s the story, as best I remember it from 18 years ago this week. It’s crazy. I had no idea at that time where my life was going to lead me. Like I said, I was 22 and had only worked fast food, a video store and a couple of unsuccessful tries in radio. I figured if the job in Brewer didn’t work out it would make for a good story.