On the right of this page, you’ll see my personal Instagram feed. Scroll through that and it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that those of us that do the sort of work that I mainly do (that of automotive journalist), are more than frequently assaulted with plaudits like:
‘You have the BEST job in the world!’
‘Dude, you call THAT work?!’
‘Hey, you know I’m free to help you out anytime right, especially with the driving,’ by which is meant ONLY with the driving. Funny thing is that they’re never actually free when there’s a Kia needing to be driven to a shoot location.
And of course the classic: ‘sheeshh, TOUGH life innit?’ delivered in a pathos that is so insincere and unsubtle that sarcasm drips off the phrase in huge goblets even as it spits across the room and slops onto your ears, adhering with the gooey awfulness of the most sickly sweet syrup ever created.
The only response to any of the above, and more like it, is of course to smile with a modicum of contrived smugness, so as to feed the illusion that the accuser is correct. I plead guilty of all charges. After all, no one would have it any other way, would they?
That being the case, you’d better click off now. Because you don’t want to read the rest.
Reality check in…
The car industry is very fond of sending out monthly or quarterly reports touting their latest compilation of extraordinary numbers. So here’s a roundup of our stats that reflect what goes into producing that absolute shit-ton of content we put out at Motoring Middle East for the month of March 2016:
We produced and uploaded 22 videos on our YouTube channel.
We uploaded 15 stories onto our website MotoringME.com.
We tested a dozen cars and attended even more events – both press events and consumer facing automotive events. All of which we covered.
I wrote well over 15,000 words and took nearly 10,000 images which then had to be whittled down, edited heavily (to compensate for my inherent shortcomings as a photographer), and finally the finished versions were watermarked (not that that stops anyone from stealing them) and uploaded onto our various media channels.
Talking of editing, I also edited nine hours of video footage – and anyone that edits video will know just how hard and time-consuming that process is. And I’m not even very adept at it.
Plus then the painstaking process of backing up and clearing out my laptop almost constantly, to make way for more incoming content – about 320GB for the month in total.
As for our social media – don’t even ask. We actively run a Twitter, Instragram and Facebook account for Motoring Middle East, as well as our own personal well-followed accounts. Facebook is our most popular with nearly 250,000 followers and a post reach figure of around 90,000. Suffice to say our normal daily average number of posts reaches ten or more.
Plus there’s the weekly radio show on Dubai Eye 103.8FM and the TV show on Gear One Channel.
Then there are our work timings. 8-hour days? 9-hour days? 10? 11?! Pah! When you’re digital and multi-media, you never actually stop. You’re engaging different parts of your audience at different times; often in different parts of the world. Some people want to engage with you and ask questions at 1am in the morning – and they expect you to be there to answer them.
Forget 9-5 and weekends – I’m never NOT working.
No wonder then, that I’ve been so damn fatigued lately.
Don’t get me wrong, no sympathy is being sought or invited. I do indeed love my job with a passion that is almost blinding. Hence this is not just a job, but a business. MME belongs to me and my partner Imthishan Giado, and I’ve staked my future on it.
And as any entrepreneur will tell you, hard work is inescapable when you are your own boss – there isn’t a harder taskmaster out there.
Nor is this discourse meant to take anything away from you or anyone else. I’ve no doubt everyone works just as frantically and fantastically hard at their own jobs and endeavours too – if not I envy you, boy do I effing envy you.
But the point is that it takes passion, perseverance, energy, enthusiasm, a great deal of skill, knowledge and experience, as well as bloody-minded dedication and drive (excuse the obvious pun) to do what we do.
So one day if I forget to produce the requisite self-satisfied grin as the nth person fires one of those jolly old hackneyed jibes at me, or someone gets offended that I didn’t attend their event, or another demands how I missed shooting their pride and joy at a car show, or a know-it-all starts giving me ‘helpful advice’ on what I’m doing wrong, you’ll perhaps comprehend and empathise as instead my response is a fast accelerating Converse up said-person’s diffuser instead.
Being a multi-media car journo working for yourself?
Thankless but thankful.