It’s now been about 20 months since my life completely changed. I left the TV business to head off on my own in an effort to find my passion. And, man, it was hard.
Don’t get me wrong. I have zero regrets. I actually don’t miss much about my former career other than the opportunities I had to meet some incredible people and tell their stories. But the actual day-to-day grind, the politics, and the schedule? Nope, no love lost there at all.
Which is how I know for sure that I made the right decision at the right time.
But, yeah, it definitely wasn’t easy.
I made my drastic career change at the age of 38. Growing up and into my 20s I truly believed that by my early to mid 30s I would be doing exactly what I loved and was meant to do for the rest of my working life. Because any age after that felt like it was too late to start over.
Oh, how wrong I was.
It just took a little time for me to figure that out. Time I needed to determine exactly when I was ready to pull my career switcheroo.
So, how did I know when that time came? It started with little things. It was getting harder and harder to go into work on a weekend afternoon, which was my normal schedule. I had Thursdays and Fridays off and I would begin dreading that Saturday walk to the station starting on Thursday. Where I used to have nothing but love for what I did a little resentment was beginning to set in.
My discontent grew from there. I no longer enjoyed going into work everyday, not just on weekends. It was more interesting to me to pick out what I would wear that day than to do the actual work. I would head in that morning already counting the hours until I could head back home.
I also began thinking of excuses or reasons to call out sick. In reality I never did this unless I was actually ill (seriously), but yet I still spent a lot of time conjuring up excuses I could use if I changed my mind. Which was pretty telling.
I knew I was growing even more disconnected when the idea of covering a team in the postseason started to fill me with dread and anxiety. For a sports reporter, there is nothing like the playoffs! When I began my career, I would dream of working a World Series, a Super Bowl, or a Game 7. It was the ultimate goal.
Until it wasn’t.
Instead of excitement and possibility, suddenly all I could see was the seemingly endless work, long hours, crowded locker rooms, crazy deadlines, and no days off. While that used to be what I lived for, now just the thought made me exhausted and cranky.
But the final straw? When I realized I could not possibly see myself doing this same job for the next 10 years, five years, or even one.
That’s when I knew I was ready to walk away.
Some of my reasons were very much geared toward the TV business. But there are common themes that translate to all types of work that let you know it may be time to make a change. The dread of actually going into work each day. Not enjoying the jobs and roles that originally drew you to the position or business. And being unable to see your future if nothing changed.
Listen, life is too short to be unhappy. And there are far too many jobs and careers out there to settle for one that doesn’t light you up. Even if at one point it did. Hey, things change.
But like I said before, it’s not easy. I spent 16 years building a career in television. I made so many sacrifices and paid so many dues. I had earned my spot in the number one market in the country with my own blood, sweat, and tears (lots of tears). Starting over would mean giving that all up and going back to the bottom. And it was freaking scary.
Though I eventually realized what scared me more was staying exactly where I was.
Only you can possibly know if or when a change is needed. Just like only I could understand and decide when TV was no longer my dream career. But a change is always possible, no matter your age or place in life.
Finally making that change, however, is hard. In the coming weeks I’ll have more on that part of my journey. My goal is to keep it real and honest which includes the struggles, but I also want to illustrate the possibilities.
Our idea of timelines and what we should be doing at a certain age often hold us back. When, instead, realizing no person’s timeline is fixed has the power to actually set us free.
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