Metanoia: the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self.
I’ve known for a while I would eventually need to write this post and put the battle that layed within my heart & mind out there. Though, I didn’t know how to convey to so many who wouldn’t understand why I quit the career I went to college for, prayed for, worked for, cried for, and received. They say knowledge is power and they’re definitely not wrong; but so is fearlessness.
For 5 months straight, I worked my ever-loving butt off as a reporter for my local T.V. station. My duties as a multi-media journalist (T.V. reporter) were to find an idea for a newsworthy story, set that story up by scheduling times to meet people involved and do interviews, film and interview those individuals for my story, write my story into two parts for two different show times, cut and edit the film and interviews together into those two parts, and finally, tell my two stories live by my 5 and 6 o’clock show deadlines… occasionally have them torn apart by my own producer’s or viewer’s thoughts. Though, most days, I had anywhere from 2-5 stories to do exactly those duties for — all. by. myself. Not only was it a lot for me, but I became increasingly overwhelmed by the day, I lost the joy in doing it.
What began as my passion fueled by pure excitement and hope to do my best, soon became overwhelmingly stressful, depressing, draining, and just hard. I felt like I was so high up but came crashing down, and how could anybody understand that? I’m supposed to love what I do, right? Constantly working alone from start to finish and up until deadline, missing the chance to even leave and take a lunch, knowing I’m not producing my best work because of my time constraints and workload, being torn down because it’s not my best work, plus constantly hearing all the bad that’s happening in the world via T.V. news was getting to me. But what was I supposed to do? Quit? Throw away thousands of dollars worth of education and hard-work because I couldn’t handle my career? Not exactly. Or, so I thought.
During the last month and a half I worked at the station, I sucked up my feelings and didn’t bother my parents with how I was feeling for their sheer disappointment I was trying to avoid. I was insanely disappointed in myself, so how could they not be? They were so proud of me for accomplishing what I set my mind to and succeeding in telling my “amazing” stories everyday. They get my news channel and would watch me every afternoon along with my home-town supporters I’d accumulated. Though, as the days went by, I found myself becoming depressed with my situation and grew to secretly hate my job, dreading even waking up for it. I knew I had to tell my parents first before I could go about changing my situation.. if that was even possible. So I did. One at a time, starting with my mom.
“Don’t allow fear to put you in a cage.”
I was surprised by both of their reactions. They weren’t disappointed in me, but rather disappointed that what I had hoped for wasn’t all I had hoped it to be. More importantly, they supported my decision to leave what wasn’t serving me anymore and even let me in that, while the family construction business was booming, my mother was growing overwhelmed with all the work and could use my help. Though having several questions for me, their main question: was I sure I wanted to quit? And honestly, that was a big question.
Obviously to quit anything is a negative thing, but especially a career you went to college specifically to do. I didn’t wanna leave my co-workers I had grown close to behind or worse, leave a bad impression on anyone that I’m a quitter. Also, how could I even be sure of anything if I was so sure about this career and found myself here? After all, this job wasn’t all bad all the time. For one, I got to meet amazing people who do amazing things — city leaders, philanthropists, strong individuals, local celebrities. The community as a whole was very kind and welcoming and I grew to love the area of Texoma. I was also well informed and up-to-date with the news for maybe the first time in my life. Plus, I got to grace the screens of folks all across the northern region of Texas and even parts of Oklahoma, telling the stories through my own words just like I’d always dreamed of doing. I was also constantly told by peers how cool my job was.
“A golden cage is still just a cage.”
While I was unsure if I wanted to quit on all that, the one thing I was absolutely sure of was that I didn’t wanna do the job I was doing any longer. Not for one more day. And in the end, that was all the reason I needed to solidify my decision to walk away from my reporter job at the news station. I mean, we’ve all heard the saying, “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” No one should wake up in the morning and day-by-day not wanna do what they work so hard for. All my life I’ve been the biggest advocate for doing what makes you happy or make the necessary changes in your life if you’re unhappy, regardless of what other people think and regardless of the work it’s gonna take to get you there. Now, it was time to follow my own advice.
After talking with my boss about how I was feeling about leaving, absolutely the toughest conversation to have by the way, I left his office unsure of my decision. He wasn’t mean to me, but made me question if I should walk away because of the talent I had and reporter I was growing into. He also reminded me of how much money and time I had spent to get where I was. So, I worked tirelessly for two more weeks like the conversation never happened. I didn’t tell another soul at my job how I was really feeling, afraid of what they might say to me as well. Simultaneously, I also worked things out with my parents on what I could do to help them with the family business, should I end up leaving my job, and sought the advice of other legal and working professionals. With the knowledge I gained, I finally made the ultimate decision to put my two-weeks notice in with my boss, despite all the time and money I was essentially putting to waste — though, the question begs to be answered… can we put a price on one’s happiness and peace of mind?
Truthfully, putting my two-weeks notice in felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. It takes quit a bit of fearlessness to actually do what I did. Truthfully I still have family, friends, and peers who judge me for walking away and that’s tough. Though, I swear I walked with a pep in my step that whole day, the day I chose myself and my happiness — it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me who’s against me. Because, while for a long time and especially then it seemed like the end of the world, my experience taught me a lesson in the hardest way possible: it’s okay to change your mind, it’s okay to start over.
Even though I was afraid to say I failed at my first job after college, even though it’s really hard for me to put out there that I’m no longer a T.V. reporter after all it took me to get there, I know I’m not alone. I’m not the first post-grad to get exactly what I want to find out it’s not actually what I want, or the first find myself in my first job after college and absolutely hate it and wish I would’ve done something else. So, I wanted to share my story with the hope it helps anyone out there finding themselves in this situation like I did — you, too, have the courage to put your happiness and mental health first and try again.
“The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, you start living a different kind of life.”
So friends, you heard it here first, this is the ultimate end of the news chapter in my life — I’ve officially signed off and I’m sorry it took me so long to let you all know. But, while I’m back in my hometown of Graham working alongside my mom, there are some very exciting things to come next for me. You didn’t think I was leaving there without a plan, did you? I think I’m truly just getting started in what’s been calling my name all my life (my real dream job), but there are still a few things I need to get in order before I can tell annnyone. Keep an eye out for the next big news coming (hopefully sometime) this year!!