life · news

test

Do you ever feel like you are being tested? I feel like I was just tested by God. I don’t know exactly what I was supposed to learn from said test, but I am still trying to figure out if I passed or failed. Perhaps he was testing my faith in him, I tend to go in and out of my belief in God or a higher power of any kind. I am one of those people who goes to church on Christmas and then ignores religion the other 364 days of the year. I wasn’t always that way though, I used to be very faithful and a very solid believer. I am not going to get into when or why that changed… it’s opening a can of worms that my brain is not prepared to dig into right now. But I will say that today I believe fully in God and I believe fully that he is testing me.

Last week I accepted a job. A good one. The next day I got a call about another job. In a lot of ways we could say this was a better job. As I had not yet signed the contract for the job I accepted, I entertained the idea of the new opportunity that came along. I told the managers I would think about it over the weekend and then touch base on Monday.

I thought about it. A lot. I decided that the job I had already accepted would bring me a better work/life balance. Although it was less pay for a more challenging position, I fully intended to move forward with this one when I woke up Monday morning. So, I got up and my agent called me to discuss the new opportunity (I had emailed him to let him know what was up). As a guy that has been in the industry as an agent and news person for decades, I had hoped this conversation would give me a bit of closure about the choice. I wanted him to say something like ‘the first job you accepted will lead to more opportunities’ or ‘that other station is crap you would hate it.’ Instead he really gave me nothing. We ended the chat with the mutual decision to honor my first commitment of taking the job I already accepted.

I hung up feeling unsatisfied.

About a minute later, I got a call from the employer at the station hoping to interview me still. Instead of hearing her out I cut her off before she could say anything, telling her I would be moving forward with my other opportunity. She said they were very disappointed, there were a few awkward pauses and then we both said ‘okay bye.’

I walked outside onto my deck and stared at nothing for a solid ten minutes. The job I just turned down an interview for was the type of position I had been telling myself I wanted for about nine months… since I started searching for a new job. It was also the exact amount of pay I felt I deserved. EXACT. So why did I just throw in the towel?

TIME FOR A PROS AND CONS LIST. Sort of.

This new opportunity would’ve had me working weekends (Saturday and Sunday morning… like 3 a.m.) for the next three years of my life. I am 27 years old…. that means I would not have the freedon to go out on a Friday or Saturday night until I was 30. I am also single without any kids or a family of my own… so I need to still have a somewhat ‘lit’ dating life. I also wasn’t sure about the city the job was in. While it was what I wanted in terms of close to home, I didn’t see a lot of nightlife or growth happening in the area. These are the main reasons I turned it down. For the most part, right now I just want to have a life. While more money and a more prestigious position sound really awesome, I had to decide if it was worth what I would be giving up. No weekend days off means having to take PTO days to go to weddings, family events, holidays… even a baseball game on a Saturday with friends.

The ‘pros’ of the job are pretty obvious. More money, more prestigious position, more focus on what I see myself doing in the long run. But, who cares about that stuff when you can’t celebrate it with a few drinks in a Saturday night?

So this was a test. After uncertainty about if accepting the initial job was the right thing to do, God decided to help make sure I knew it was. He wanted me to see that life/family is more important to me than career/money. I think eventually I will get what I want career wise and money wise, but for now I want to live a full life with good experiences and be happy. The job I accepted will let me do that. So yea, I guess I did pass the test.

Sometimes writing it down helps reveal what was right there in front of you the whole time. Go with your gut. It’s always right.

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life · news

choices

When you have two choices and you finally pick one, your heart becomes content. Whether its with apartments, significant others, bottles of wine at the grocery store or jobs. It’s just what happens. It’s as if your whole body, heart and mind had tensed up and as soon as you say “this one” everything relaxes.

So last week I did that. I picked a job, my heart was at peace and my entire body mellowed out. It was super nice after more than a month of stressing out over finding a job. But that content feeling only lasted about 48 hours.

Less than 2 days after I accepted the job I got a call about another one. At first I told the employer I had already been swooped up by another station… but after I hung up… my stupid, annoying, pain-in-the-ass curiosity kicked in. What if that job was a better fit? What if that city was cheaper to live in? What if it was more fun? What if it paid more? What if that was a better move for my career?

So I called them back and told them that although I had indeed accepted a new position… no paperwork had been signed yet. I felt shady and dirty about it… but I also felt I would’ve always wondered. So I heard them out about the job. It sounded pretty good…. but it would have to sound REALLY good for me to risk compromising the other position I had already accepted. So I asked bluntly what it paid. That’s when I knew I was no longer content with my choice. This job wanted to pay me twenty thousand dollars more a year than the one I had just accepted **insert shocked emoji face**.

I genuinely was happy with my decision to take the first job… and I still am if that’s what I end up doing. However, can anyone really say ‘nah’ to an additional twenty grand a year without at the very least getting ALL the details?

So I proceeded to discuss the job with the employer. I was clear with them that my time frame is basically up and if they wanted me to consider the position I needed to come and see the workplace and the city like… in the next few days. We left it open ended. I explained to them that I had to run things by my agent, as I am sure he is going to dub me his most difficult client ever at this point, but I would be in touch either way.

Now I am sitting here…. researching a different city, cost of living, taxes, weighing out work/life balance, checking out apartments and overall just stressing. Again.

My shoulders will not come down from their state of tension… my face is holding a permanent *shocked* expression and my brain is nearly exploding with the unexpected new choice I have. Granted, this is sort of what I wanted all along…. two good opportunities to choose from. Of course, now that I have it…. I just want to curl up in a ball and tell everyone to go away.

life · news

decisions

Making decisions has never been easy for me. Whether its what I should have for dinner, or what I should do with the rest of my life, my heart just struggles. However, I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. This belief has helped ease some of that decision making.

Three years ago I was working in a small newsroom with a boss who had a temper problem. It was my first job after college so expectations were quite low. I had some great colleagues that tried to balance him out, but he was a very difficult person to work for. He wasn’t my first boss, the guy that hired me had left and then another manager (a good one) stepped in temporarily before they hired this bozo. I decided that ten dollars an hour, a crazy schedule and constant outbursts from an unstable boss was no longer worth it.

I took a week of vacation and went home to see my family. I decided it was time to leave the news industry and look for a job elsewhere. I spent a couple days filling out online job applications and writing fresh cover letters for positions I felt I was unqualified for.

Then, I received an email. Not from one of the jobs I had applied for, but a different one I had never inquired about. A news director in a larger market had seen my reel that I had put online and wanted to interview me for a position at his station. At this point I had nothing to lose.

He flew me across the country to a city I had never heard of. On the station’s dime I was wined, dined and shown the most beautiful sights of the mid sized city. When I flew back home I was unsure what to do. I knew I needed to get a new job but I wasn’t hyped on the idea of moving across the country.

When the news director called me and offered me the job I said ‘no thanks.’ Then I cried. I cried because I knew that was not the right answer. I cried because I knew that there was a reason this opportunity fell into my lap. I waiver back and forth with my faith sometimes, but in this moment I really believed God had brought me this for a reason. So I called the news director back and accepted the offer.

A month later I packed two big suitcases and jumped on a plane to start a new life all alone on the other side of the country. I was terrified. It took a long time to settle in, I had never lived anywhere besides my home state. But the experience of moving away, starting over and having to make friends and build a life from scratch taught me a lot. I grew up so much in the time I spent out there both professionally and as a person.

I will always remember that decision as the hardest and best decision I’ve ever made. It took courage and faith I had no idea I possessed. But I am a better and stronger person because of it.

news

newsfam

Television news is an industry where your coworkers often become your closest friends. I think there are a few reasons for that. You work long, odd hours together… sometimes even taking naps next to each other in live trucks between morning show hits. Many people in news are also not working in their home towns… at least not right away… so you have a bunch of people who are trying to make this new place feel like home…. seeking friendships and loves. A high stress, fast paced, creative job like news draws in a lot of strong personalities who in the heat of the moment may fight or yell at each other and apologize later. I think these kinds of fights sort of bring people closer together… sort of makes them family.

Today I talked with one of my favorite former coworkers. After hopping from our previous station to a new job in news he decided it was time for a change. For the past couple months he has been selling construction equipment for a friend’s company. I called him to ask his advice on my job search. Instead he dropped a bomb. A good bomb. After just a couple months out of the industry he scored a great offer right back in it, and right back at the station where I met him a few years ago. Back when we were there he was the weekend anchor… but in a couple months he is returning as the main weekday anchor for the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts with a promise from the news director to eventually co anchor the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts as well. It’s sort of one of those dream jobs. They offered him a nice little pay bump (kind of a huge pay bump actually), a decent clothing allowance and a solid signing bonus. We joked that I would come back too now that he’s there… as we once dubbed ourselves the ‘dream team.’

It’s phone calls like this that make me really happy I’m in this industry. This is a guy that I saw really work his ass off. Outside circumstances made him take a couple jobs that maybe weren’t the right fit for him, but now all that hard work is paying off.  I couldn’t be happier for this guy. In fact, I almost cried when he told me the good news.

There are people we meet that we are told we will be working with for a set amount of years and then simply go our separate ways. But, some of those people really make an impact and you know you will keep in touch, keep tabs on their whereabouts and their lives. By keeping in contact you are gifted great moments like this one where you get to share the joy of a major life change. He is one of about ten people I met at that job that I will continue to reach out to and check in on because we all love each other…. we are each others family and that is what family does.

Congratulations to my exceptionally talented friend who is getting a great new beginning in a place where he already has some solid roots and solid friendships. You can’t ask for more than that. Cheers to you.

news

unemployment

Many news people work under contracts, especially the people that are on air. The contracts are typically two or three years for a reporter or weekend anchor/weekday reporter. That’s why sometimes it seems very sudden when a local news person disappears from a station. Two or three years just really isn’t that long. It’s just enough time for you to become familiar with that person… perhaps even grow to really enjoy watching them. Then, they get snatched away by a higher market or a better paying job outside of the industry.

That is not what happened to me. My two and a half year contract as a weekend weather anchor ended…. I looked for a job…. turned down a few I didn’t feel would be a good fit… and then took the risky plunge into unemployment.

I have an agent. He’s well known in the industry and well liked by many of his clients. He’s continued to help seek opportunities for me. I will argue that although he is a nice guy, I don’t feel he’s done his nine percent of my salary’s worth of work. Since I chose to leave my job, a month ago, I have gone on two interviews. These news directors have paid to fly me to their city, stay in a hotel and discuss with them and other employees why I would or would not be a good fit for their team. My agent did not get me these interviews. They were all me.

Perhaps the reason television news is a small industry, is because it is a dying industry. Those two job interviews I secured were through friends I had worked with in the past. I simply texted them and asked if there were openings where they worked and they directed me to their bosses. Almost as simple as the 80 online applications I have filled out for similar positions that I have never been contacted about.

As I write this, I have two job offers on the table from those two interviews. Two news directors waiting for my response. Earlier this afternoon I turned down a third that was offered to me over the phone… the station did not have the budget to fly me out for an official interview. The amount of money the news director at this particular station offered me was low and a little bit depressing. The money barely above what I had been making in the same job 40 markets lower. It was easy to say no to the ‘opportunity.’

The two offers I am considering are starkly different. A station in a mid sized market wants to me to be the weekday morning weather forecaster. Those morning gigs are somewhat sought after in this industry as you get off at noon everyday. The other offer is one I had been hoping for and waiting patiently to hear about. A top 30 market reporter position. But the amount of money offered was substantially less than I expected.

Both of these were once coveted jobs. Jobs that five years ago, someone with my level of experience would not even be considered for. Rewind ten years ago and these jobs also would’ve paid quite a bit more.

Sometime this week I will make a decision. Then I will drive to my new city, rent a cheap apartment and furnish it with craigslist finds in the hopes of making it ‘feel like home.’

Both positions will keep me on a tight and uncomfortable budget for the next 2 or 3 years of my life. On top of normal expenses, I have to pay my agent, and for one job I would have to go back to school online on my own dime. (I am also still paying off my first student loans from my bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.)

Why do it? Why move across the country to take a low paying job with unpredictable hours that will keep you paying off loans for the rest of your life?

Because between all the bullshit… it’s a job that can be extremely fun and extremely rewarding. I guess that’s why I keep grinding.