“This is all fleeting.”
The motto that changed my life.
Have you ever loved something so much and then all of a sudden it doesn’t feed your soul anymore? Well, that was never me and TV news. Being a TV reporter was never my top career choice, but someone encouraged me to go into it and a decade later here I am. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed my job, meeting new people, giving a voice to the voiceless, and shedding light on community issues. And I’d like to think I was good at it.
But I got tired. Tired of waking up at 2 a.m. every weekday, being assigned stories with no substance, feeling unappreciated and undervalued, and stressing out over who’s going to watch the kids when there’s a hurricane and Mommy & Daddy have to work. I once sent my son out-of-state for two weeks because a hurricane was coming and we had to work 12 hour shifts every day. Tough doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The TV news industry is a 24/7 beast with a stone-cold heart. You become a slave to it, planning your life around ratings months (February, May, July, & November) when most stations institute vacation black-out dates. I planned my wedding around it, my sister planned her wedding around it, and my two pregnancies and children’s birth dates were meticulously thought out because I wanted to be able to take time off to celebrate when those special dates rolled around.
You have to be tough to survive in the industry and that’s fine. I did it for 10 years and my husband is still doing it. But then I realized one day, this is all fleeting. I make all these allowances and accommodations for the industry but it would replace me in a heartbeat.
I don’t have to live this way; I choose to. That was underscored when my schedule was unexpectedly changed after returning from my second maternity leave. I found myself routinely working outside my normal hours and stressing about finding stories because of last minute changes to plans. When I expressed my stress and desire to return to my previous schedule, I was initially met with “everyone has stresses inside and outside work” and I “shouldn’t expect my schedule to be changed because of that.”
While plans were in the works to return to my old schedule everything got me thinking, and I decided to eliminate the stress that was my job. There are so many other reasons that led to my decision (salary, upward mobility, etc.) but I decided life was too short to continue doing something that wasn’t making me happy.
I have been truly blessed and fortunate to meet people from around the world and share their joy, hope, successes, and achievements. I am humbled and honored that people have entrusted me to share their tragedies and heartbreak during some of the most difficult moments in their lives. I never took that responsibility lightly and always tried to be fair and accurate.
More so now than ever, journalists are desperately needed in this country to disseminate facts, hold public officials accountable, and shed light on the many horrific injustices and social issues plaguing the world. Journalists have a thankless, but vital job in society.
For me, it’s time to discover something that feeds my soul. I’ll always be a storyteller at heart and love helping people. So stay tuned… in my next post I’ll tell you what I’m doing next (have to finish the paperwork first). Be sure you subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it.
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