If you had told me back in January that by the end of this year, I would be working back in the local news business, I would have looked at you like you had two heads.
Rewinding back to 2012… it was that year that I ran away, screaming, from my last local newsroom, after working in local news exclusively for 7 years. That year, on my 29th birthday, I was told that I was a square peg, that I was not a fit for that newsroom, and that I had 6 months to find a new job.
I was so heartbroken and shocked at being let go for the first time that I turned away from local newsrooms altogether. I felt as though I had failed. I left the following month to embark on a 4-year journey into digital marketing and project management.
So by January 2016, I had pivoted to a digital agency project manager life that I had set out on in mid-2014. But if I’m being really, really honest with myself, living in that world wasn’t an awesome fit for me.
The long hours and client interactions exacerbated my anxiety, and while being a project manager spoke to my strengths as a communicator and taskmaster, it didn’t speak to my creative strengths, and left me feeling exhausted, stressed out and drained. I also found the start-up atmosphere to feel contrived – as though the agencies were putting on a show for clients.
So, here I am, in the last week of 2016, having circled back to what I really love. And I couldn’t be happier, because I have finally realized that what happened back in 2012 was entirely about that particular newsroom, and that particular leadership team. It’s even been echoed by new coworkers who once worked there, too.
Here all this time I had felt like a failure. I thought I was no good at what I was doing, and ran away. But being told back in 2012 that I wasn’t a fit was the catalyst for all of the experience I’ve gotten since, allowing me to “fail up” into a corporate social media position that would have been a dream job back then.
So, while 2016 hasn’t been the best year, in the end, it did provide me with this unexpected but totally amazing circle back to what I love. I feel at home with the people of my new employer and my home base. It’s a great feeling and one I haven’t had since my time with local media in Alabama, more than 5 years ago.
And if I’m being really, really honest, I don’t think I’d do anything differently.
Cheers and Happy New Year!