Ch-ch-changes: Putting Family First

job (putting family first)I am typically terrible at change.  I am a homebody at heart and tend to form very close bonds with family, friends and co-workers.  But this year, I made a conscious decision to channel my inner Oprah in search of some spectacular “Ah ha” moments.  I decided to come from a place of “Yes.”  And lo and behold, it worked.

Work is a passion for me. It has been since I had my first official job at 14 years old. I love setting goals, working hard to achieve them and then seeing the success that comes from that. I’ve spent nearly 15 years working behind the scenes in local television news. That experience will always be a huge part of me. I met some of the most amazing, hard-working and passionate people in that industry. The opportunity to truly impact people’s lives and make a difference is something I will never forget and will never take for granted. Plus, I knew things, extremely important things, before a whole lot of other people because that was my job to deliver that news to viewers. How cool is that?

And while there are so many amazing things about working in local television news, it isn’t quite as glamorous as one might think. It is intense, demanding, extremely high pressure and involves super crazy shifts, long hours, at least four months out of the year where you can’t take time off and basically always being on call in case of breaking news. Those huge snowstorms where meteorologists are telling you to stay home? You can bet there are dozens of local TV news employees trying to figure out how in the heck to get out on those roads and into work. Let’s just say, I kept a sleeping bag at work that I used more than once.

So while work is a big passion for me, my family is a bigger one. My preschool-induced panic attack started in January when I realized I needed to enroll my 3-year-old. I also then realized there would be three days a week that I would essentially be dropping my daughter off in the morning and then not seeing her the rest of the day because I worked nights. That wasn’t acceptable to me.

It almost made me throw up to think about leaving the TV station where I spent the last 12 years of my life. But I decided to at least keep my eyes and ears open for any opportunities that might provide me a better work-life balance. When being really honest with myself, I realized that my work-life balance was pretty horrible. My husband and I were truly ships passing in the night since we worked opposite schedules and many of our conversations happened via text because who can really talk while wrangling two girls. Our only true family time was the weekend, so my husband and I would both feel guilty if we had things to do on our own on the weekends because we only had two days a week to all spend together.

A couple months after being on the lookout for new opportunities, a pretty perfect position came about. I applied and was offered a position in local city government. It is a job that allows me to keep working with the media and maintain those relationships I formed over the past 15 years. It also allows me to be out in the community like I haven’t been able to be before. It’s 8 a.m.to 5 p.m., which I literally have never worked. I can take time off in all of the months now, including February, May, July and November. And we just had Labor Day, and I did not have to work.  All of this still seems very strange but amazing.

Many people in my life didn’t understand why I had such a hard time making the decision to leave for this new job. On paper, it was a no brainer. But it was a big leap of faith for me. I was comfortable and well-respected at my last job. The thought of giving up all that I had worked hard for seemed almost impossible to me.

As always, a conversation with my Mom put things in perspective. She reminded me that I wouldn’t have this opportunity now had I not worked so hard to build up all the experience I had from the past 15 years. She also reminded me that putting my family first was never the wrong decision and that is was OK to be selfish in that regard.

At that time, I truly felt I was making this decision purely for my family but now that I’m over a month into my new role, I am realizing how much I feel I am flourishing from the change. It is not only more family time but it’s a new challenge for me. It’s a chance to prove to an entirely new set of people that I am a hard worker and I can succeed in something different. It has made me realize that change truly can be a good thing and, in my case, it can even be a great thing.

So if you are on the fence about a big change, maybe it’s time to make that leap and come from your own personal place of “Yes.”

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3 Responses to Ch-ch-changes: Putting Family First

  1. The Rookie Dad September 24, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    I experienced these exact emotions about five years ago when I left TV news. While there are days that I do miss my time in TV news and the places and people it gave me the chance to go and talk to, I don’t regret leaving TV news. It has given me the chance to be able to spend more time with my family than I every would have if I was still covering those snowstorms.

    • Julie Breithaupt
      Julie Breithaupt September 24, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

      Yes, I definitely still have pangs of missing the newsroom and, moreso, my co-workers… but then I get to go home at 5pm and that kind of dissipates a little. Ha ha!

  2. Andrea September 28, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    I really enjoyed this. Although, I don’t have the exact same situation as you are talking about, it helped put my thoughts into a different perspective moving forward with other decisions that have been weighing on me. Thanks for the good read!