I woke up on June 22, 2012 to an absolutely beautiful day. Temperature was just right, sunshine, blue skies – the stereotypical great summer day. I got up out of my bed to notice that a particular physical ailment (a constant twitching underneath my right eye) was gone. Smiling on my morning walk, I knew in a few hours I would be starting over again and I had no regrets.
The hour drive to work seemed more like 15 minutes. I finished up some last duties, spent the time saying goodbye to my co-workers and when my Dodge Stratus pulled off from the office (trust me, not as sexy as it sounds), I was no longer a full-time journalist. Now I was beginning a new career as a self-employed business owner.
In the year since I started this new path, I’ve had some very stressful moments, a lot of second guessing and minimal success financially. It’s been literally hand to mouth for me the whole time, but I can live with it for now because I only have to answer to one boss – me.
I realize that there may come a time that if things don’t start moving faster and the money situation doesn’t improve that I may have to go back to the rat race. At the same time, I owed it to myself to try, especially after my stay in journalism wasn’t a pleasant one.
I held two jobs in five years as a sports writer – one working for a family owned paper in St. Mary’s County, Maryland and a corporate newspaper chain in my home state of Delaware. The first job was a nightmare – I was hired over the phone, then the publisher came on board shortly thereafter and hated everything about me. The job I did was never good enough. I wasn’t good enough. Then after 3 1/2 years, I was fired. The illusion of being a good worker bee died at that job. It was a cold reminder that if someone wants to get rid of you, they will.
I was out of work for 2 1/2 weeks as I latched on with the paper chain here in Delaware. I was coming home, but I knew that if my best wasn’t good enough or if I felt like I was suffering for a paycheck, then I was done. And that’s exactly what happened. I became responsible for 3 territories in parts of the state with multiple high schools – I think I covered at least one event from 20 in all. I was stressed, my weight was back to being out of control, I hated life and figured out in January of 2012 that if I could just make it through the end of the high school sports season, I would move on.
So here we are today. I currently am my own business – writer, editor, social media manager, podcast host/producer/ad rep, soon to be web designer – a lot of hats for one person to wear, but I don’t mind. I hope that my business takes off because this is what I want to do. I’m tethered by the reality of bills and different things, so I’ve been hesitant to go all in. I still enjoy the process of working with clients and customers and securing their satisfaction with the job I’ve done.
It takes a lot to step out on faith as my mother says, but even if it doesn’t work, I can look back and say I tried. My previous career path just wasn’t working for me. I ate poorly, took too much shit from other people, allowed myself to feel that I was worthless. It was all bad. Now, I’ve lost weight as you all know, been able to assert myself more, still working on the worthless thing, but life has been easier to deal with.
Do I miss going to games and writing about them? Absolutely. Do I miss anything else? Not really. Not the office politics, not the editorial drama, none of that.
I just really miss a steady paycheck. But for now, I can sacrifice that in the name of starting a business and working on myself. I knew that I was making the right decision on June 22nd of last year when that eye twitch I mentioned, the one that had bothered and scared me for months disappeared.
And it hasn’t returned.