When it came time to register for classes my freshman year of high school, one class caught my eye: Introduction to Journalism. A class where all I do is write? I thought. Sweet!
Obviously the class was a lot more than writing, but I loved it. I ate it up. And by the end of the year, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: I was going to be a journalist. A simple dream of being a journalist blossomed into a dream for one day working for the New York Times. I fantasized of living in a one-bedroom apartment, eating Cup-O-Noodles, listening to a police scanner while I switched news channels on my muted TV.
Yeah. That was gonna be my life.
I attended The University of Alabama and in 2005 graduated magna cum laude with a major in journalism and minor in history. I was ready to conquer the world. There was just one small problem. During my time in college, I felt this pull toward another career in a completely unrelated field. For whatever reason, I decided to go into that field and gave up journalism completely.
In 2007, shortly after getting hitched to my hubby, I was approached about a job in Metro Atlanta. It was a great company, I knew the boss, it paid well, had benefits (which my current job did not) and it was in a much larger area than where I was currently living in Augusta, GA. What could I lose?
The first year was definitely the honeymoon period. There had a been a LOT of turnover in my job in previous years, and I think many people didn't expect me to make it out of that first 365 days, but I did! The second year was phenomenal. Everyone was happy, we were growing, and I definitely label it my most successful and attribute it to the great people I was working with at the time.
Then the shit hit the fan.
My boss came under some hard scrutiny for some decisions she made that had very close relations to my department. Many of the people around me were very upset and basically ready to burn her at the stake. (I wish I was exaggerating.) People's positive attitudes suddenly took a nosedive and suddenly they began pointing fingers at me as well.
To top it all off, I found out I was pregnant. Being a high risk pregnancy I had to take a lot of time off for doctor's appointments and just to simply take care of myself and my little boy. I also had six months of "morning" sickness which made travel and speaking engagements incredibly difficult. Co-workers seemed to be understanding, but I could tell many were biting their tongues. My close relationship with my boss also didn't bode well for me. Anyone who supported her was labeled a "minion" or "flying monkey" and immediately ostracized.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, my boss decided to resign. It was not easy to hear, but the other supporters and I knew it was best for her, her family and the company. People walked around with their chests puffed out, proud that they had gotten rid of the "Wicked Witch of the South," and they were zeroing in on the flying monkeys.
When I returned from maternity leave, our new boss was in place and making some changes, but many things were going back to how they had been done in the past. Not good.
My emotional health took a major turn for the worst. The criticism, the angry late-night phone calls, my decreasing self confidence and lack of support all collided into a period of time when thoughts of suicide were frequent and my personal relationships suffered. (Read more here.) I eventually got straightened out, but I still frequently have anxiety attacks and was diagnosed with an ulcer due to stress.
A few months ago, I took a trip back to the newsroom where I did my journalism internship. It was great to catch up with old co-workers, meet new faces and the smell! Oh dear God, the smell of ink, paper, coffee and frustration. It was all there!
By the time I walked out, I needed another hit. I was seriously like a crack addict who relapsed after years of sobriety. I needed it. I needed news. I needed to write. The only problem: print is dying and no one is hiring.
To feed my craving, I started following various news sources on Facebook and Twitter. Social media was definitely a new outlet for the news since I graduated, and I loved it. Then it was time to revive the old blog. I didn't have a lot of time to put into my writing, but I honestly couldn't wait to get home each day to write, even if I had nothing to say. (Yeah, some of those posts were lame.)
Through this process, I somehow got inspired. I still don't know where exactly the idea came from, especially now that it's morphed into something bigger than I could have imagined, but I've decided to be a publisher. A creator. An entrepreneur.
My new e-zine will launch December 15, and I could not be more excited. Funded through advertisers and free to readers, CSRA Family will have a strong social media presence, encouraging conversation and responses from its readers, as well as delivering story links straight to readers' news feeds.Though marketed to the great community of the Central Savannah River Area, CSRA Family will be relatable to everyone. The site will be available for preview in early October, and we are currently taking local and national advertisers.
I'm getting a lot of mixed reviews on this decision. Some people think I'm absolutely insane, while others are incredibly supportive and can't wait to see it. And I agree with both of those assessments. Yes, it's crazy. Yes, it's unpredictable. But, dammit, working on this the past few months has made me happier than I have been in a long time. It's restored a passion in me that I forgot even existed.
I recently submitted my resignation and it sucked, but I can't go back to a job where I feel absolutely nothing on an every day basis. I can't go back to a job that makes me puke from anxiety and have tension headaches all the time. I can't go back to a job that causes me high blood pressure at the age of 28.
I just can't...
"Life without passion is unforgivable."