It is very easy to get very burned out when working in this business.
For a sports anchor like me, the burn out comes with the long hours and the weekends and the lack of days off. It comes when you shoot high school football on a Friday night only to turn around and wake up really early to drive four hours to shoot a college game that takes four hours to play and it’s 1,000 degrees and then you have to shoot a stand-up and you look like a sweaty mess….then drive back and post everything to the web.
For news reporters, the burn out comes with the long hours and the weekends and the lack of true understanding of just how long it takes to get from point “A” to point “B”. It comes when the desk sends you to a meeting that started 15 minutes ago, and when that doesn’t work they want an “MOS” instead. And while you are at it, shoot a VO of that festival that, may or may not make air, but will take you at least one hour to drive to and set up the sticks and shoot and edit.
In both cases we are hot and tired and we are among the people of the “real” world who spend their time GOING to football games and GOING to festivals and we are, instead, pointing a camera at them and trying to make deadline.
So why on earth do we continue to do this?
Because it is our passion. Because there was some point when we all decided this is what we wanted to do. It may have hit you in elementary school when they held try-outs for the “morning announcements”. Maybe it was all about joining the school paper and trying to make editor. There was a certain excitement and there were butterflies and you couldn’t wait to achieve your dreams.
You didn’t “happen” into this business. This was likely your childhood dream. So take 5 minutes and think about how many people ACTUALLY get to do the job they wanted to do when they were kids. Sure, it’s probably not as glamorous as you imagined, but I am betting there are days when it lives up to every single expectation. The days when you break a big story or shoot the perfect shot or write the most appropriate sentence.
It is really easy to get done with work on a random Tuesday and go home and feel bitter and angry about making no money and having no life and working long hours with no appreciation. That’s when we need to remember WHY we started.