“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner” – The Dip by Seth Godin
I think it would be easy to look at someone who has started a blog about TV news and think that I love the business all the time. I wanted to share a little more background into why I started this site and why I am hoping to spread it to more people.
About 6 years ago I was absolutely positively convinced I was done with this business. You see, I was suffering from what many of us go through. I was in my second contract in a medium to small market, was living paycheck to paycheck, was sending out 5-12 tapes (links/reels whatever you want to call it) a month and was getting zero responses. I felt stuck. I felt like I was in some hole and no one knew I was down there.
I would constantly get the “You’re still young”…”It only takes one news director to like you”…”Keep trying. I am sure something good will happen.” I was simply sick and tired of hearing it.
I would see others, friends, move on and up and forget to be happy for them and instead spend the night being bitter and angry about how I couldn’t find anyone who thought I was “worth it.” I’m definitely not proud of how I felt, but that was the reality.
I was at work one day and just decided I was done. I informed my very supportive husband I was done and was going to get into another line of work because the hours and pay and lifestyle would be better. I thought it could be “fun” and “rewarding.” I actually did a legit interview in the field I was thinking of entering and that’s when it truly hit me. I wasn’t sick of TV news. I was sick of rejection.
I realized starting a new career would mean starting over and that all of the years I had put in (6 at the time) would mean nothing to any new employer. Now this feeling didn’t exactly make me feel less “stuck,” but it did make me search for a new solution other than “I’m GETTING OUT!”
If any of this sounds familiar, I have a book recommendation for you. It’s called The Dip by the very talented Seth Godin. I believe this book truly saved my career. It spoke to the position I felt myself in. I was very much in “the dip” at the time and it detailed ways to get through that. The book talks about when you SHOULD quit and I quickly realized I wasn’t there yet.
I read the book, which helped, and I adjusted my attitude to be more like the woodpecker who focuses on one tree. I was going to get my dinner, dammit! I also made some adjustments to my job search which I will detail later. Seven months later I got a call from WRAL, a station that was among my “dream stations.”
I am in no way saying a little attitude adjustment will get you a better situation right away, but I am here to say success is likely right there for you and you shouldn’t quit unless you really truly believe you would be happier doing something else. Sometimes you just need to understand you are not alone in how you’re feeling. That’s what the book did for me.
And in all honesty that’s why I started this project. This business can be really rewarding and can be a fulfilling way to spend a career. It also can be very frustrating. I’m hoping to build a community where young journalists can get answers and ask questions of those who have been there. Once you realize it’s “not just you,” it becomes easier to work through the challenging aspects of everything we do.