Two Paths, Both Well-Traveled

Do you ever have regrets?

Not the “I wish I wouldn’t have eaten that brownie.” type. I mean the big ones.

  • The one that got away
  • The house you sold for a bigger one
  • The job you passed up

I work pretty hard to avoid regrets. I’m not saying I’ve always made the correct decisions in life. What I mean is when I make that decision, I tell myself I have thought it out and I am making the best one for the time.

This summer, I came up to a fork in the road. At almost the same time, I was offered a chance to teach or to go back to my first love.

No, not him

Broadcast news

So I came to a fork in the road, with both paths well-traveled.

The stars aligned. All the signs popped up to go back home.

  • My mentor was close to the TV boss’s boss.
  • A former boss of mine worked in the same company and swung the door to this television station wide open for me.
  • The general manager and I were supposed to meet for a half hour, hour tops. We met for 2 hours and could have kept going.
  • The woman who would be my boss and I had similar philosophies, common people.

I was ready to do it! My daughters and husband were supporting the move.

It was going to be tough. I was not going to be home much. I would go back to giving up days off, vacations, weekends. It was no teaching schedule. I would start missing out on my kids’ lives again.

However, I was feeling this incredible pull.

When the News Director asked me to review a show, I didn’t limit myself to that… I reviewed an entire day! I gave feedback on 2 shows. A lot of worked needed to be done. A lot It didn’t scare me away. In fact, I wanted it more.

I shared my feedback on the shows with my mentor.

“Am I crazy to do this?” I asked.

“You and me, Kim. We run to the fire.” He replied.

Yes. For people like us, the challenge is life. This station was rebuilding and I wanted to help put up the structure. I was getting excited.

As I started to consider actually jumping back in, a huge announcement came.

My boss at the middle school was leaving. Then, my other supervisor was leaving.

The signs all said, “Go back to news. You belong there.”

I do. I do belong there. I love the raw energy of a newsroom. The drive to win and watching it all unfold on a night of pure craziness.

Decisions made in seconds.

But then…

The signs started to change.

I truly can’t describe the shift, but it happened quite suddenly.

  • The new boss at school reached out … to every single one of us… individually.
  • A teacher I adore said she was going to be teaching with me.
  • Things weren’t going quickly enough with the news job and I didn’t want to leave the school in a difficult position.

I started to imagine life in the new classroom. The interaction with the students, watching them light up when they learn something cool and roll their eyes when I make an incredibly funny joke (haha!).

I saw myself back in the halls with my colleagues sharing the successes and helping each other out when we struggle.

In many ways, the buzz of a school leaves me just as pumped up as a newsroom.

  • I love the feeling at class change.
  • I like that moment just after morning announcements, when the day is just about to begin.
  • I love when a student wears a shirt because of a conversation you all had one day last week.
  • I love when students interrupt because they understood what you said and they want to compare it to something else.
  • I love when a student brings in a picture of a sandwich you talked about last week, because he and his family decided to try it.

The signs toward staying at school were growing bigger. I was feeling a pull to stay put, to build another year of memories with students.

Most importantly, my girls kept needing me for things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do if I went back home to television. I am not ready to not be there for them.

If anyone reading this is in broadcast news, a police officer, EMT, fire fighter, emergency nurse or doctor… any job that can call you 24/7/365… well, you know.

You can’t always pick when you are there for your kids and family.

I may belong in a newsroom, but for so many reasons, I also belong in a classroom.

I don’t think I will have regrets, because I love being in a classroom so very much… but… I may have regrets.

However, just like when I walked away from The Weather Channel, I know I will rather regret walking away from news than regret not being there for my girls when they need me.

That is not a regret with which I can live.

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