On May 22, 2003, I walked out of a TV newsroom for the last time.
I didn’t know what was coming next. I didn’t have another job. All I knew is I had to get out of the environment I was in.
At some point, a job and career I had loved had become something I hated. The work environment was toxic for me. I woke up every workday hoping I was sick and could stay home.
A few months before, I had basically been told I was a horrible person and a bad employee, but management wasn’t firing me, but demoting me. I had gone from star employee being groomed for promotion and developing new shows after hours and in secret to persona non grata.
I was told to take the afternoon off and come back tomorrow.
That next day and every day that followed were horrible because it was essentially open season to publicly shame and belittle me.
That was 16 weeks before May 22, 2003.
During that time, I began looking for jobs. I didn’t know if I wanted another news job or something else.
I felt lost.
At some point, my parents decided I needed a wakeup call. They sat me down on my lanai and my father opened the notebook he uses for important conversations.
They had a list of reasons I should quit my job. I was stunned. Topping the list was to protect my mental health. They were seeing what the situation was doing to me.
It was a lot to take in.
After a few more weeks, I turned in my notice. I left. I didn’t have a job.
The next day, I got on a cruise ship and headed out of Tampa. I needed time to decompress and think about my next career move. I knew traveling was my best form of therapy.
I didn’t know it was the first of many travel adventures I would take over the next 20 years.
After a few months, I found a great job that allowed me to take time off to travel. After more than 14 years there, I left to work for myself.
That was six years ago.
Many people have head me say, “my boss is a bitch, but I know what she likes and I know how to manipulate her.”
She likes to be her own boss. She likes a challenge. She likes to explore.
She likes to travel.
On May 22, 2023, 20 years to the day I last walked out of a newsroom, I will leave on one of my longest trips ever, something a career in news would have never let me do.
Things have a way of working out as they are supposed to.