This Wasn't Supposed to Happen to Me

November 14, 2016

Here I am, on the eve of my 28th birthday, and my life isn't at all what I expected.


Now, before you go and make assumptions, I am very happy with my personal life. I have the best husband in the world, and I'm not just saying that. He is truly wonderful and supportive in everything I do. I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Nashville (possibly the best place I've lived so far in my life - besides Colorado - I mean, duh!). The city's at my fingertips, but I'm not where I thought I would be in my professional career.


I don't want to say that my career died before it even got started, but that's how I'm feeling at this point in my life. I spent two years in Amarillo at the NBC affiliate soaking up everything I could learn about the broadcast business and set my sights on what I really wanted to become; a sideline / post rider interviewer for some rodeo entity. Now, let me tell you that these jobs are a dime a dozen. There are literally three, maybe four, of these jobs in the United States and somehow I managed to land one. I felt like I was on top of the world, fulfilling my life-long dream. (It was either this or marine biology. Maybe in hindsight, I should've chose the latter.) I was traveling and in a different state every weekend, meeting new people, and most importantly, doing something that I love. Then, to top it off, I got a job offer at the rural TV company I had dreamed about working for as soon as I declared my broadcast journalism major. So, here I am, embarking on this new journey and moving to Music City while sideline reporting on the weekend. I thought I had it all figured out and it was all uphill from here. 


I feel like I digress, but in order to get to where I'm going, I feel like I need to give the background of where I've been. 


Maybe I should've seen the writing on the wall when it came to both of these companies, because a year later the rodeo association I was sideline reporting for folded up. As my husband likes to say, "The owner took his toys and went home," which is pretty accurate, but of course there's always more to the story. I think we all saw this coming but were just holding on to the one last, great white hope that it could be saved. But you already know the outcome.


So, there I was, making the best out of the job I moved to Nashville for. (I won't bore you with the details right now of why I was just trying to get by. I'll save that for another post.) Things weren't all that bad, I mean, they paid for me to go to Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for 10 days. I'm not saying everything was peachy-keen while I was there, but I'm also not ungrateful and complaining. Then, three months later, we had a "meeting" with the owner of the rural TV company and were told that there were going to be some changes - and by changes, he meant lay-offs.


Then, poof! There went that job too. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it because I started to believe that this was a blessing in disguise. I was lumped into the 40% that was laid off from the company. Like I said, kind of a blessing in disguise, because I was a planning a wedding at the time and could devote 110% to making this dream destination wedding come true. 


Fast forward to present day and I'm (still) unemployed, and the reality has set in. I'm going to be 28 and this wasn't supposed to happen to me! I'm supposed to be some successful reporter, driving the Range Rover and not having a care in the world! Hello reality check! It's embarrassing for me to admit. I feel like I had so many people watching my career and my next move. I feel like being from a small town word travels quick whether you're successful or not. I don't care what people think about me, but I'm "Kayla Zadel - the TV reporter," the girl who actually made something of herself. 


Some might think it's the best thing in the world - I don't have to work (thanks to that wonderful husband of mine) and I could just stay at home and do whatever I please. No boss to answer to, no alarm clocks, workout whenever and where ever I want, and I feel like the list goes on and on. But let's be honest, I am the type of person that NEEDS to be doing something. Now I don't mean that I'm going to get in trouble if I'm not occupied (cough, cough, President Bill Clinton). I was just raised that you work from sun up to sundown and that you don't let a man take care of you. Believe it or not, I am struggling with letting someone take care of me. I like getting a paycheck and getting my hands dirty. I like earning money - thanks to my mom and dad. Somedays I think I could get used to it, and others, I'm devastatingly depressed and can barely get out of bed.


Am I upset that I got laid off from the rural TV network that I so long dreamed about working for? Yes, but not in that way that one might think. You see - I held this network to such a high standard but when I got there and learned the interworking's of the company, it was such a let down. It was not at ALL what I had envisioned. The management was awful. I'm sure all employees think that about some company they've worked for, but this one was truly on another level. I know it's hard to get along with all of your co-workers, but there are just some that could be Satan's spawn. Like I said, I'll get into that with another post. 


Some might ask, why don't you just get another job in the TV business? Trust me, it's A LOT easier said than done. It's not like you just walk down to your local TV station and fill out an application. Now there's talent agents and it's all about who knows who and what you look like. I hate to even say that, but I've applied for countless jobs and contacted many local and national networks with no success. I was talking to one sports network - to the guy that could literally hire me for a sideline reporter position, but he wouldn't because I didn't have an agent. He even helped me look for one instead of just saying let me see what we have open and where you could fit in. Maybe I'm being a little too picky with what I want to do, but I'm not going to settle this time and end up in the same position I'm currently in. 


I've talked to agents and one even told me that I don't have the "pop" it takes to be a network sports reporter. Really? The pop? How do you cope with that after you've lost two jobs, one where you felt like you were on top of the world? Plus, continually being told no or just not responded to by potential employers or agents. You might ask, why get an agent? I've been asked this numerous times and I even ask myself this from time to time. Strength in numbers - I feel like if there's two people looking out for me, then the turnaround time should be cut in half. 


I know I shouldn't throw all the shade on TV networks and agents. I mean, could I use a little more experience and some skills? Sure - but aren't we all learning as we go? And how am I supposed to get more experience when no one will hire me? Some might say, why not apply for a position at a smaller market? I have and when those markets don't even contact you back, you obviously start to look at yourself and question what's wrong. Some might ask, why not just get another job? I'm not ready to just "get another job." For now, I can't picture myself doing anything outside of broadcast journalism.


For now, I'm going to write. I hate calling it blogging - it feels so cliché especially now that everyone thinks there going to be famous with the next blog or Instagram post. I'm not going to give up even though I feel like all the odds are stacked against me. I tell my husband at least once a week I'm going to wave the white flag when it comes to my broadcast career. Even though I might cry and complain about it, I just feel like I'm not at the point yet - no matter how much I get beat up and beat myself up about finding my next move. I was raised to never give up. Some might call it my weakness and that I should just recognize that I'm not going anywhere, but for now, I'm not ready to swallow the surrender pill. Here's to holding out and standing up for myself and not worrying that I'm about to turn 28 and my career isn't where I want it to be. I'm going to embrace this new year and quit thinking that this isn't how I mapped my life out to be. I'm paraphrasing some great quote here, but I can't keep looking to the past if I want to move forward in my future and waste more time thinking this isn't how I thought I would end 27 and start 28. So here's to starting year 28. After all, isn't age just a number and it doesn't matter how old you are, just how old you feel?


Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~ Mark Twain ~

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