I wrote my last blog post on September 9 about experiencing more and being grateful, then on September 14 I received an offer from the Houston Chronicle to return home.
I have worked for the Houston Chronicle for most of my adult life- almost 17 of the 23 years since I graduated. I started right out of college at the tender age of 22, two months shy of my 23rd birthday. I left at 24 because I thought I wanted to go into teaching. What I ended up doing was working for the University of Houston as the sales manager of the Student Publications department, a perfect combination of advertising and training/teaching.
I returned to the Chronicle at 28 and worked there for the next 14 years in a variety of positions and it was during those years that I gained the most experience about paper, printing, operations, circulation and so many things. I loved the years when I was a project manager for special and new sections.
When I left at 43 I needed a break. A lot of things had happened in my life, like a divorce, my elderly father became ill, maybe a mid-life crisis. I don’t know, but I had the intense desire to take a break and get out on my own. I did that for a little over a year and then it was time to go back to work. An opportunity came up with a community newspaper group and I took it.
It was a good year and a good experience. I learned more. There’s always more to learn, no matter how long you’ve done this.
So here I am on the eve of my 3rd start, thinking of the things I’ve missed. I missed being a part of something big. I missed that knowledge that every day people fire up their computer and go to chron.com or still go out to their front lawn and pick up their newspaper. I missed knowing that in my little way I was a part of this city’s day. I was part of an institution in this city, part of its 114 year history, and that feeling is awesome. That is why I’ve loved working there all these years. Third’s a charm!
I’m going back this time older and wiser. Questions I wondered about have been answered and I may not have known if I hadn’t left. I had to venture out “daring greatly” to the unknown and I do believe that I’ll be a better employee and leader now.
More than anything, this past year has really been a great lesson in humility, gratitude and budgeting. I have learned to live with so much less in my life and we survived. I tell the kids that all the time and they agree. I lived a year without Starbucks, haircuts, pedicures and internet and it has made a difference. But I can’t lie, once I’m back to where I want to be it will be so nice to get a pedicure and a manicure.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning. I feel like I do when the kids are starting the school year, New Year’s and my birthday, when I make or review my goals. I’ve made new goals, both professional and personal and now I need to set out to reach them.