As with almost every big life change, the transition is tough. Letting go of the old, adjusting to the new... the balance of trying to fit in versus being myself. Not only is it mentally draining but also emotionally, physically, all the "--ally" things.
I've been working at my new station for about a month & a half now -- still learning, still making mistakes, still trying to find my place. The fundamentals of the job are about the same... but there's A LOT more asked of me here than any previous station I've worked at in the past (not a bad thing, just a lot to get used to).
First and foremost, the shift in schedule is a huge lifestyle change as I've only ever worked mornings in my on-air career. For the last 6 years, my alarm went off at 2AM. Six years of saying "here's what it'll look like today..." and "good morning"... and "today's highs temps"... phrases that turned into hard habits to break. Since moving to Austin, my schedule has been flip-flopping every week with filling in for both the chief & morning met... but I end up spending most of my days working nights. So my "good mornings" are now "good evenings"... and my "today's highs" are now "tomorrow's highs"... little changes in vocab that seem to take all my brain power to say or not say.
Besides the craziness in hours, the change in area is also tough to get used to. After 4 years of being able to rattle off any and every seed of every county in the entire state of New Mexico... I now need to squeeze into my brain every name of every town in every county in the middle of one of the biggest states in the U.S. (And to add to the difficulty, after spending the last few years trying to get the Spanish pronunciations of the NM towns.... I move to Central Texas and realize none of the Spanish-named towns are said in a Spanish dialect (ex. Llano pronounced "lan-o" and Blanco pronounced "blank-o". What gives?!)
Between the schedule, the familiarization with the area... and of course, the way the team executes their daily operations... the transition has been (in one-word) overwhelming. I was low on self-confidence and high in doubt... I hadn't had that "I belong here" moment I was looking for. Until Friday.
Part of the "extras" of my job are doing short segments or online write-ups we call "in-depths". It's part of the station's brand... the idea of giving viewers more than just the story. We want you to watch our newscast and think, "I didn't know that" and be able to walk away knowing more than what you did before you watched us.
That being said, my producer told me on Friday morning that my News Director (my boss) wanted an 'in-depth' piece on Tropical Storm Imelda. (Background: I have done a couple of in-depths before this and didn't feel good about any of them. I felt like they were choppy or hard to follow -- I couldn't seem to get it right.) But regardless - I told her I would put something together.
Because Imelda brought heavy rain and deadly flooding to southeast Texas, I thought the tie to Hurricane Harvey would fit... considering some of those *same areas were hit 2 years ago by the Category 4 hurricane. So I spent a couple hours researching the two storms online: strength, intensity, duration, fatalities, etc. I had two graphics and everything I needed to be ready to go for the 6PM newscast.
I never really get nervous on-air anymore... but because I felt I had butchered the other 'in-depth' segments before this, I was anxious. I even had to do the "take a big breath" talk in my head before the anchors tossed to me. One minute later, I did the hit and it was done.
It was the 'FIST PUMP IN THE AIR' feeling I needed. No major stumbles, somewhat easy to follow, confident in what I was saying... I felt GOOD. And it had been WEEKS since I felt like that. I walked back to the desk thinking "OK... you did it. You actually did it."
I've done thousands of on-air hits talking about everything and anything... but for whatever reason... this 1 minute segment gave me all my self-confidence back. I immediately texted Yeomans (morning met) telling him about how pumped I was that I had *finally pulled off a good 'in-depth'. (I even got a thumbs up from Robert, our evening anchor whose been manning the desk for close to 30 years!)
It seems minor but it made all the difference in the world. It was the sign I was looking for... the reassurance I needed to really convince myself I didn't make the wrong decision in leaving ABQ. I finally felt like I did my job... I fit the brand... and convinced myself that yes, this move was worth it... and I belong here.