Stupid Brave

I’ve quit.

That sounds negative.  Let’s try:

I have resigned.

Hmm, kind of sad.  How about:

I’ve decided to leave my job to pursue other opportunities closer to my heart.

Long-winded and dry but accurate. I’ll take it.

So yeah, just shy of 7 years, I am leaving WE tv and going freelance.
Am I doing this to spend more time with my kids?

No.

Ok, again, that sounds negative.  Do I want to spend more time with my kids? Yes! But I also want to immerse myself in engaging projects that speak to my creative and collaborative interests. I’m not even going to TALK about having it all. Nuh-uh. Not even going to try. I am going to keep failing miserably when it comes to “balance” and having the time and bandwidth to please everyone in my familial, social and professional spheres. So if I’m going to continue the haphazard integration of work and life, I might as well be working on things I love.

As Director of Production for the creative team at WE tv, which was housed under the umbrella of AMC Networks, I was tracking along nicely. I was advancing in an executive career and the pay was good. Generous vacation. So many sick days that I lost them year after year due to the fortune (?) of my good health. A friendly, supportive work environment where it was accepted that you might have to run out the door “early” at 5pm to cover childcare or other life stuff. A real human place to work. 401K and everything.

Love my work family!

Love my work family!

But it wasn’t proving to be “THE” job, or even “THE” path I knew would make me happy. And not being happy, at work, means not being that happy at home. If I’m going to be away from my kids 50 hours a week, I need the reason to be one that fulfills me and re-ignites the passion I have for writing and producing films and series.

Well, I just lucked the f*ck out because I seem to have found it.

I may be giving up a steady salary, plannable vacation time, pre-tax contributions for dependent care and Metrocards and a bright future at a successful company, but I wasn’t really “me” there. The true self from film school whom I’d put on the shelf to some degree when I got swept up in the momentum of an upwardly mobile career and the comforts of consistency was now too restless to contain.

At work at WE tv. I will not miss the drafty ceiling.

At work at WE tv. I will not miss the drafty ceiling.

So what will this change mean for the family? Well, my husband can’t think about leaving HIS staff job anytime soon, since we’re on his benefits. If the projects I’m developing and producing aren’t coming to fruition fast enough or aligned with enough pay, I may have to find some additional means of income in copywriting, where I started in the TV business over 15 years ago. I may have to pull my son out of daycare, where he is thriving, and find a way to work during his increasingly shorter naps.

And if, after a year, this scenario just isn’t working, I will seek out steadier employment that meets our needs as a family. It’s my responsibility as a mom and life partner. Last time I was freelance was before I got married, over 8 years ago, when I only had myself to answer to. That freedom is gone. My decision to leave a staff job came after a lot of talks with Scott, list-making and sleepless nights adding up how long we could survive on one income without it affecting our day-to-day home life.

So I’m scared, and I’m reaching way past my comfort level, but the time is right.

In one of my exit interviews, a senior executive assured me of this, and I believe it is true:
“Don’t worry about the money. You will find a way to make money. The hard part is finding a way to do the things you love, and you have found that.”

So away I go.

What chances have YOU taken and how has that affected YOUR family?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Stupid Brave

  1. tartetitou

    You go MaMa! If anyone can find her true path, I know you can!!!

  2. Allison

    I think you should re-title this post as “awesome brave” because what I think what you’re doing is awesome. We’re in the same boat except I made the leap to follow Jason on his new career, and now I have to try to fix/revive/continue my own. Yeesh. Best of luck with the change! On a side note, we had to pull Wesley out of daycare until I find a job lucrative enough and I was worried about it because like Campbell, Wesley thrived at school. But honestly, he adjusted to being at home full-time really well. And I must admit I am enjoying the extra cuddles. If you happen to need any film scoring in your future let me know- my brother, like most musicians, is always looking for work. Best of luck!

    • Wow, I didn’t know that was why you were leaving the ‘hood, Allison. All for the good, it seems. There is something so right on about “going for it,” whether it’s for yourself, or the ones you love. I would love more time w/the kids. And I aim to get it…but I know I need to do this first.

  3. Good luck in this leap of faith! If you are doing what makes you happy then everything else will fall into place. Your kids and husband will be happier as a result as well. Enjoy!

  4. Wow, that’s great! Good luck, Liza! I look forward to hearing about your new adventures.

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