This morning, I ripped myself out of bed early (I KNOW) to dress nicer than I normally do for work because today is a special occasion: two years ago, I walked into the newsroom of the CBS Evening News for the first time, just a wee intern in the Research Department.
In that time, the show has changed a lot: we have a new anchor, a new executive producer, a new newsroom even. And I’d like to think that I’ve changed a lot as well. So in true millennial/Gen Z-cusp fashion (wow, even the way I self identify has changed), here’s a listicle of things I’ve learned in my two years of being “an adult.”
1) Smash Mouth was right.
By which I mean, the years start coming and they don’t stop coming. I’m still stunned when I remember 2010 was almost a decade ago and not, like, last year. But I understand now where the time goes.
Once I graduated and started working full time, it became so easy for the days to blend together. Wake up, commute, work, commute, eat, sleep, repeat. Five days a week. Party (or sleep) hard on weekends. Do it all again. Add on top of that a news cycle that makes each month feel like its own year and you become painfully aware of time as a flimsy construct humans made to gain some semblance of control in a random, uncaring universe. That cheery thought aside, it is still important to remember…
2) A lot can happen in a year (or two).
As I said, I started out with Evening as a research intern. Then just a few weeks before graduation, a spot opened up on the main desk and I became a News Associate. Three months after that, I became assistant to the then-Executive Producer, Steve Capus. And that was just 2017! In March of last year (side note: it’s VERY weird to think of 2018 as “last year”), I was bumped up to the position of Voice-Overs Broadcast Associate, a role whose explanation is more complex than the job itself.
I try to remind myself of this progression every so often because it’s easy to look at my peers who are making more money or climbing the corporate ladder quicker or jet-setting on their company’s dime and feel the green claws of jealousy take hold. But growth is growth, whether it’s an inch or a foot, and I’ve always been a bit of a shortie.
3) Think like Gloria Gaynor: “I will survive.”
One of the many reasons why I’m always tired is because sometimes, I like to lie awake at night and ruminate on every embarrassing thing I’ve said or mistake I’ve made in my entire life. It’s tons of fun. Good neck muscle workout from all the cringing.
Said errors include work flubs, and we’re not just talking about cutesy faux pas like replying all on an email (it’s actually not cute at all) or microwaving fish (I had salmon last night, I won’t apologize). We’re talking “oh my GOD, how did I MISS that” mistakes, “frantically send a ‘This won’t happen again’ email” mistakes, “who even let me graduate” mistakes. Things that wouldn’t get you fired but would make you feel very dumb and very small and very inadequate.
But they are also mistakes that are survivable. I still work for the show. I still get good feedback most days. I am not responsible for any deaths (that I know of). Of course, being part of a storied institution like CBS, I feel the pressure to present perfection. And while I don’t aim for anything less, I have learned to forgive myself, to say “I will do better,” and to try again tomorrow.
4) There’s a honeymoon phase.
If the links to my Instagram profile scattered throughout this listicle weren’t enough of a hint, when I started full time, I was in LOVE. Full-blown puppy love, post pictures of bae all the time love, isn’t life just so SUNNY and BRIGHT love. Obnoxious, that’s what I’m trying to say.
This doesn’t mean I don’t still love my job. I do! But like any job, there are bad days and stressful days and boring days and days where I think about facing my biggest fear (unfettered nature) and building a cottage in the woods where I raise chickens and honeybees and make bread.
And that’s okay. Like in any relationship, there will be lulls. You take some me time, put on a face mask, self-reflect. Maybe you decide to part ways. And maybe you remember the initial passion that brought you to this point and resolve to put in the work. Because you love it.
5) A diploma means nothing…
Because I’m still not done learning. I want to improve my shooting and editing skills. I want to build a network of sources. I want to continue to hone my writing (because wow, is this blog getting cliché). And with time and experience, I’ll get there. I’m reminding myself that I am growing, no matter the speed; that there are mentors with patience who’ll help as I stumble; that I’m only beginning.
I’ve learned there’s still so much to learn.