At the beginning of this year, I knew I'd have to make some radical changes. Last year was one filled with trials, lots of tears, and worst of all, a prevailing attitude of complacency. I remember saying on January 1st, "2015 is my year!" I was right, in a sense. It was "my year" to be beaten senseless by my own irrationality. My year to embrace my own mortality. (Three funerals in six months will make you do that.) My year to lose out on sleep, opportunities and precious family time because of my career. It was a rough one. I started out this year with the same ill attitude until I snapped. Didn't take long. Maybe the second week in January? I quit my job, did some serious soul searching, and honestly, I've been better than I've been in a very long time. I've been sort of absent from this blog so I figured I'd take some time to tell you all what's been going on in my life since then.
I feel like the gravity of me leaving my job in TV hasn't fully hit me yet, though tiny realizations have been coming in waves. I fully expect to wake up in a cold sweat one of these days; to spring up in my bed, clutch my chest, and proclaim, "what have I done!" I mean, that's the way they make it seem when you're leaving a job like that. The HR woman asked me a few times if I knew I was making the right decision. TV is a very incestuous place, people get recycled more often than replaced, and it's apparently a huge slap in the face to the "higher ups" when you decide to leave. There's a difference between being "bad" at a job and being "fantastic but ill-suited." I was the latter. I liked my job, I even loved it at times. It was SO cool to tell people I was a TV news writer in such a huge market, especially with no prior experience and no college education. When the realities of it hit me though, and the pomp was stripped away, it was just me and the ugliest depths of my pride. When I realized that I no longer believed in what I was doing (it happens when you realize you're giving up all hope of ever living a "normal" life so you can write stories about the Kardashians for people who couldn't give a damn about that nonsense) I started to cling to all the wrong things. (Pride.) I loved being on the assignment desk. I loved feeling like I was making a difference in my city. Once I got promoted and saw what actually makes it to air, I was thoroughly disgusted with the industry and myself for being complicit in it. I have nothing against others who do my job-- I'm just too sensitive for it. I'm an idealist. And quite frankly, I hate it when people tell me what to do. I became a robotic shell of myself; constructing witty (super corny) puns, mindlessly stringing words together just to make my producers happy. Some people are good at it. I was miserable. I had to get out, so I did.
I had backups but they didn't offer me the same financial security that TV did. I had plenty of long talks with my parents and with B. I sent out dozens of resumes, had some job interviews, and ended up disappointed each time. It eventually got to the point where I couldn't sleep because I'd have panic attacks just thinking about going into work. That's when I realized that even with nothing else in the pipeline, I'd have to cut the cord. That this would be the biggest leap of faith I'd ever taken. On my last day, I didn't even tell anybody that it was my last day because I hate being the center of attention. I just drafted an email, sent it, then snuck onto the elevator, never to return again. It was bittersweet. I made a lot of friends, I learned a lot about the industry, and I had some really amazing experiences. In the end, I wasn't cut out the for environment. It was toxic for my soul. It filled me with heaviness and stripped me of my joy. It's not a bad place. I was just a bad fit.
A took a few days to "mourn" my decision and try to figure out exactly how to pick up the pieces of my seemingly shattered career. I thought to myself, "in an ideal world, what would I be doing?" Two things stuck with me: Writing. Reporting. I contacted every local newspaper and heard back from one. After a few conversations, I was brought on as a contributor. (More on that a little later!) I then contacted a local web-based video news startup. I heard back immediately, (an incredibly rare occurrence) had a phone interview, sent over my (VERY cringeworthy) reporter reel, and I was in. Blessed. So blessed. I dusted off the old photography cobwebs and decided that if I was going to make this self-employed freelance life work, I'd have to reboot my photography business to pay the bills. I contacted a lot of former clients who were (mostly) thrilled to have me back. I'm not lying: if you put in the effort, it's astonishing what will make its way back to you.
I'd be lying if I said I still wasn't struggling. I had to say goodbye to a lot of luxuries I'd come to know throughout the past few years. I had to make amends with my ego and embrace the fact that I don't have a cool job title anymore. Paying bills is like trying to piece together a puzzle that's constantly moving. It all seems worth it though. Since stepping out on my own, I have the freedom and the energy to go out and promote myself and my blog. I've been meeting some really awesome people, going to some incredible events, and I'm even getting some press! (Which I'll be able to share with you in time...) I haven't been the most active here on my blog because I'm still getting used to it all but I can tell you that some amazing changes are in order. I'll still be posting here a few times a week, but if that's not enough, there are now some more places you can find me:
PhillyVoice: I contribute to this website a few times a month. You can find my latest articles here and here.
MyNEWPhilly: I'm the host of our segment called #TheFittingRoom. It's all about fashion and features local designers and boutique owners plus some tips and tricks from yours truly. You can watch my latest clips here, here, and here.
My personal website: I changed emricchini.com around COMPLETELY to be more of a CV for myself. I'll keep it updated with all of my journalism links as well as modeling, portrait work, and more. I also have a secondary blog on there where I post things that I like but aren't quite on-brand for LARK+LACE. You'll find photos, adventures, and the occasional piece of prose.
As always, you can also follow along on my Instagram and Twitter. Both are just my name, @emricchini.
Here's to new frontiers!