I have to laugh when I hear some young people say things like, "I'm still in a medium market and I'm twenty-five." You can hear the pain in their voices, as if certain milestones must be reached by certain birthdays.
So, a couple of stories about two of my clients who proved it's never too late to start a dream.... and have done quite well in pursuing theirs.
About a year and a half ago I got a client named Lori Obert, who, after a career that had nothing to do with journalism, decided she wanted to do more with her life. So this Denver gal got her first job in Peoria, Illinois. (Yes, there really is a Peoria. I know that's the standard town we use when we tell people they have to start in places like Peoria, but it does exist.)
Lori's goal was to someday make it back to Denver. An ambitious goal for someone who got a late start? Nope. Not when you're driven to do something you feel you were meant to do. And a lot of talent helps too.
Since Lori often went home to visit her family, I told her to start visiting stations and dropping off tapes. She did this for more than a year. Eventually she developed relationships with some managers. She kept dropping off fresh tapes, laying the groundwork in her job hunt. When an opening popped up that matched her skills, she was hired. She's reached her goal, even though she got what might be considered a "late start."
Meanwhile, I got another client at about the same time named David Still. A meteorologist from the South who was freezing in Iowa, David had also worked in an unrelated industry when he discovered that weather was his calling. His goal, like Lori's, was to move close to home.
Despite the late start, David had a polished presence that belied his experience level. While extremely well versed as a meteorologist, the guy makes weather fun and interesting, unlike so many "weather geeks" out there who bore viewers to tears. David worked hard, improved quickly, and regularly sent tapes to places close to home. And again, when a suitable opening occurred, he scored a job in Memphis. (Whereupon he was greeted by an ice storm... the guy brought the Iowa weather with him.)
Many times maturity is a very valuable commodity to a News Director. In a business increasingly populated by people right out of college, sometimes it's nice to have someone on staff who has actually used a typewriter. A good newsroom is made up of a nice mix; young and old, rookie and veteran, quiet and outgoing. When you have a staff made up predominantly of people under 25, a mature voice can settle things down, and tone down the drama that often comes with youth.
In any event, nice to see these two deserving people break some rules and reach their goals... even after getting a "late start" in the business.