Recently the police called and told me there was a reporter on the ledge of a tall building who was ready to jump into another career. She was depressed and ready to set fire to her dreams. Could I come and talk her down?
Sure, why not. I do it all the time.
I arrived and took in the scene.
I recognized the reporter, an attractive young woman who had a ton of talent. I'd seen her stories; she had a personality that jumped off the screen and turned excellent packages even though she didn't work in a big market. Why she was on the ledge was a mystery. She stood there, lower lip quivering, looking down at a street filled with traditional nine-to-five careers that would bore her to death.
And yet she was about to jump and leave something she loved behind.
"Hey," I said. She turned to face me and said nothing, her eyes filled with tears and hurt. The cops said I had to be very tactful and not spook her, that I needed to be gentle and soft spoken.
"What the hell are you doing on that ledge? Get off there!"
She wiped her eyes and furrowed her brow. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me," I said, moving closer to the ledge. I reached it, about ten feet from her, and looked over the edge. "You wanna jump into that?"
"It's safe," she said. "No more resume tapes, no more contracts, no more crazy managers."
I pointed over the edge at the undead heading for their jobs. "Look at them. Same thing every day for the next forty years. Watching the clock. Nothing to look forward to. No dream."
"I'm tired of waiting," she said. "Suppose I never get a better job?"
"You'll get one."
"I've been sending out tapes forever. Everyone says they like me, but it's always a hiring freeze, or the timing isn't right, or the economy stinks."
"The stars have to align."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I've read your blog. You always say that."
"Because it's true. Timing is everything, but eventually talent finds a good home."
"I'm not sure I want to wait for those stars." She turned and looked back over the ledge. "At least down there I wouldn't have to worry about anything."
"Don't you care that you'll be bored out of your mind?"
"I do, but I think I could deal with it."
"You think you could make a difference down there?"
She paused a moment, leaned back and looked at me. "Why do I need to make a difference?"
"Because you can," I said. "Your stories can inspire, save lives, help people make ends meet, educate. You can change the world in a small way. You remember how it feels when you've done a story and it makes a difference?"
She nodded and smiled, took a step back from the ledge. "Yeah. That is pretty nice."
"Success isn't defined by market size."
She shook her head. "Damn you and your logic. I hate when you do that."
"So, why don't you go back to your career, make a difference, and let the opportunities come to you instead of chasing them so hard? Why not live in the present?"
She leaned over the edge, took a look at the zombies below, and stepped back onto the roof. "Okay. I guess I can do that a little while longer."