Nobody asked me 10 years ago what I thought I might be doing right now. But if they had, I know I would not have said that I would be planning to move my family to an army base in Korea. Not just because I didn’t have any children at the time but because my husband had not even joined the military.
Ten years ago I thought that about now I would be taking over the Noon Show at KXMC in Minot North Dakota. Carla Burbidge (the current anchor) might be getting tired of the gig and ready to pass it along. My meteorological knowledge would add to the show’s weather segments. I could come in around 9 and leave again around 5 each day. Almost unheard of in the TV world.
We were living the good life in Minot North Dakota. Freshly graduated from Minot State University, recently married and excited to start our lives together.
I was working as a weekend weather anchor and feature reporter at KXMC the local CBS affiliate. I was doing well. The company was helping me get my Meteorology degree, I had won a couple of awards for my work and couldn’t go to the grocery store without someone asking “Hey Heather, How’s the Weather?”
But although the job fed my ego it fell short when it came time to put actual food on the table and pay the bills. Weather anchors don’t make very much money. My husband wasn’t having much luck bringing in a decent wage either. He was stuck working hourly for a landscaping company. Minot State University was graduating a large percentage of Criminal Justice Majors (my husband being one of those) and there were few criminal justice jobs to be had. Frustrated after applying for a job on the police force and watching the positions go to the sons of two officers, we decided to become a military family.
It was a hard adjustment at first. My husband came in as an E3 and I was working as a reporter near the Army post. I was interviewing government and base officials daily but in the evenings when I took off my suit and attended functions I felt snubbed. The other women whose husbands outranked mine weren’t terribly interested in socializing with me during FRG meetings and the like and I wasn’t interested in socializing with women my own “rank” who seemed much younger.
I let it slide. After all this was supposed to be a temporary gig. Get in, get out, move back and apply again to the Minot Police Department with military experience. That was the plan. 10 years later he is making a career out of it and I am … Well I’m not sure what I’m doing.
I have learned that TV stations aren’t terribly interested in hiring a anchor that may only be around for a couple years – if that. They spend a lot of time and effort promoting their on-air personalities. The weather anchors especially need time to prove themselves and gain the trust of the viewers. Stations are quite happy to put you in a general reporting gig and ask you to go knock on the door of a couple who just lost their son yesterday and then stick a camera in their face. Yes I was really asked to do that. That is not the job I’m interested in however.
For a few years I sold Real Estate in Texas. I was very good at it. I find that it is easy to sell a product that you believe in. Within a year I was one of the top 25 Buyer’s Agents (Realtor working for the Buyer) in the market. But when the market fizzled and I saw that Real Estate is not all happy profits and happy clients, it became extremely stressful extremely fast.
For the past two years I have worked for a Chiropractor (easy sell when you believe in the product) and as a Substitute Teacher for my son’s school district. It’s not what I went to University for and not what I thought I’d be doing ten years ago but I have accepted that these temporary jobs are part of military life.
At the moment I am researching what I want to be when I grow up. I guess I should say what I want to be when my husband retires. Then it will be my turn again. The MyCAA educationsl benefits are not available to me (damn rank) but I believe that getting a master’s degree today is the equivalent of getting a bachelors degree 10-20 years ago and the two bachelors degrees that I hold are not much more useful than a high school diploma. A masters is basically a necessity. Now I just have to decide which one.
So goodbye to the world of Broadcast Productions and Advertising/Public Relations. So long Broadcast Meteorology. I’ll miss you. I’ll miss you a lot. But it is time for this military mom to put aside her ego and realize that she’s in the Army now. The security that my husband’s job offers me is my chance to start fresh and make educated decisions about my future without the ego.
But just in case she ever reads this:
Carla Burbidge – if you can hold on for about 10 years, I’ll gladly take over the Noon show duties around 2023. Call me. We’ll discuss it.
Oh and if you REALLY want a good laugh CLICK HERE for my old resume reel. 10 years and at least 20 lbs ago.