Give it the ol’ college try. I’m not sure who first came up with this phrase/idea, but the idea (at least to me) is to at least…well…try. The ol’ “college” try really means a lot to me now (more on this later…perhaps in another blog down the road). For now it’s the word try, or perhaps more specifically take the opportunity, that resonates with me. It’s a simple concept, or at least it’s simple to express, but maybe not so easy to implement in corresponding action steps.
You Better Take That Job: In as many words, my mom told me this when I was a freshman in high school about a job offer I had at the local AM radio station. Not so much that we needed the income, but it was an opportunity for me to try something new and better myself. And boy, am I glad I did. I absolutely loved my DJ job. So much so that I got my first degree in mass communications (broadcast journalism) and worked as a radio news reporter and anchor for about a year and a half. Thank you, Mom, for encouraging me to try!
One Door Closes, Another Opens: The radio gig was wonderful, and I met with and worked with top-notch people. But, it wasn’t to be. They (the stations) took a chance on me, but looking back I was probably too young and immature for the position and responsibility it held. They let me go. A door seemingly closed. However, I remembered someone at one time wanting to go back to school for an advanced degree, but never did. I also remembered that I always had an interest in the weather (my dad raised cattle) and wondered things like, “if there’s a thunderhead close by and it moves overhead, why doesn’t it rain”? While at the radio stations I also recall hearing people give the weather forecast. How cool was that? Here was an opportunity (the proverbial “closed door to open door”) to go back to school. Here was another opportunity to make the most of, to try another career, to try living in another part of the country, and to go back for another degree. So off to Colorado I went and got a second degree in meteorology. Mom as always encouraged and nudged me forward. Thank you, Mom!
Lots of Trying (Studying and Time with the Tutors): This school opportunity wasn’t for the faint of heart. Here’s the thing about trying…sometimes you fail. That’s maybe what some folks are scared of, so they don’t try at all. Yep…the book learning was rigorous (three levels of calculus anybody?), but I kept trying because I really wanted to get this weather stuff down and to be able to apply it upon graduation. All of the trying provided me with perseverance and persistence, both of which have been helpful skills to have (and continue to hone) in owning a business Judy Fossum VoiceOvers LLC. And…it paid off in that I had three awesome internships in the weather industry and a full time job with benefits upon graduation. Even during this time, Mom was always encouraging me and prompting me if I had my assignments done, papers completed, etc. And if I hadn’t, she at least always asked if I had at least started. Thank you, Mom!
Opportunities to Learn and Move Forward: How cool (and sometime unheard of) to be able to use both of your degrees in one job! I did just that while working at a private forecasting company for nearly 12 years. There were ample chances to broadcast and be “behind the microphone” where I learned recording and editing on a little DAW called Cool Edit (anyone remember this?), which kept me working in audio, all the while forecasting for dozens of locations in the Rocky Mountain region. Fast forward a few years and I started looking into voiceover acting classes. It intrigued me. Hhmmm (I thought to myself) I can work full time and go to school to learn this new craft. I figured that I might as well “give it a try”. Yeah…I might not like it, maybe it wasn’t what I thought it would be…but what if I did like it, then what? I won’t know unless I try. (Mom’s voice in my head).
Scared of…Success?: Here’s the other side of the coin about trying. Maybe…you’ll like it and you’ll succeed. That can be scary for folks too, because then what do you do? Gulp. Here was another opportunity, and in my mind a big one to become an entrepreneur. So yet again…I tried. I knew I liked voiceovers and the industry enough to take the leap and “go on my own” as a business owner and be a full time voiceover actor, which I’ve been for nearly 9.5 years. An aside, starting a business and working as an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, and I did this after careful consideration. If interested, check out this blog I wrote about how I made the decision and some of the steps I took to move into voiceovers full time: How to Tell When It’s Time to Go Full Time. And so far, so good. Yes things have changed in the industry (they do in all of them), but I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Extra Time (to Help Others): Working as an entrepreneur does allow you to make your own schedule to some extent. Don’t get me wrong you work your tail off, but done correctly you can be more flexible with your time, which can give you opportunities to do other things. Back to Mom. The past 9.5 years have given me the flexibility to do some caretaking for Mom when she visited me in my home, when I visited her, and when we went on our annual mother/daughter trips. These very important and unforgettable times and memories are near and dear to my heart. She would always ask what I was doing/what projects I was working on and continued to encourage me and congratulate me when I had gigs to record. Mom was ever the one to encourage, to support, and to congratulate. Just…try. Remember the reference to more of the ol’ college try? Well…maybe I will just give it another try too. Love you, Mom.