I was already pretty old when I called the Davis Clipper four years ago and Tom Busselberg answered the phone.
I told him I had a degree in journalism but hadn’t used it for journalism in 28 years. I told him if the paper needed help here or there, now or then, I was available.
He was so good as to send me out to cover a couple city council meetings and after I submitted my first story, I was hired as a correspondent. Almost a year later I was invited to join the staff.
Thus began a grand adventure in Davis County, seeking interesting people and events, meeting experts and protesters, photographing festivals and competitions, working with amazing people and facing many daunting challenges.
But this column isn’t about my job.
It’s about the 28 years in between my work at newspapers.
I come to this topic because of the recent attention given to women in the workforce by those who say we’re not working hard enough to get high enough.
To women who write or read books about that, I might be considered a failure. I left the field for too long. I won’t make much money, I don’t have much of an upward trajectory in my future.
But that’s no accident.
Even in the ‘80s, when I chose to leave reporting to work at home raising children full-time, it was not a popular or hugely respected thing to do.
But my goal wasn’t fame or fortune. My goal was giving new life and helping those new lives take on the world.
The expectant mother I spoke with a few weeks ago said she would wait to see how motherhood felt to her before deciding whether to work outside the home or work at home.
I could have told her it would feel hard. And tiring. And that she’d feel woefully inadequate at times and terribly overwhelmed at others. And that there would be few accolades like she might get in a career.
But she’ll find out.
And hopefully she’ll find out, too, that the rewards from being home might not be measurable but they are significant.
Not everyone has the choice due to circumstances, and they have my respect.
But those who can choose need someone to tell them that choosing home might not require them to “Lean in,” (by now you know I’m talking about the book by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg), but maybe it’s also rewarding to “Lift up” or “Lead out.”
I’m happy for the women like Sandberg, and congratulate her for her success. I love to see it when women make the world a better place. And I know they can.
But this is a word for the woman who chooses to give that world up for something else Р for someone else Р for a time, anyway, maybe for 28 years, maybe more:
There is success without money. There are contributions without corporate control.
There are seasons.
There are people Р maybe very little people with very little life experience at first Р who need you.
And by choosing to be there for them, not only is it likely you will find your own personal kind of success, you’ll have a front-row seat while they do too.