Laura Donovan
October 06, 2013 8:00 am

I once thought I needed to get as far away from my hometown as possible to be successful. Though I grew up in sunny, desirable California, I believed thriving in glitzy New York was the only way to prove I’d done something of serious value, so I put up with snowy (and unusually wet) winters, garbage strewn-sidewalks, clogged subway cars, high rent and humid summers in pursuit of this frustrating, arbitrary goal. As much as I loved venturing through the city with friends and being in close proximity to everything I could ever need, I always had second thoughts about working full-time in online media, a field of constant adjustment and uncertainty.

Thankfully for me, I was let go from my fourth journalism job in late July, giving me a chance to truly consider what kind of career I wanted long-term. It’s common for young people to job hop and frequently switch workplaces, but I couldn’t look at my chaotic, messy resume without wondering if there was a better path for me. With some help from friends and therapeutic binge-watching sessions of New Girl, I realized I needed to return to the Golden State and pursue another area of writing.

For much of undergrad, I wrote for the student newspaper, so after I finished school, it only made sense to continue down the same road. My post-college internship swiftly turned into a job, which paved the way for the following positions I held. I’ve always enjoyed conversational writing, so when my employment situation changed, I decided the perfect job would be scripting dialogue full-time. It didn’t matter that I was in Manhattan, jobless and totally unconnected to the TV writing scene. Some said it would be hard for me to start over at 25, especially in the entertainment industry, but as the saying goes, better late than never.

It took me a month and a half to finalize the move, but once I got past my paralyzing fear of logistics (breaking my lease, finding a place to live in LA), I realized there’s something seriously energizing about starting fresh, and to my luck, all the tedious aspects of the relocation came together quickly. Though I’m not plugged into the entertainment world, a few of my friends are in the industry and were nice enough to give me advice about how to build my resume from the ground up. After all, they had to do the same thing.

I left NYC last week, and while I miss my East Coast buddies and being known as a tireless online editor/journalist, I’ve never felt this excited in my life. I get a clean slate in Southern California, and if I ever feel lonely, I know my LA pals — particularly fellow HG contributor and comedy writer Angie Grace — will encourage me to keep going and reiterate that moving was the best decision of my life.

No matter what industry you want to be a part of, recognize that it’s never too late to recreate your identity or veer away from the norm you’ve constructed for yourself. There are countless unknowns in ditching the familiar, but big risks can lead to big rewards, and I welcome both on my new journey.

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