9 years ago today, I worked my last restaurant shift

I just wanted to share something personal with y'all.

When I graduated high school in 2001, I moved out of the house, got a roommate, and started waiting tables. I worked in the restaurant business for a little over 9 years, and about 3 years into that, I started attending college part-time. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, other than NOT wait tables forever. I fumbled around aimlessly for almost a decade, with no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had no direction, I was unhappy, and I literally could not imagine a version of my life that included me NOT waiting tables (not that there's ANYTHING wrong with waiting tables, it just wasn't what I wanted to do, and I didn't know how to get out).

In fall of 2009, I was taking a journalism class, and had to write a magazine-length interview with someone whose job I'd want to have. I contacted Tommy Chuck, the program director for our sister station, 93.3 FLZ in Tampa. He agreed to talk to me, and I wrote my interview. Now here comes the plot twist: after the interview, Tommy asked if I wanted to be his intern.

Translation: Will you work here for free?

I said no.

You have to understand, I was 26 years old, working my rump off to make ends meet. I could not drive to Tampa every day (I was living in Sarasota at the time) with gas being $4 a gallon to work without getting paid. This wasn't an option. I said "thanks but no thanks," and moved on.

A couple weeks later, I received my graded paper back from the journalism professor. I got an 'A' (yay!) so I wrote Tommy an email thanking him again for his time. Again, he offered me an internship.

This time, instead of saying no, I talked to my boyfriend (who is now my husband), and he basically said, "Take it. If you hate it, you'll just quit." So that's what I did.

Labor Day Weekend of 2009 was my first official "day" and I fell in love with radio. I started coming in any time they'd let me, even though it was costing me money to work. At this time, I was working a full time restaurant job, a part time restaurant job, and this internship. I basically wasn't sleeping, but I felt like I was starting to make some headway in moving my life forward.

Three months into the internship, I was offered a part time job on the air (overnights on the weekend) and working promotional events for US103.5. Y'all, it's a good thing I can't find any tapes of those first shows, because I was TERRIBLE. Thankfully, they were putting me on the air in the middle of the night where very few people could hear me. But I loved it! And three months after that, I found out about a full-time opening in Sarasota (where I still lived).

I was told to my face that I'd never get the job. I didn't have any experience. Go for the interview, but don't get my hopes up.

I almost didn't even do the interview. But I did it. And I got the job!

That was 9 years ago. Nine years ago today, I worked my last restaurant shift (thank you, Facebook Memories)!

I literally NEVER expected this journey to last this long. In fact, about a year into the job (I was producing a morning show), I thought I was about to get laid off. Lots of people had been laid off around that time, and I figured I was next. My thought was, "Well, that was fun. I guess it's time to go back to waiting tables." Fortunately for me, my hunch was wrong and I got to stick around! Nine years later, I'm here my key card still works!

I'm so grateful to get to do this for a living. Cheers to another 9 (right, boss?). I love y'all!



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