Exit Strategy

About 10 years ago, technology had radically changed the entertainment industry. Scripts were no longer being printed and hand delivered. Dailies and rough cuts could be streamed to any computer. This allowed me the opportunity to work from anywhere.

In theory.

Historically, the entertainment business has frowned upon executives who work outside of Los Angeles or New York and they need to show up to an office everyday. Why? I don't know. It's just the way it was always done.

When my eldest daughter was 14 years old, she started having some conflicts with her father. She came to me and said if we ever wanted to move to Hawaii full-time, she would like to go with us. It was one of those signs. I went to my boss and told him that I wanted to move my family to Hawaii.

To his credit, he was incredibly supportive and crafted me the opportunity to work remotely. With the support of his boss, they said I could do it on a trial basis. I was so grateful for the opportunity that I broke a lucrative three-year contract for a six-month trial at half my salary.

For me, it was getting away from a fast-paced hamster wheel and the grind of a high-pressured corporate life.

For my husband, it was just getting out of LA.

For my eldest daughter, it was getting away from her father (which ended up saving their relationship later).

For my youngest daughter, who was only 4 years old, she was too little to care either way.

But for my middle daughter, who was 12 years old at the time, it was not something she embraced. Her dad and step-mom had just had a brand new baby and she didn't want to move with us. This was a little bit of a blow, but I had to respect her wishes. The truth is, had both girls wanted to go, their dad probably would not have agreed.  That would have forced me to stay in LA, and I probably have a nervous breakdown from the relentless stress and juggling act that I had been doing for decades.

I was taking a big gamble economically. I still had huge child support payments and I was concerned about meeting those obligations. If the company decided to cut me loose after the six-month trial, I would be without a job, a source of income and my career would be gone.

Thankfully that six-month trial turned into four and a half years of working full-time.

Then I got a call from the head of our network. They wanted me to come back to LA for a big promotion with more creative control and a big raise.  The alternative was that they would no longer allow me to work from Hawaii.  

My husband was very reluctant to move back to LA, but ultimately supportive to go back for a limited time. While I was very nervous about having to gear up again for the long hours, commuting, dressing up, politics, corporate bureaucracy and a whole host of new challenges facing the industry... more competitors in the marketplace, declining ratings and reduced advertising dollars. I really needed to do take the challenge for a lot of reasons: It was the job I had always wanted. I was enticed by having job security for three more years. I missed the social stimulation of an office. I would get to be with my middle daughter for her last year and a half of high-school. It would mean getting to spend more time with my aging father. Three years seemed manageable.  So I went back to LA for one more "tour of duty."