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Curly Nikki

Rene Syler’s Target Moment

By January 27th, 202121 Comments

Rene Syler's Target Moment

My Target Moment: How I Left TV News Behind
by Rene Syler of The Good Enough Mother

It’s funny how the most disastrous events have a way of bringing things into focus like nothing else can. Last summer, my then TV agent talked me into going for an audition to read news for a cable operation. Maybe it was the bump on my head I sustained trying to reach past the jeans and screen T-shirts to find a suit that still fit. Maybe it was the idea of working with people again. Whatever the case, I totally forgot the resolution I made to myself about never going back to TV news.

After a quick make-up touch-up, I found myself in-studio, microphone on and papers in hand, ready to go. But not before executives came out and tried to pat those unruly curls that fit my personality to a T, into a tight, tiny Afro. So there I sat, sweating like a hooker on nickel night, make-up melting with a perfectly round, brown helmet atop my head.

I have no qualms about saying the audition itself was a disaster. I spent two decades in TV news and yet you’d have thought the text scrolling across the prompter was in Russian. Then of course, there was the “BREAKING NEWS!” the producer dictated into my ill-fitting earpiece, which I stammered through as best I could.

As humiliating as that was, the worst was still to come. I walked into the newsroom where the woman responsible for my ‘tryout’ met me at her office door. Before I got the point of my pump inside, she pronounced, rather loudly, “That was pretty bad wasn’t it? Wow, what happened to you? I really expected to see the woman who left the morning show. You were not her!”

In my defense, it was an unfamiliar setting and the first time in four years since I’d read off a prompter. But what I really wanted to say was “Hey lady, I have been to hell and back so many times in the last four years I have a frequent user pass!” I held my tongue and instead sat there with a shit-eating grin on my face. I was embarrassed and humiliated and quite frankly, stunned at this woman’s ability to make a 47-year-old woman with two decades of broadcast experience, feel like a 21-year-old, still wet behind the ears. When it was over I managed a weak smile, thanked her for her candor and headed out.

With shoulders hunched, I began the ten-block walk toward Grand Central thankful I’d grabbed my big, black sunglasses that morning. I met Buff for a quick bite and it is times like this I’m so damn grateful for him. We shared a salad and the tears that had been hidden behind the glasses, finally spilled over. But a funny thing happened as well. I got strong, much stronger than I had ever been, and clear on what the path for me would look like as I moved forward. In that moment I realized it’s as important to know what you DON’T want to do, as it is to know what you do want. I call it ‘The Target Moment’.

Now, please know I am not disparaging my favorite store or the hard workers who toil there. But that experience made it clear to me that I would rather work in a department store, in a job far different from the one I had trained for, rather than feel the way I felt that afternoon. That woman’s words, harsh as they were, served as rocket fuel for my resolve and I dried my tears and headed home.

I’d love to wrap this up with a neat bow, something along the lines of “and then I landed a talk show where executives didn’t try to pat my hair into a helmet and they let me be myself, which is who I’m most comfortable being. There was a big signing bonus and I never had to worry about my career or money again.”

Sadly that point hasn’t arrived yet. But it’s coming. I guess I should thank that woman for putting the final nail in the news coffin. That experience for me was like thrashing wheat where only the good stuff is left behind, but it’s a violent process. I promised myself that never again would I let my hair, or me, be patted into a shape we were not meant to be.

What about you, have you ever experienced your own ‘Target Moment?’
What was it and how did you move forward from it?
Start sharing everyone!

21 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Rene thanks so much for writing this story!! I am having a "target" moment in my current job in customer service. It's a survival job , but it definitely lets me know what I do not want to do. I really miss seeing you on the Early Show and wish we could see you on your own show. I agree with Tonya and GS. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    WOW. I am so there right now, I don't know what I want to do, but I do know what I don't want to do so instead of moving one more step, I'm using this time to figure out what I want to do and how to make it a mission and not just a vision. Thanks Rene and CurlyNikki for real talk in 2011.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well as I sit at my desk at work and reflect. I realize my target moment occurs every day as I walk into the door at 8:00 am. Though I appreciate having a job, what I have been reduced to do has truly become exhausting. Thus I decided to change my life plan and pursue a different path. So hopefully my prayers will be answered and God sees it fit that I get into law school next year.

  • Anonymous says:

    thank you rene…..as a professional women in the medical field the critics are no worse. and i needed yours story to remind me what i wont do…because i know that about my self now! keep pressing on….you got shoulders to lean on!

  • gs says:

    #TeamReneeSylar! Why you don't have your own morning tv show already boggles my mind. I'm really sick of seeing all of these anonymous shmoes out here that get a lacefront and a lobotomy with crappy tv shows. Good Enough Mother needs to be a show on OWN or CNN or something… come on media! damn…

  • Tonya says:

    Rene….I miss watching you on the Early Show! I'm so glad to see that you are doing well! Good luck in your future endeavors…I know you will find something …hopefully on TV…you have alot of personality and a natural on the air.

  • Rene Syler says:

    Thanks for all the comments ladies! Be well as you all journey through this thing called "life" that is full of "Target" moments. I'm going to pick up my application now!
    Cheers!

  • Anonymous says:

    My target moment came over ten yrs ago. I had been trying to get into a very competitive training program for a few years. I was invited to go to an interview in New York city on very short notice and accepted. I was very tired and thought that I would have my interview (with on person) and catch a flight back home. By accident, I arrived early and had a chance to meet with the chairman for several min before the other interviewees showed up.
    Everything was going well until I realized that I would be interviewed by several people. Uggghhh! I was REALLY annoyed, tired and feeling like I wasnt going to be in the running with all the other geniuses there? LOL
    I started to leave (before I had even completed all the interviews) out of concern for not being able to change my reservations or catch my original flight. One of the other applicants convinced me to stay.
    Afterwards, I hopped in a cab to get to the airport. My moment came while I was in that cab. I remember thinking, "I was totally myself, felt very comfortable , although I was sooooo tired. If they didnt like me, EFFF 'em". I felt like I had been the best me I could be.

    Well, I ended up getting one of the two positions available and did very well in the program. From this, I gained 3 very imprtant lessons:

    1) Always be yourself and the best you possible.
    2) Don't give up before the results are in.

    And most importantly:
    3) Be the angel to someone else that someone has been to you. (If that other applicant had not convinced me to stay, I would not have gotten the position. He did not get it, but I will always be grateful for his kindness).

  • Anonymous says:

    I think my "target" moment came when a little boy tried to bite me at work…lol..I have been in childcare over 10 yrs and I feel its time to move on…it sucks because I am very good at what I do but what do you do when you don't want to do what everyone says your great at? (did that make any sense?..lol) smh…I'm still looking but yeah…I'm ready to move on to a new journey 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that you are right: while experiences such as the one you've described can be quite painful and humiliating at the time (I know because I've experienced a couple in the past year) they can be wonderful opportunities for growth and re-birth as you yourself have identified. I love that you have used your the treatment of your hair as a metaphor for how you wish to live your life professionally and personally. I am inspired by how you have changed a negative situation into opportunity for a renewed commitment to yourself and your ideals. By the way, I love your 'do, you look gorgeous!!! Best of luck to you on your voyage of discovery!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    DAMN Rene! You can write! Thanks for the story…inspiring.

    Oh brother. She was an on air journalist/TV host for goodness sakes and an accomplished author. sometimes people are just amazing and don't know how to say things. Geez!

  • Anonymous says:

    oh and I love your hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    Well written and great message!

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel u sista. The last woman I worked for put the nail in the coffin so tight that I cant ever imagine or see myself being an admin assistant again. She tried her best to mold me ( an excellent employee by most company/people standards) into the perfect work friend/assistant. I resisted something terribly. Eventually she included me in the company lay off – damn! I hated being separated from my check. Anyway working for her did not help me decide what I want to be when I grow up, but it sure help me decide that administrative assistant is out. I now know exactly what I don't want to do!

  • Anonymous says:

    First to TiAnna Mae–information like yours helps me to develop my faith, thank you so much for sharing and I'm so happy you're doing so well.

    And Thank you Rene so much for writing this. I had my target moment recently, when I was let go from yet another survival job where I was overqualified. Their reasoning was I did not have the "right skill set" for the position as office manager. I have a masters degree in media, and in addition to teaching these people how to answer the phone, implementing IT standards and maintaining the office, I would stay up late hours to practice my technical chops as a video editor, my true passion. I told them there reasoning was "bull—-" in a very calm, quiet voice with a smile (they had never heard me swear-this was an office where one of the owners proudly displayed pornographic material)-and I then told them almost everything that was bottled up my entire time there. THEN I told them they were poor managers, and negotiated a severance. For the past few weeks i have been working freelance on a fantastic editing gig. Who knows where i end up, but as you say for now I will not let others "pat me into a shape I was not meant to be" and it's affirming to see other people think the same way. Sorry for the long message, but this really struck me.

  • Anonymous says:

    "Sweating like a hooker on nickle night!" Now that was classic – too funny!!!

    I have sat in the classroom of Hard Knocks one too many times but maaannn did I learn some great life lessons! Growing and stretching is sometimes painful, I'm still learning how not to resist the process so much . . . this is another lesson all in itself.

  • Anonymous says:

    DAMN Rene! You can write! Thanks for the story…inspiring.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thx for sharing this Rene. I was always like reading your updates. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Awesome story. Good for you, Rene. We should all stay true to ourselves no matter what. Way to go!

  • Melanie says:

    Great post. Thanks for the confirmation. Just last night I began to think about what I really want to do with my life or where do I want to work. So I started researching companies and googling for "Best Companies for Working Mothers". Although the reviews and benefits were great, none of the positions fit me particularly. I always preach to be specific when making request, but I find it hard to know exactly what I want. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and confirming what I was thinking. What I do know for sure is that I want to work with great supportive people, enjoy what I do, have more freedom and time with my daughter and make great money while doing it. I am not sure if this jobs exists, if not, I will have to create it!!!! Thanks.

    When we know what we don't want, we know what we do want!!!

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    Wow! Awesome story and VERY well written!

    My target moment was when I'd gone through about 3 rounds of interviews, several hours of preparation for a job that would have boosted my career to the level I wanted to be, and hundreds of dollars on clothes and hair to fit the bill. This job was the confidence/faith boost I thought I needed because I had lost my son only 2 months prior, and I was looking for something to consume me. In the interviews, they really hyped me up and they seemed so impressed with me, but in the end I didn't get the job. Of course, they told me I would have been the next choice and that I am wonderful, blah blah blah! I was devastated and went into a deep depression.

    But 3 months later, a job in children's ministry came open and I went out for it and ended up getting it. Now it's so clear to see why I didn't get that job.

    What the Lord has for you, no one can take away!!!

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