I have been asked numerous times over the last several years why I quit my job as a newspaper editor to become a bookkeeper.
In order to give you an answer, I must tell you the story of the five balls.
The story of the five balls comes from the book, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson
This is the storyof the five balls:
Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-family, health, friends, integrity-are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.
I truly loved my job as editor of two community newspapers. I thought what I did was important. You see, newspapers are vital to the life of the community. They provide useful information to their readers such as when highway repairs will be completed, or what time the band concert will be, or what day the library is holding its story time, or when the community will be holding its craft show, yada, yada.
Newspapers are also the official record for births, deaths, graduations, engagements, weddings, business openings and closings, etc.
Newspapers cover governmental meetings and police beats. Newspapers write about the crime in the area and about the little old lady down the street that skydived for her 80th birthday.
So, I loved my job. The problem was that I had a super small staff, so I was constantly on the go attending events, writing stories, laying out pages, selling advertising, etc. I typically worked 70+ hours a week. Oh, I realized I shouldn’t have, but I believed the job was that important. I had to give it my absolute best to make it the wealth of accurate information that I thought it should be.
So, even though I knew the story of the five balls, even though Brian and I gave up corporate jobs earlier and moved to the country to get some sanity back in our lives, I neglected to heed the lesson because I loved my job. And, the harder I worked to keep that work ball in the air, the worse my health became. And, I had no time for family or friends. I neglected the people most important to me and I ignored the house and ignored the garden and rarely had any fun living.
So, after much consideration and cajoling from those who loved me, I finally quit.
And, although I still stay very busy, my life finally has balance.