Finding Home[Base] at Forever Ready
Hi there, I’m Ali. We probably haven’t met, but if you’re a recent client or viewer of Forever Ready’s work, you might have watched a story I helped tell. I’ve had the pleasure of freelance editing/producing with Forever Ready for the last six months, and my time with the team has come to an end.
I’ve lived in Memphis for nearly three years now, and my family and I will be relocating to Norfolk, Virginia very soon. But even sooner than that, I will be giving birth to my second child. I’m very happily married to an outstanding naval officer (read: we move a lot), and I’m in my early-mid thirties (read: 21st century child-bearing years). These two factors undoubtedly make finding work challenging, and meaningful work even more elusive.
In 2011, I left a pretty sweet job in cable news in Washington, DC to begin my life with the Navy. I left the news industry and received my master’s degree in education. This is now my fourth military move, leaving behind a job I enjoyed with each one. It’s never an easy conversation to have with an employer.
Women in general and military spouses in particular are hemmed in professionally by family decisions and constant relocations, making it harder for us to maintain and advance our careers. It’s even harder for professionals like teachers, doctors, lawyers, and nurses whose industry is regulated state by state. Sometimes the challenge makes us feel like it's not worth trying at all, or like we should hide our situation from our employers. Do we share in a job interview that we know we won’t be living in that city more than a year or two? Maybe it won’t seem worth it to them to hire us. How late is too late to share that I’m pregnant? Tell a boss too soon and it might diminish professional opportunities; tell them too late, and I’ve broken trust, a value that I hold above nearly all else.
My time with Forever Ready has been the perfect fit I never expected. Lauren, Julie, Brody, and Scott made me feel truly valued professionally and treated me as an equal, even as I was hired on a freelance and part-time basis. Much of my work sat at the intersection of education and communication, where my personal passion lies. Forever Ready’s passion for telling the Good News of Memphis matched the love I have come to feel for our adopted city and the power I believe storytelling can and should wield. Working in news (heck, just watching the news) can make you believe a city or country just moves from one disaster to another. Forever Ready rejects that notion out of hand, and their professional growth and success is proof that Good News can still sell and attract an audience. When I threw two major curve-balls at them -- "By the way - I'm moving this summer," and then later - "I'm pregnant" -- the team was never anything but positive and supportive about these pieces of news that disrupted the office. Most employers will tell you they are happy when you share news like this, but they’re probably being polite. It’s a huge inconvenience. But with Forever Ready, I knew they were genuine.
Lauren once told me that when she started Forever Ready, she “didn't want to just make videos and just make profits from those videos. Instead, [I] wanted to inspire people to recognize their ability to impact change in others through their work.” From the bottom of my heart, thank you for creating an opportunity for me to not only get my hands dirty again in video production, but also creating a work environment where I could be comfortable and supported in sharing the realities of my situation.
As they say in the Navy, I wish you all fair winds and following seas.