The unedited version of my good-bye email to NBC.
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And so it is.
Today is my last day here at NBC. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking one of three things, “Oh no!” or “Who the hell is this guy?” or “Who cares? I got a log to close!” So to those pondering the last two questions I say “I’m the guy who looks like a chubby Tom Ford or Dave Matthews (when he isn’t touring)” and “Go close that log, Godspeed friend.”
To those thinking “Oh no!” Yes, it is true. While my initial plan was to go seek fame and fortune out west, things changed radically and rapidly. After a lengthy meeting with my council of elders, my tenure at NBC is going on hiatus. I have decided to finally chase my one and only true muse, dance. That’s right, dance. I am going to be a dancer.
I was recently accepted into the inaugural class of Julliard’s satellite school in Liberia, headed by famed local theater dance impresario Corky St. Clair, famously profiled in the documentary Waiting for Guffman. Now, you may be thinking “Good gosh, isn’t he too old to dance?” and I would say to you “Are you ever too old to chase your dreams?”
OK, sure the timing could have been better, but when the dream knocks, you answer.
Deciding to chase this dream was not one I came to easily as NBC has been my home, in almost every sense of the word, for almost nine years; which, if you know me at all, is an AMAZING accomplishment. To all who have taught me, worked with me, covered for me, exchanged tersely worded emails with me, drank with me and laughed with me, I honestly can’t thank you enough. You helped turn the banal into the sublime.
As a kid growing up in the heartland, I had dreamed of working at NBC. That’s the truth. Brandon Tartikoff and Fred Silverman were names that meant as much to me as John Belushi and David Letterman.
OK, in all fairness, it wasn’t my life’s aspiration to edit logs or build programs on a software platform that is slower than Stephen Hawking running the NYC Marathon and so arcane it makes a Rube Goldberg device seem like a game of Pong; I had still accomplished my dream.
And so I entered the labyrinth of the modern media corporate culture. Unfortunately, I seemed to have gotten lost in that labyrinth. Fortunately, I never lost my way because I had so many of you to have a laugh with. Laughter matters.
During my first month of editing USA logs, I made my first mistake (I would go on to make others, but you always remember your first). On a weekend log, I had inadvertently scheduled 4×30 J&J ROS units during a two-hour “To Catch A Predator” marathon. They had 30 min sep and weren’t constrained out of the show and didn’t show up on my validation report, so I thought nothing of it. Closed the log and called it a day.
Unfortunately, those 4×30 J&J ROS units were branded to K-Y. Let that sink in a moment.
That Monday my then supervisor called me into her office and after a very brief discussion, I had that “A-Ha” moment (similar to the one you just had) and explained what had happened. We shared a laugh and agreed that they should have been constrained out of the show and that I had made an honest mistake (albeit awkward and hysterical).
As I walked out of her office, I realized three things that helped me during my tenure here. One, mistakes happen; two, be honest, own your mistakes and move on and three, there is some room for mischief. Over the ensuing years those first two things helped me forge solid relationships with everyone I reported to and worked with and the mischief part helped us all keep perspective. Those three things helped build a bastion of trust.
I have been very fortunate. It was, and has been, an extraordinary experience.
Things change. Such is the way of life and at the end of the day, I write this with a genuinely heavy heart because I didn’t really want to leave NBC. But change is the kissing cousin of evolve. My professional evolutionary journey meant leaving the reservation and embracing this change and new challenge, so with mixed emotions I am packing up my duty station.
Now, having never been to Liberia and with the Ebola outbreak and what not this makes the move a little nerve-racking, but the unexamined life, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how truly remarkable, kind and understanding Brad, Lisa, Marissa and Steve have been. Thank you.
So, I will leave now wishing all of you nothing but peace, love and happiness. Things will get frustrating, they will be challenging and they will change and my advice to you would be to slow your roll, be open, be honest and keep perspective (it’s just television, no one is gonna die).
My hope for all of you is that you follow your bliss and are lucky enough to realize your dreams, whatever they may be. Remember, you are surrounded by really wonderful people.* That’s the truth.
I promise you, your experience here will be truly unique, in every sense of the word.
Shakespeare famously wrote “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” And so it is.
You can find me on the world wide web at keithrhiggons.com or via electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*- except for that one guy…you know who you are