YP Corner: How big dreams begin in small markets

In the News Young Professionals
Kasia Gregorczyk

There is nothing more exciting than accepting a job offer. And if you’ve cast a wide net, that job offer could be hundreds or thousands of miles away. It can be a lot of ‘new’ if you’re just beginning your career. A new job, a new city and a new role. After the newness fades you might feel homesick or even second guess if you’ve made the right decision.

Kasia Gregorczyk got her start in broadcast journalism at WSAW-TV in Wausau. There she accepted the position as morning live-shot reporter. The experience helped Gregorczyk pivot her career to Albuquerque and then onto San Diego where she currently works at FOX 5.

Gregorczyk is from Southern California and shares how a cross county jump can have a big payoff.

To say the least taking a job in a state so far away, and so different from what I knew was a major change. So I’m going to talk a little bit about what I liked, what I disliked and kind of how I dealt with the homesickness, and just the natural changes that come with taking a job first job so far from home.

So starting with the things that I liked, and that I loved, I would say I’ve always had just a natural sense of adventure. And I actually welcomed all the major changes, and I love showing up to a place that was so good, different from everything that I knew. I loved how green it was in Wisconsin, I loved watching the seasons change. Of course, the winter was a complete shock, but I handled it well. If anything, it was such an experience. I mean, I had never felt anything colder than 20 degrees. And I think we felt like negative 50 with wind chill that winter. So a total major change. But I love just immersing myself in all the things that Wisconsin was known for. I became a Packers fan. I tried a bunch of awesome cheeses and was introduced to the world of cheese curds, and Briq’s soft serve up there in north central Wisconsin and come to try all these awesome just new places and foods and had all these cool experiences that were really just things and memories that I will totally cherish for the rest of my life. So that had to be my favorite part was just getting to experience all these things that you never will if you stay in the exact same place, you’ve known your whole life. So that was by far the most awesome part of living in Wisconsin.

With that being said, I guess, dislikes, it’s hard for me to say I really disliked anything. I really, you know, I chose to go there, I was happy to go there, I was happy to take this first job. But I would say just overall, possibly the hardest part for me was just adjusting to this new way of life, leaving behind everything that I knew. So I’m a creature of habit, I love routine, I think we all do. And that’s what kind of makes us feel like we’re at home. And so, you know, showing up in a brand new city and having to kind of figure things out. And you know, where am I going to go to the gym? Where am I going to go grocery shopping, you know, what’s my routine, what’s my day to day new normal, was definitely the hardest part for me and kind of took me a little while to get into the swing of things. But honestly, the people that I worked with the new friends, I was making, you know, all made that transition pretty easy on me. With that being said, talking a little bit about homesickness. That’s just natural, you know, you’ve just left behind everything that you loved and knew, you know, for me, I didn’t know a soul in Wisconsin, before moving there, I left behind all my best friends, my family, a relationship. And that was very difficult to not have those people right in front of you every day just easily ready to hang out with or talk to you. But what definitely helped was technology, I think, you know, utilizing Skype and FaceTime. And of course, just good old fashioned texts and phone calls, were definitely the way to go. Because you can call those people as much as you want. And, you know, and talk to them as much as you want and not feel like you’re missing out on any big parts of their life. And I’m sure they want to hear about this crazy transition that you’re going through.

 So I really still relied on them, even though they weren’t there in person. And that definitely definitely helped. I would say also just leaning on the people that you’ve made connections with, in town, in person, wherever you choose to move, if it’s far from home, that absolutely helped as well. So you know, you feel like you’re going through it maybe with someone else. So in my case with TV news, it’s a… it’s a lot of people that are moved away from home or you know, moved away from what they’re used to. So you kind of feel like you’re going through it together in a sense. And so it’s nice to kind of bond with people over that.

Now if you’re, you know, maybe the only person in your office that’s moved for the job, it’s still nice to lean on those people that you’ve made friends with, or that you’ve made connections with, because, you know, they want to be there for you as well. So I would say those were kind of the big ways that I dealt with the homesickness, and kind of was able to work through that. And then overall, just kind of advice for taking a first job or a job far from home, I would say, of course, it’s totally deep down up to you if it’s the right choice. But for me, I would say hands down without a doubt it absolutely was. And I feel like taking one far from home was just the perfect experience. And what really pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me learn all these things that I know I wouldn’t have if I stayed in California. And to be honest, for my career, you know, in TV news, you have to kind of start in a small market in a smaller city. And I was from this huge city, huge market. And it just didn’t make sense. And it wasn’t realistic for me to start my career in Southern California.

So for me, it was the best thing that happened and really kind of got me on the path to where I am today.

And I think that’s similar for a lot of jobs. Sometimes, you know, the promotions or the new opportunities are available for people who are willing to take that leap and move somewhere and kind of step out of their comfort zone.

And nothing is forever.

So if you move in, it ends up being the worst decision you ever made, you can always move back.

There’s nothing that says you can’t.

But I think if you take that leap, you might just surprise yourself. I ended up absolutely loving my time in Wisconsin. And after that, I still didn’t go back to California. My second job was in New Mexico. And it was the same thing, you know, a whole new state again, that I had never been to new traditions, new foods, new things to experience. And I just think, ‘Wow, my life is so much richer, for the time that I spent in these two places that were so both equally different from everything I knew growing up that I just think, Wow, I’m so thankful for those experiences, it really opened my eyes to a whole new community of people, I now have friends all over the country.’

I’m super thankful for that experience. And I personally would recommend it to anyone who ever gets that chance to move away from home. Even though there are those hard moments and those sacrifices you absolutely make being away from home. You know, being homesick being away from your friends and family maybe sometimes missing that birthday or missing that holiday that you normally wouldn’t be there for. Those are absolutely things that are going to be a little bit hard to deal with. But overall, it was one of the most rewarding things I ever did was starting my career in another state and then taking another job in another state and ultimately, both those jobs did eventually lead me back to California.

I think if you’re willing to kind of just take that risk and take that leap of faith sometimes it is so so worth it. And you can always work through any challenges that might come with showing up in a totally new place for that first job.

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Young Professionals Committee strives to bring relevant information to new broadcasters by tackling industry challenges.