Life is certainly all about change, even though many of us don’t like too much of it.
That is happening here with our family newspapers—The Slidell Independent and Tammany West—as one of my daughters is leaving the paper and heading for what I truly believe will be greener pastures.
Chrissy Smith, my oldest of three daughters, has been working with me since my family started The Slidell Independent in January of 2009. She has done just about every job you could do here at the paper.
But now she is leaving the newspaper business for the first time in her professional life since graduating from college with a Mass Communications degree. While she has always loved the business, the truth is that it will probably never provide her the financial opportunities that other careers could bring, and to her credit, she started working on one of those “other” careers a year ago.
Chrissy got recruited by a college friend to start selling insurance and financial services products for Primerica. It’s not a surprise that she got recruited since Chrissy is probably best known by everyone for one key quality—a bubbly personality that everyone loves.
Her new boss with Primerica, whom she met while playing college basketball at the University of LSU at Shreveport, had apparently remained friends with her on Facebook, which eventually led to a job offer with his company.
Chrissy has been working both jobs for the past year and now we have agreed it is time for her to take what I know is a difficult step in leaving the family operation and focusing her attention 100 percent on her new career.
It’s certainly leaving me with a lot of mixed feelings about the decision she and I agreed on together. We both knew that she probably was going to make the change one day since the newspaper was never going to make her rich. As much as she loves being a newspaper person, it’s not a career many people make tons of money at. Now, with a year under her belt with Primerica, it became obvious that she needed to give all her time to the new career if she was ever going to make that a great one—and I know that insurance and financial services certainly has the potential for anyone to make it a great career. I certainly hope and pray for Chrissy to do just that.
I have spent my entire professional life of over 40 years in the newspaper business and since my wife was homeschooling all four of our children from kindergarten to the 12th it was easy for me to start bringing them to work at the former Slidell paper where I was the editor.
Chrissy was working for me in the afternoons at the age of 14, and actually served as our Lifestyle Editor when she was a teenager. One of my other daughter’s, Jenny, also was working at the paper when she was a teen and learned a difficult layout program just like Chrissy did. Both of them were editors at the paper when they were only teens—pretty impressive I would say.
Chrissy always loved sports so when she went to college she not only played basketball, but earned the Mass Communications degree and immediately was hired as a sports editor in Troy, Ala. From there she was an editor at two other papers before I announced that I was starting the Slidell Independent. From day one she insisted she wanted to be a part of it and even though she was the sports editor at an Opelousas paper at the time, she handled sports writing for me all the way from there!
Within the first year she insisted to her husband that they needed to move back here and become more involved with the Slidell Independent. The idea that she and I would work together in bringing Slidell’s local paper back was something I know she always loved. And anyone who has worked in a family business knows there is something very special about it, even if it will certainly bring some moments of challenge. Chrissy will always know that she had a key hand in the local papers coming back to Slidell, and to the west side of the parish.
So as of this publication you are presently reading, Chrissy is hanging up her newspaper hat and going full-time with Primerica. Don’t be surprised to hear from her in some manner since I have suggested she reach out to my friends across St. Tammany Parish. I hope you will give her an opportunity to come visit with you since she is a hard working young woman who deserves success and is only asking for a chance to show you what she can do.
As for me and my family, it is a bittersweet situation since we love having our little family operation. But truth is, we all know this is the best thing for her to have a great opportunity for success in her career, and that is something I want for her more than anything.
Good luck, honey, and know that your dad loves you very much and will always be your number one cheerleader with your new career.
(Kevin Chiri can be reached at email@example.com)