KSL television news anchor Shelley Thomas said that she is almost 40 years old, and the time has come to make a decision on whether to continue with her current job or to go after her passions.
Thomas, wife and mother of two boys, told about 500 people attending the 16th annual Northern Utah Women's Conference Saturday that she lives with guilt trying to balance her personal life with her career. She gave the keynote address.Workshops were conducted throughout the day on a variety of subjects, including housecleaning, cosmetic surgery, being single, fatigue, parenting and workplace politics.
Setting the theme for this year's conference, "Woman to Woman - Stronger and Better in the '90s," Thomas said that women have to shed guilt and learn that even though this culture celebrates success, failure isn't so bad.
"We've all failed a lot and it didn't kill us," said Thomas. "I'm just waiting for a politician or a religious leader to stand up and say, `I failed. I made a mistake.' "
The Channel 5 news anchor said that television has had a great impact on women in general, pointing out that she was "stressed out" Saturday because June Cleaver vacuumed her house while wearing high heels.
As Ward Cleaver once told Beaver, "Things aren't as they appear on TV," Thomas continued. "I don't think TV really reflects us."
Thomas said some women are still buying the image that they should achieve perfection in all aspects of their lives by being superwomen in their career as well as in their roles as wives, mothers and housekeepers.
She said she admired actress Candice Bergan for once saying in a TV interview, "I think women who say they can do it all should shut up."
Now reaching middle age, Thomas said she has to reflect back on her life and decide if she wants to continue what she's doing. She said she has a strong passion for television news, but that she might be happier being a reporter or working on documentaries.
Thomas said she mostly enjoys working on a news subject that she can bury herself in, and then captivate a viewer with a message. She said anchoring the news twice a day doesn't always fulfill her need for job satisfaction.
The anchorwoman said she is now asking herself questions in an effort to continue to grow. "Am I on this track (news personality) because I'm afraid to get off?" she asked. "Am I addicted to the attention?"
Every woman in the audience should ask themselves if they would be happy doing what they are doing now 15 years from now, Thomas said. If not, they should have the courage to change what they are doing, she said.
Thomas began working at KSL in 1978, and she was the first woman to anchor the news there. She said that when she first started anchoring, she would receive mixed reviews from the television audience - some good, some bad.
The worst call she ever received, Thomas explained, came from a man who called and told her that she should be behind a stove at that hour.