Photo By David Robert

Karl Baker once had one of the best paid prestige jobs in television news—satellite truck operator. But as television news changed, it took a toll on his family life and peace of mind, so he went looking for a better deal.

You once had one of the more elite jobs in television.

It was a good job. It had a lot of excitement to it, and variety. It was the kind of job where you weren’t inside all the time. You were out in the field going to locations, setting up shots for the newscast, covering stories. You weren’t pinned down at a desk inside all day. It was also a difficult job. I was on call all the time. So inevitably, when you wanted to have your day off, you were called in. It kind of wore on you in that regard. I did it for six and a half years. Prior to that, I was a video journalist working in a news department gathering news. After 13 or 14 years there at KOLO, I was burned out, and I needed a change. The company had been sold, and they were changing direction with some of the personnel, and they wanted more out of you, but they weren’t willing to give you much in return. It just kind of soured the waters, so to speak, and it was time to go. And I think my family was happy. They got to see more of me.

You then went to work in a brewery.

Yes, I went from the television station to working at Great Basin Brewing Company. Started out as part-time staff brewer and then became head brewer. I had a friend that introduced me to the owner. He was at a point where he was looking for a new brewer. I had experience brewing at home, was a home brewer for many years, and so it was a natural fit. It was a hard job, though. It was a very physical job, which people wouldn’t think brewing would be that physical of a job, but by the time you’d move the grain from the warehouse through the system and then back out to the holding facility for the pig farmer to come and pick up, you’d move that grain four to five times. And it wouldn’t be uncommon for 1,500 pounds to be in a batch, and you moved it quite a bit. It was a physical job, it was a tight environment, it was hot and humid. I did that for a year and a half.

And now you work on a ranch.

And now I work on a ranch. I work on some property in Fernley where I grew up. So I’ve kind of come back to my roots. I’ve kind of made it full circle. And why I left the brewery to go work at the ranch was a couple of things. The brewery and brewing professionally was such a difficult job, it was in a sense stealing my hobby and my passion for brewing because it was becoming a grind. But at the same time, my father, who is now in his late 60s, began needing more help to put up the hay and deal with the livestock. And as it turned out, at the time I was leaving the brewery he hurt himself; he hurt his hip operating one of the tractors. So I just kind of fell back into doing what I had done in my youth.

Would you recommend these kinds of mid-life career changes?

Yes, if you are in a job where you are not happy and you are finding it to be a grind, difficult and invading into your family life and causing strife at home, you’ve got to do what’s going to make you happy. I have been happy since I left the television station. I do now and then work freelance audio/video for some producers in town, but only on a freelance, part-time basis, and it’s fun that way. However, you’ve got to have a plan for the career change, an exit strategy and an entry strategy to keep going.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...