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Women in Sports

Fox Sports’ Charissa Thompson on the Importance of Loving Your Work

Your job is more than a paycheck — it affects every aspect of your life. Anyone finding themselves in a job they hate knows how awful it can make everything feel, but it’s not just in your head — research shows that hating your job has serious mental, physical, and emotional effects, and can even result in a shorter life.

Job positivity, then, goes way beyond earning a living, but navigating a career and staying positive can be a challenge, especially for women in today’s tumultuous working world. We sat down with sports broadcaster Charissa Thompson, who has made job positivity the centerpiece of her professional and personal life, to get her perspective on achieving goals, not being afraid to change course, and how to tell off your critics.

How did you know from such a young age you wanted to be a sports broadcaster?

As a really little girl, I would go with my father to his flag football games — sports was always a way to stay connected to him. We would watch ESPN together every day. From around the time I was eight or nine, I knew that’s what I wanted to do!

What advice do you have for an aspiring broadcaster who is currently struggling to find success?

If you find yourself in jobs that aren’t your end goal, that’s okay; it’s all part of the process. I remember working at ESPN with Jalen Rose, and he gave me great advice. He said, “Appreciate your position — but plan your promotion.” I never forgot that. Because if the job you currently hold isn’t your end goal, ask yourself “is this job getting me closer to the one I REALLY want?” If it’s not, change, but if it is, stay the course!

Has being a public figure given you thick skin? How do you handle critics?

Oh, I learned early when I dyed my hair black and gained 10 pounds that criticism is not for the weak! Pundits will tell you quickly what THEY want you to look like. Don’t worry about that. As long as you’re true to you and feel confident, then screw the critics!

Is there a moment when you realized you’d achieved your childhood dream?

Yes! The first day I held a microphone for my first on-air job in Denver. I remember working a Rockies game. I was at Coors Field about to go on television. I looked around the ballpark and thought, ‛holy $&&@, I’m doing it!’ I called my dad after and remember just thinking how grateful I was.

What does the future hold for you professionally?

I honestly just want to keep doing this for as long as I can. I know there is a season for everything (sports puns run rampant in my life), so I know one day I will need to pass along the torch — but I’m not ready yet! I want to continue, God willing, to keep covering the NFL.

I really enjoy doing long-form interviews where you can really bring out the best in people and tell their story — bring the human out of an athlete or coach. I’m currently working on a show that gives me that opportunity. It’s called “NFL Films Presents” and I would love to continue to do that as long as I can. Putting it simply, it’s been 12 years since that day in Denver when I realized I was living my dream, and every day I still am, and I hope to for years to come!

Staff, [email protected]

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