When KSTP-TV announced in August that it was pulling Vineeta Sawkar from the anchor desk, it caught a lot of viewers by surprise.
After all, Sawkar had been with the station for nearly 18 years and as a morning anchor is known for her warm, friendly personality. The other unusual move? The station set a May 1 exit date, giving Sawkar time to explore job possibilities while remaining on the anchor desk.
Now that she's got only a handful of days left at KSTP, Sawkar talked about what this last year has been like and what her future might hold.
"I'd like to call it a really interesting journey," Sawkar said at her St. Paul home she shares with husband, Jason Branby, a product development director, and their two children, Jack, 12, and Leela, 10. "You get called into the office one day and told the job you've been doing ends in a year and your life is going to change. It's been interesting and a real growth experience for me."
Though viewers might have been surprised by the news of her departure, the same can't be said for Sawkar. (KSTP has remained mum on why they chose to let Sawkar go.)
"I don't think anything is a total surprise," she said. "I think you kind of know leading up to that announcement the way someone may feel about you. It wasn't a total shock. I put the blinders on and do my thing and still enjoy the day with my co-workers, who I absolutely adore, and then just go back to doing my regular work with my family. Every now and then I'll sit at the anchor desk -- even now as we're coming toward the end -- and just go, 'Wow, I won't be doing this anymore.' "
When asked if there's been tension between her and management, especially during her last month at KSTP, Sawkar delivered an emphatic "no."
"Because I refuse to let there be tension," Sawkar said. "You can handle these things a lot of different ways. I chose to, after almost 18 years with the station, to end it on a positive note. I refuse to be bitter, I refuse to be angry, I refuse to carry a chip on my shoulder. I worked way too hard and put in too much time there. I'd like to leave with my head up.
"When you get in this business you know it's a tough business," she continued after wiping a few tears from her eyes. "Some things are totally out of your control. I did everything I could. I worked really hard. I've tried to be a good co-worker and a good employee, but there's nothing I can do about it. Maybe that's why I'm at peace with it. Maybe I've seemed stoic about it or too easygoing, but when there's nothing else you can do, you just have to accept it."