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Able to walk away -- and the reason you did

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by UNCGrad, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Member

    I consider myself fortunate, because when I ultimately felt like I had had enough with newspapers, I was able to find a job I would enjoy and leave that part of the industry on my own terms. I know so many have not been so fortunate, and keeping that in mind, I am wondering how others may have come to similar decisions.

    For me, I felt like the future for newspapers was undeniably bleak, especially in the company I was in (Paxton). And over the last few years, there was little about the job that I found fulfilling. But, ultimately, as a small paper SE for more than a decade, it got to a point where I couldn't envision myself covering small-town preps into my 40s, and I had to get out before that happened. I don't begrudge those who love it, who hold their jobs near and dear and everything else, but I couldn't stand the thought anymore of covering the small-town high school games for the small town paper with the same everyday pettiness that comes with it.

    I hope I don't come off as whiny or condescending, but why did some others walk away, when did you do it, and did/does anybody else find themselves fighting the feelings I was?
  2. dieditor

    dieditor Member

    I walked away six months ago. I was tired of putting in 15-hour days with little hope of advancement or increases in pay, and was tired of feeling like I was in a dead-end career. And honestly, the malaise was starting to impact my work and family life negatively. I look back on my last six months in journalism now and can see that I was phoning it in, which didn't do me or my employers any favors.

    I have nothing but respect for those who still love the business and are sticking it out. It just didn't work for me anymore and I'm not looking back.
  3. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Walked away 15 months ago because I wanted greater job security, better pay and the opportunity for job advancement both within the new company and other companies. I also didn't feel my current company treated employees fairly at the corporate level. The editors, managers and publishers in old my shop were very good people.
  4. Wendell Gee

    Wendell Gee Member

    I left a few years ago. Got tired of hitting the Krystal drive-thru at 2 a.m. every morning when my shift was done. Got tired of my pitiful paycheck. Tired of working weekends. And while I always thought I had enough talent to move up in newspaper, my bosses apparently didn't agree.

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the actual job. But I'm a lot happier with the hours, pay and bosses I have now.
  5. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    These are great. But what are you all doing now?
  6. J-School Blue

    J-School Blue Member

    It's been three years since I left newspapers, and it's surreal to realize that it's been that long. While I knew in a very real way I was "leaving the business," I always thought I'd take another look at the media market in a year or two and seriously try to go back if it was looking less bleak.

    It hasn't looked less bleak, at least not un-bleak enough for me to leave a relatively decent workplace situation. I'm not getting rich, but I'm getting by and I don't have to buy food and pay my phone bill with credit cards to be able to eat every month anymore. It's not "about the money," except when you have so little money you're scrambling to figure out how to live month-to-month. Making $23k as a starting salary didn't bother me. That's being a newb. You pay your dues. But looking around the newsroom at guys who had been there 5+ years and were still getting below $30k a year...that was a wake-up call.

    I did not intentionally "leave" journalism. Rather, I wanted to move back to a larger city and get out of rural hell while I was still young enough to enjoy it. I applied for newspaper jobs for months. I got into the second round of interviews on three of them, only to have the position frozen and be told (along with all the other interviewees who'd been hanging on for it) that there wasn't actually a job at all.

    I eventually started looking at less-than-desireable locations again. My gut-check moment came when I was on the phone with a paper in South Dakota, interviewing for a job as the "outlying town area" reporter, which would've put me farther from where I wanted to be, in a similar position at a similiarly slow-death-by-debt inducing salary.

    You know what? Screw that. I applied for a job outside the field and got it. I have worked long hours, but they have been stable and predictable. I am not getting rich, but like I said I'm getting by. I'm in the city I want to live in, and I have time for the friends I want to make time for and opportunities to freelance if I so desire (though not enough time for that).

    I miss the job. I do not miss the crappy quality of the life the job thrust upon me. Maybe it would've gotten better in 10 years, but for me 10 years was too long. Maybe for some the trade-off is worth it. For me, it fundamentally wasn't.

    It's been three years, and it will probably become four or five. Will I ever go back? I still miss a lot of aspects of the work. I wouldn't read this board and continue to soak up media info if I didn't. But it still looks so bleak, and it's still not worth it to me.

    ETA: I'm in a technical writing job now and considering graduate school, if I can decide what to go back for.
  7. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    I left in the late 1980s. I got a peek at my future when he was sitting across from me in the infield pressroom at a big NASCAR track. I was in my mid-20s, he was in his early 60s. We were doing exactly the same thing. I concluded I'd be doing exactly that for the next 40 years and turned my notice in early the next week.

    The only thing I miss about those days -- besides being in my 20s! -- are those times in the pressbox when the stadium would be emptied out and I'd be in there pecking away. I still have a visceral memory of a pretty Saturday afternoon at Grant Field in Atlanta. It was all quiet, my stories had just been filed, and I knew I didn't have to rush back in and help out on the desk. That's still a nice memory.
  8. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I left my post as a Web Editor to become a copywriter for an insurance wholesaler. Knew nothing about insurance but helped relaunch a web site, a new e-mail marketing campaign, and redid all the marketing materials (flyers, e-mails, corporate communications, etc.) Worked on press releases and did some social networking. But that was just a stepping stone and in two weeks I will start working as a Social Media Planner for a national advertising agency based in Detroit. I will be working at the same place where my late uncle wrote Chevy's "Like a Rock Campaign". I'm pretty happy about that. I always looked up to him. Think he would be proud.

    BTW, the agency hired me for my writing skills, not as much for the social media skills, although those didn't hurt my chances either.
  9. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    I just got tired of working 3-4 nights a week, working at least one night every weekend, and having to miss important milestones in my child's life because I had to cover some other parents kid's games or work in the office.

    I found a job in Microville that is involved in sports that requires many of the skills I learned in newspapers, and involves little or no weekend work nine months of the year. I'm in Week 6 of my new gig, I've been home by about 6 p.m. at the latest every day, haven't had to work a weekend night, and my stress level is way down and happiness quotient way up.

    A big aspect of my new job requires contact with my old shop, so I'm glad I left on great terms. I love my new job and I haven't looked back.

    PS: The "Like a Rock" ad campaign for Chevy Trucks is one of the greatest in American advertising. You're uncle earned every cent he got for that gig, and then some.
  10. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Are they still hiring? I don't live very far away from Detroit. :)
  11. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    I walked away from it full time more than three years ago. There was a bigger calling for me. There are many days I wonder just how stupid I probably am both personally and professionally.

    Then I read that some irresponsible, overly greedy, ignorant souls misrunning some newspapers - and not adjusting for the fact that 30-40-percent profit margins just aren't happening anymore - are sending numerous good journalists out the door. And, sometimes, things happen personally that make me think I might not be a total lunatic.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I walked away because of the pay (food stamp wages) and not being a part of my kids' lives except for a few hours on Saturday and all of Sunday.

    Starting grad school in April and excited about working decent hours for a decent salary in two years.
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