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Advice for Sports Journalist

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jla74m, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. jla74m

    jla74m Member

    I'd like some feedback from a jury of my peers.

    I have been a sports reporter / sports editor / sports paginator for 10 years. Even though many of my managers, co-workers and readers have praised the quality of my work, I never seemed to feel comfortable in any place I've worked. I enjoy doing sports journalism -- even though the hours suck. That has never been the problem.

    For many years, I've always seemed to be restless in my job. If I had a good job, then I'd always want a better one. This has led me to working at 13 different newspapers during the last decade.

    About a year ago, I found the answer to my 'restless' problem after I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) Upon taking the prescribed medication, my life has turned around for the better.

    But here's my issue... Now that my life is a TON more stable, every once in a while I see openings for jobs that I wouldn't mind having. However, with my resume and job-shifting, many places won't interview me because of my past.

    How could I go about overcoming my past?


    How could explain to potential new employers that my medical condition is under control and isn't going to effect my future?
  2. boots

    boots New Member

    You don't have to bring your health up to an employer. That is confidential information.
    Look journalism is a transient business. People know that. They say its "a red flag" when you've been at a lot of places. I say its bullshit. If you've gotten varied experiences from those places, tell them that.
    When people ask why haven't you stayed somewhere, tell them you felt it was time to move on. And if that's a problem, they can call your references.
    I've heard people in this business use that bullshit line "you haven't stayed in one place for x number years." Don't go for it.
    Good luck with the search.
  3. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    He doesn't <b>have</b> to disclose it, but in this case it might help explain something that might otherwise be considered a negative on the resume.

    It is indeed a transient business, but 13 stops in 10 years is a LOT of moving.
  4. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Just start calling yourself the Adam LaRoche of newspapers in your cover letter. They'll get the picture.
  5. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    Disagree. Certainly jla doesn't have to disclose his health information, but it would be smart of him to do so. Clearly, his transient nature is scaring off prospective employers. So, if he/she can prove that things are much more stable since the ADD diagnosis, it will ease those concerns.


    The other thing you might want to do is bring articles showing how ADD is treated by your medication. (I'm sure there are some.) Someone I know who suffers from a mild form of Tourette's emailed a prospective employer about his condition, and it helped him get the job.
  6. boots

    boots New Member

    I'm more concerned with a possible employer labeling him without looking at his work. That's why I wouldn't put the information out there.
    However, he can always cut out a few of those papers. It wouldn't hurt his resume a bit.
  7. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    oh, yeah, omissions on a resume are always a good way to go, bootsy. :eek: ::) :eek:
  8. boots

    boots New Member

    The guy has been at what 13 papers in 10 years. I don't think omitting one or two papers is going to hurt him. If he's been around for 10 years, that means he knows what he's doing. Personally, I feel where you been doesn't mean a hill of beans if you don't have an idea of where you're going. Let me see the work and if the talent is there, it will come through.
  9. Danny Noonan

    Danny Noonan Member

    My wife is a medical provider and I know disclosure rules inside and out.

    Here's some stuff from a Web site on that. This concerned bipolar disorders but pretty much concerns anything under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The site is http://www.oreilly.com/medical/news/bipolar_work.html

    Do not volunteer information about your medical history. Employers have the right only to determine if you are capable of performing the job. They do not have the right to ask about personal or confidential information during an interview.

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot ask about medical history, require you to take a medical exam, or ask for medical records unless they have made a job offer.

    Do not lie on a job application or during an interview. You can be fired later if your dishonesty is uncovered. Instead, answer only the specific questions asked. Try to steer the conversation towards your current ability to do the job, rather than explain your past.

    Do not ask about health insurance until you have been offered a job. Before accepting the job, get the benefits information and review it thoroughly.

    If your medical history becomes an issue after the job offer, get a letter from your physician that briefly outlines your treatment and stresses your current good health and ability to do the job. Ask the doctor to let you review the letter prior to giving it to your potential employer. If your doctor is willing, you might even prepare this kind of letter yourself and give it to your doctor for a signature.

    See the web site of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the EEOC's technical assistance documents on Pre-Employment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations. The EEOC also has a document on the definition of disability used in federal civil rights (anti-discrimination) laws.

    I once had five jobs in three years, so don't worry about that one. Hope this helps. Good luck.
  10. boots

    boots New Member

    Thanks Danny. I hope your info helps him get the job he deserves.
  11. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    13 papers in 10 years. One things for sure, you know how to say all the right things during a job interview!
  12. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    If you've had 13 jobs in 10 years, people may be reluctant to hire you. They figure you've either been run off those jobs, or you're one of those people who's unhappy eight minutes after you accept the job.

    Either way, they're looking at launching the search and interview process all over again, and that's not appealing. So they don't hire you.

    This isn't about the right to keep a medical condition confidential, it's about explaining that having a medical condition under control now provides a chance to amend an employment history that's not appealing to employers.
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