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Considering a career move. Advice?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by schiezainc, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Alright, well, since this is the place where I do some of my best thinking and since this is the place where some of the smartest people I've ever talked to gather, I figure I'll hash this out here.

    A position recently opened up at our company for news editor and I've decided I'm going to interview for it. I've been thinking about this for two days now and I keep flipping back and forth between whether or not I want to go for it and the more I write down the pros and cons, the more I can't decide.

    The pros of this move are 1.) It's substantially more money (Over seven grand more per year); 2.) It's much more power and, for the first time, I might actually be respected as right now my views and opinon don't mean crap because, well, I'm in the toy department; 3.) It's a LOT less work. Instead of putting out six weekly sports sections with one other guy and a couple of freelancers, I'd be responcible for one weekly news section between 8-12 pages and would have a full time reporter at my disposal; 4.) It would lead to me having a much more flexible/consistent schedule; 5.) My wife would love this as I would rarely, if ever, have to pull overnights again; 6.) I feel like it would be a good career move to diversify myself and show that I can do more than just right game stories. 7.) I feel like this will help me become a better writer and while I may not be as interested in the stuff I'm covering, I really believe that I would be able to pursue actual feature stories and write in-depth pieces that I just don't have the time to now.

    I won't lie. The main motivation here is the money. I'm at a point in my life where I'm starting to look at the big picture and I just can't get by on the $24K I'm making a year right now. I just can't. And so my choices are stick with sports, which I love, but also get a second job in which I hate or jump to news and see where life takes me.

    The cons of this decision are pretty easy to flesh out too. 1.) For one thing, I don't have a news background. This position is one that requires a lot of editing and while I have done some editing in the past, it's not my strong suit. Still, I'm a very fast learner and I think I can pick it up as I go along and I know my weaknesses, something not a lot of people can say about themselves, and I'm willing to work to change them.

    2.) For some reason, I feel like I'm betraying my sports coworker by making this jump. As much as I hate him sometimes, he really has made me a better, more efficient writer. I take a lot of pride in the work that we've done together and it's going to really hurt to let that go, even though I have no doubt I'll still write an article or three for him per week out of habit.

    3.) I worry about whether or not I'm qualified to do this. I'm not the guy who likes to go to six-hour meetings and write boring stories from them. I mean, sure, I've written 1,000-word masterpieces about mundane sports like girls tennis and field hockey but this is a different beast.

    4.) If I prove that I can't cut it, I fear being trapped and being unable to jump back.

    5.) I'd have to dress much more professionally and deal with micromanagement from above in terms of going to weekly meetings, getting pages approved, etc.

    6.) I'd also go from hourly to salary and, knowing me, I can just about guarantee you that I'll find a way to put in 60 hours a week.

    7.) And that brings me to my next point. I feel like I have a pretty good grip on what I do now and feel like I'm in a pretty good rhythm. Starting something new, while certainly exciting, is scary too. What if I fail? What if I can't hack it?

    Long term, this seems like the best career move for me to make at this time and, really, there comes a point where you've got to think about more than yourself and think about your future. I have a new wife, we're starting our life together. This isn't about me anymore, this is about us. I think I should just suck it up, do the job and find a way to make it.

    I've crunched the numbers and I can't afford to live on $24K a year. I don't have health insurance, I've got four grand in the bank and that's depleting fast. It's either do this or do sports and somehow find a way to fit a second job into a schedule that doesn't have much room for me to wiggle with.

    I'd appreciate any and all of your thoughts, even if it is just to tell me to stop being a bitch and whining about my life online. Thanks. :)
  2. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Only you can make this decision for you.

    If I thought for an instant I was leaving sports for news I'd go lay down on the railroad tracks, but that's me, not you. So I'll leave you with this:

    "Be sure you're right, then go ahead," David Crockett.
  3. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    Best advice I can give: Do not go for this position for money, power or respect if the job won't make you happy. If money, power and respect make you happy, that's good, but make sure you're happy doing what you're doing.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    You have to do it.

    If you want to stay and move up in the business, you need to have more/different experience so that you remain marketable.
  5. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    And there is nothing saying that you can't move back into sports if you decide that news isn't for you. Coming from a news room perspective, I will say that some of those council, buget, board of ed meetings can be tedious, but some they are also chock full of information and you can learn alot in a short amount of time by knowing who to talk to.
  6. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    If you value your marriage, take the promotion.
  7. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    If you think you can bring the same level of dedication and excellence that you had in sports, go for it. If nothing else, you'll get a better idea of whether your employers think of you as a journalist or a mere Sports Guy.

    MightyMouse is right -- money, power and respect won't make the job any easier if you hate it. That said, professionally speaking, this can only help you. Failure is always an option when you make a move like this, but it's an inherent risk with trying to expand your boundaries as a person and a journalist. As for your cohort in sports, hopefully he understands this is the business you've chosen. Talented, ambitious people tend to move on when presented with a better opportunity, and leaving a good situation for the unknown is a byproduct of that ambition.

    Lastly, have some faith in yourself and your abilities. If you walk into the interview as a Sports Guy looking to make more money, they won't give you a second look. Make clear to them what you've said here -- that you're a serious journalist who has a vision for the news desk, wants to expand his horizons, is a quick learner and is aware of and willing to work on his weaknesses.

    Good luck.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Leave the company and get a job elsewhere. Seriously. They've been shitting on you guys for a long time and making $24k a year after, what, 5 years in the same place (?) is ridiculous. They're paying you entry-level money and you're no longer entry level. When's the last time they gave you a raise?

    I know jobs are few far between, particularly where you are, if you don't want to move, but you need to get away from that company. If you're open to a news job, at least you have more options.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    You need health insurance. Immediately. That's playing with fire, I don't care how young you are or that you go to the gym every day or that you never catch a cold. Gotta have it.

    OK, rant over.

    TrooperBari gives quality advice. You gotta put yourself out there. Don't fear stuff like micromanagers and meetings and all that--it exists, but look at it as a good thing. You're moving up the food chain. And handling all that is as much a part of your professional development as the pages.
  10. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    The last time I got a raise was two years ago this January and my coworker and I were planning on asking for one this January and we were around 80 percent certain they'd say yes.

    The problem for me is, deep down, I feel this inherent bond to what I deem MY sports sections. I take pride in the work I do and, even on my worst weeks, I feel like I've accomplished something when the final papers press.

    You're right though. Long term who knows if this company is right for me but I really do like it--no, love it--here. I'm just hoping that if I do get the news gig (I interview Tuesday) I feel the same about it as I do the sports job.

    As for the rest of the thread, thanks for the advice guys. I really appreciate it.
  11. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I agree about the health insurance. It's really been something steering me towards the news opening. The fact is, I live a pretty simple life. I have a nice car, but that's because I needed something reliable for work. I live in a nice apartment but, other than that and maybe my $9 netflix membership, I don't spend any money.

    I mean any money.

    And if I can't make ends meet by living like this, how am I supposed to ultimately start a real family and have a real life? These are the thoughts running through my head and the more I think about, the more this move seems like the right thing to do.
  12. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I was the same way. I got very comfortable in my first job and didn't look to advance my career as quickly as maybe I should have. I was living in my hometown, I had sources everywhere and I was writing for an audience that was tremendously appreciative of my work. I loved working there.

    But I also had no frame of reference. When I finally did move on, I quickly realized how much more was out there. I worked for a very good company at that hometown paper, but the next company was even better.

    Sometimes, you just don't know what you're missing until you get out of your comfort zone.
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