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Full-time versus part-time

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by luckyducky, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    I know we go through this dilemma a lot on here, but I'm looking for advice as well.

    here's the deal: I have an offer for FT at a 30,000-circ, PM daily paper in BFE. The closest "city" is about a 2.5-hour drive. They cover preps, outdoors, preps, a junior college and preps. I'd be covering preps. Oh, and one or two days a week on desk - layout/editing.

    Currently I'm PT at a lower 100k circ paper in a city. I do a lot of stuff, although primarily preps during the school year, but there are opportunities to do NFL sidebars and WNBA games and cool projects and, if I so choose, even a night on the desk periodically. The pay isn't great, I work part-time to support my habits (you know, coffee, gas and living under a roof).

    One of my fears is getting stuck in a small town and/or getting pigeon-holed into just preps and nothing else. I don't want to do preps forever - or even for a very extended period of time...

    Alright, any advice you wise (and not-so-wise) folk have to offer, I'd be most appreciative. Otherwise, "DELETE THIS G.D. THREAD NOW"/"it's called the search function" away.
  2. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Take the damn job. Now.

    BFE ain't that bad. The PM cycle will bug you for a while, but if it's like most papers, it won't be PM for long.

    I can only think of a handful of situations when part-time would be better than full-time. This doesn't seem like one of them.
  3. Before you take the job, lay your cards on the table at your current part-time gig. Talk with the editor, explain your options, ask point-blank (but diplomatically) what your chances are of becoming full-time. His answer will tell you. If he says the next full-time opening is yours, stay. If it's a song and dance, move on. You can move up from the PM preps beat just as easily if you do a good job. Editors will judge you on how you write, not as much what you write about. Well, the good ones will.
  4. rgd

    rgd Guest

    Agreed. Take it.

    You also don't want to be pigeon-holed into being a part-timer, so take it.
  5. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    LSS is spot on. You'd want to have that talk with the SE anyway, even if you were leaving for sure, to get some feedback and make sure you could use the SE as a reference in the future. But, since you'd prefer to stay there and work your way to full-time, ask what you can do to make that happen. And, no matter what the SE says, ask around to find out the paper's track record of promoting part-timers to full-time.

    Also, if you're covering the WNBA and NFL sidebars and such, be sure to keep in touch with all the reporters from other papers that you've met at those events. Let them know you'd like to hear about openings, and send an e-mail or call every so often to remind them.

    Good luck.
  6. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    At my last gig there was a desk full of part-timers who had been there for years just waiting to get their shot. Most are still waiting and still laboring away for said shot.
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Here's the thing - how many people have gone from part-time to full-time where you are now. If the current SE has shown he has done that - not what he has said, but what he has done - it might be worthwhile to stay at your current position because if that doesn't happen you can keep looking.

    From what you are saying, it doesn't sound like you are this keyed up about your full-time offer. For one thing, it is a PM paper. You also won't make the contacts that you can at your current paper. If you got this offer, what's to day a better offer won't come along?

    What is the money like per hour? If it is less per hour at the full-time offer, that might also cause me to hesitate. If it is a situation where you are going to be looking for a job from the day you take the PM job, why bother?

    Come up with alternative solutions. If a full-time opening wouldn't come up at your current place because of freezes or the fact that nobody leaves, would your SE help you find another job thru a contact he might have?

    It's not an easy answer. I think the ultimate question which needs to be answered is where are you less likely to be in a job ghetto. That would be the place to go or stay.
  8. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    I would likely be - at least casually - looking for a new gig shortly after I get to the PM, partly because I don't intend to get stuck in a town where the only thing to cover is preps.

    Something else is that, while I spent a little time in the summer reading job listings, this PM paper is the only one I actually sent off an app for - it was on a whim via e-mail at about 11:30 one night. It wasn't a full job hunt with many off hours spent sending out apps. Should I be taking the first/only thing I was offered?
  9. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    If that's true -- that you really, really have the opportunity to do all that stuff -- my gut tells me you should stay where you are. And work it! Make an eventual FT position a no-brainer for them.
  10. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    But it's not that easy. In a lot of places, they won't move a part-timer to full time - and it has nothing to do with how well you do a job.
  11. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I guess that's true. I worked PT at a major metro in college. A group of my buddies stayed after college and eventually got hired as FT'ers. One as a FT writer, one on the desk, and one for the .com side. But they're all wonderful, talented guys! ;D
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Benefits are one thing to consider in this, too.

    But if you take the part-time route, don't let the SE get complacent.

    Do your best work always. Be available and eager. And let them know that you are interested in a fulltime job but willing to do this for now.

    Don't let them get complacent on you. It's harder to find good part-timers than good full-timers, but part-timers who make good impressions get hired full-time.
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