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Getting out ... just to get out

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Hey Diaz!, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    I am far happier away from journalism, and I don't know any ex-sports journalist who isn't also happier post-sports journalism.

    I was laid off in early 2009, but got a modest severance package (about 4 months pay). During that time, I enrolled into a teacher credentialing program, and took care of all the paperwork I needed to work as a substitute teacher. I had been thinking about leaving for a couple years, but I don't think I would have left if I wasn't forced out, simply because the idea of not having a job would have been too daunting for me. Looking back, I am very thankful to be forced out, since it jump-started my next career.

    I make less now (about $52,000, plus $2,700 for coaching) and, during football season, work more hours now as a high school PE teacher and assistant coach. (On Fridays during the season, my work day starts at about 7:30 am, and could end after 10:30 pm if you consider coaching "work".)

    But the coaching part is a personal choice that I can give up if I wanted to. I also get weekends off, holidays off, winter, spring, ski week, and summer vacations off, and 10 paid personal days off each year. I also have job security for life. Furthermore, the job itself is so much more rewarding. I love being part of a community, instead of always being an outsider. Because of my previous experience, I have become the unofficial media guy for our team. Every time I chat with a reporter, I think about how I am so happy to not be on that side of the fence anymore.

    My advice is: If you can take the financial hit, get out ASAP. Waking up without a job might be the best thing for you right now. It will force you to genuinely think about the next step (and then take action), instead of constantly thinking about thinking about the next step.
  2. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    I left a long, long time ago, but that is exactly where I was when I left. I had had some professional bumps in the road that year, but there were a couple of events I would be covering that I kept looking forward to. "Just hang on until X," I'd say to myself, "and then things will smooth out." Then X came around and I was bored. I got home from covering X, picked up my paycheck and thought, "I put up with all that shit just so I could go cover X and be bored out of my skull, and this is what I've got to show for it?" I was out within a month, for better pay and a more normal life.

    I still have great, great friends from my early days who've stayed (well, tried to stay) in the business. And I have a hatful of experiences I wouldn't trade for anything. But I've really, honestly, never looked back with any regrets or desires to get back in.
  3. CA_journo

    CA_journo Member

    I'm out... but I'm really missing certain aspects of sports writing. Like features. I miss talking to people, finding a unique story, and feeling good about the work that I put in. I'm still writing now, but it's more about the tech world. I'll put work into a story, then think, "Does this really matter at all?" I used to write stories about incredible subjects, but now it all seems like white noise. Don't get me wrong... I absolutely 100 percent LOVE my job. I've got security and I can go to the doctor whenever I need to. I'm taken care of, but there's still the part of me that misses turning in a story and feeling proud of it. I've tried to reach out to peers/former colleagues about freelancing... but I've gotten 0 response. I've been out of the loop for a while, so I honestly have no story ideas. I'd love to hear at least a "No thank you," but the lack of response kind of hurts.
  4. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Nice to know that the denizens of Bizarro SportsJournalists.com have embraced the realities of the business.

    Heck, it's nice that these threads no longer get shouted down here.
  5. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I think I notice a trend. Maybe we should start a new site called happyex-SportsJournalists.com or something.

    There hasn't been a day go by that I've missed it, and there hasn't been a night go by that I haven't thanked the good Lord for putting me in the position I am in now. I had a friend a paper call me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I was interested in a job they had coming open. I nearly dropped the phone I was laughing so hard.

    You can't even imagine how it feels being asked to go somewhere or do something with people and actually be able to do it instead of saying, "No, I have to work." Last Friday night, instead of being in a high school gym, my wife and I went to eat with a woman she works with and her husband. It was amazing to be able to do something so simple that everyone else does in this world.
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    If all you hypocrite assholes are so damn happy you left newspapers, then why the fuck are you on here?

    You know who you are. Go fuck yourselves.
  7. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Perhaps. And it's good that so many ex-journos seem to be happier on the other side.

    But I sense a little bit of the "How was your vacation?" thing going on. As in, everyone always says their vacation was great, when we know that at least for some people . . . .

  8. I'm not sure I would have phrased it exactly the same way. But maybe I would have.

    It's a great question.

    This is a site for sports writers to discuss their craft. Why are so many former sports writers, who are gleefully expressing their deep abiding disdain for our chosen profession, still posting on this message board?
  9. Have fun taking those calls from the swim coach. Craft indeed.
  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    It's a talent I was born with.
  11. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Dissecting this to spotlight the ways in which it is incorrect would allow it more time that it merits.

    Sure, very true.

    Not in my particular case. Can't speak for everyone else.

    My obvious response: Yes, newspapers are the ONLY way to be in media.

    My mean-spirited response: The disdain of those who remain in the profession could not possibly mean less to me. I made the best decision for myself and those I care about, and even heard a bit of scoffing from my co-workers as I made my plan to exit. I no longer read their work (for those who survived the three rounds of layoffs in the last five years), because I realized I am just not that interested. Which is, I suppose, how people felt about my work.

    My more measured response: Consider the absurdity of what we did/do. We chronicled the exploits of other people on the athletic field for people to read about. We watched others accomplish something, and we told others how neat it was. Sure, there was the odd "Look how IMPORTANT this is!!!!!!!!!" story, but for the most part we were entertainment writers.

    Some of us achieved what we designated as a dream situation (or, in my case, a throughly satisfying situation that maybe wasn't quite perfect but was nonetheless tough to leave behind). Others toiled watching high schoolers, hoping that someday that elusive opportunity would come. They hit the age of 30, the point where attending a lot of high school events without a relative competing can make one look a bit creepy.

    How many high school track agate calls can a sane person take? How many pro athletes who act like the press is somehow beneath them can we interview without wondering why we bothered with college? How often should we chronicle the successes of someone else's children before trying to seek a better life for ourselves?

    Go f%$# myself? Perhaps I may. I'm pretty sure I can fit it into my schedule, which does not include nights and weekends, but does include a much fairer paycheck and an immeasurably higher level of job satisfaction.
  12. As The Crow Flies

    As The Crow Flies Active Member

    Gotta admit, I was wondering the same thing.

    But I think there is a good reason. Most of these guys/gals are simply saying the lifestyle, hours and bullshit aren't worth it, even though the job itself is pretty cool most of the time. I've been in the business about a decade and can't say I've had more than a handful of truly bad days from a work standpoint.

    It's just that all the BS surrounding it makes it difficult. People stick around this board even after they get out because they enjoy sports journalism and enjoy talking about it. But actually being in the profession is pretty damn demoralizing sometimes.
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