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"Getting out of the business" resource thread

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by playthrough, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Expand your network. Identify people who are working in the kinds of jobs you think you want to transition to, cold contact them and ask if you can take them for a coffee to talk about how to make the jump to that field. Works best if you have something in common with them, like a shared alma mater. But you cold contact enough people you'll start expanding your network rapidly. If you're an introvert, like me, it's a painful process but it works.
  2. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    Sorry to bring back a Frankenpost, but I don't come around here as much as I used to ...

    I got out of the biz more than a decade ago. I've been a high school teacher - and for the last several years, the school journalism adviser. They're more than happy to toss me a few bucks for my newspaper experience. Been able to keep my toes dipped in the water as a freelancer, and I've been able to do some pretty cool jobs as a result.

    My wife is still in the biz, at the same newspaper for 20+ years. Very well-respected, valued employee, but she's had her pay cut substantially, benefits eliminated, the same cost-cutting stuff everyone in the business has dealt with over the years. A few months ago, she interviewed for a pretty well-paying PR job in the community (at the same place I work). It looks going in like she's a strong candidate. Has tons of experience, incredible writer, has won multiple awards, very well respected in the community. Gets some really good feedback at the interview.

    A week later, she gets "the call." Turns out an assistant football coach who spent a couple of years in TV was also a candidate and was being pushed by the football coach. They went with him to get a coach on the payroll. I was pretty upset then (and still am), knowing the realities of the biz and the opportunity for her to transition into a better, more stable, higher-paying job, only to see her passed over due to office politics.

    However, all of that said, keep your head up. Something better *does* come along. In newspapers, I had options. I interviewed eight times at schools before I got my current teaching job - and it was with the highest-paying district in the area. I'm hoping that something better comes along for my better half, and hope the same for you. Job hunting is a real meat-grinder, and a lot of times, the reasons decisions are made are irrational and make no sense. But things do have a way of working themselves out.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the encouraging words.

    I'm still grinding out the resumes, but haven't had a nibble. I haven't really stressed out about it because I have a couple of things (nothing bad) coming up in the spring, so I'm not too worried about getting rejected at this point.

    You became a teacher, which is great. I looked those second-career teacher prep programs, and in my state, it's a fairly elaborate process, and I wouldn't be 100 percent sure I'd want to be a teacher anyways. Plus, teaching jobs are pretty hard to come by, unless it's special ed, or math or science, in my state, so it might be a lot if work just to start from scratch at a career I wouldn't be sure I'd like anyways. I have a relative who became a special ed teacher, and it took him years just to get hired for that job, because he lives in an area where there is a lot of competition. Good for you on being able to make the transition,

    Sucks for your wife, though. It's crazy how one can beat the odds and get hired for anything, really.
  4. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    It's not "getting out of the business," but I guess this qualifies as a success story ...

    I managed to avoid the layoff ax at my former shop by accepting another editing job before they had a chance to get rid of me. In a few days, I'll begin work at a Florida newspaper that serves the world's largest 55-and-over community (won't identify it, but a few minutes of web research will turn up the name and location). Had to take a slight pay cut, but the cost of living is considerably less than in South Florida and the lifestyle is much more sane. The job provides more responsibility and the opportunity to fill a mentoring role on a young staff. I'll still be working nights and one weekend day, but it's an earlier shift than what I'm used to and will allow for a decent work-life balance. Best of all, the paper is very profitable and still growing like crazy along with the community -- 55-and-over readers continue to move there in droves and they still love their print product. As long as my bosses like me, I'll almost certainly be able to work another three to five years and retire on my own terms instead of having some HR rep tap me on the shoulder and shove me out the door.

    Because this publication emphasizes mostly softer news and "good" news and has a decidedly conservative political tilt, I've dealt with pushback from colleagues about going to work for something that's not a "real" newspaper. I've told them it's a fair question. But then my response is that with tiny newsholes, slashed staffs and absurdly early print deadlines that ensure readers are getting yesterday's news tomorrow, how many "real" newspapers are left? Time to go to a place that enables me to (a) do work I'm still relatively competent at, and (b) pay the bills. And it'll be nice not to deal with constant rumors of layoffs and cutbacks, which will make it easier to focus on doing good work.
  5. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Congrats. At this point especially, it’s every man for himself. Pride will not pay off the car loan or buy the groceries at Publix.
    murphyc and Bronco77 like this.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Congrats. And good luck.
  7. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    No need to apologize to anyone, Bronco — sounds like a solid gig. Congrats!
    Bronco77 likes this.
  8. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    Congrats. Florida is a great place to live, and yes, the low cost of living (and low taxes) more than makes up for any salary cuts. Softer news doesn't mean it's less of a publication. I worked at a publication that emphasized features, storytelling and community journalism, and went through its golden era (while also pushing hard news when it was warranted - multiple public officials have been arrested or forced to resign due to the newspaper's work).
    Bronco77 likes this.
  9. JN7281994

    JN7281994 New Member

    For those of you who left the industry: When did you know it was time? Was it after years of frustration and unhappiness? Or was there a specific incident that precipitated your departure?

    I find myself thinking about getting out of the business a lot. But when I tell people I'm frustrated, they reply something to the effect of: "You're only 23!" I'm a part timer/stringer at a large paper in a major city. People think my job is impressive. But it isn't. I'm left to handle the section's grunt work, with little opportunity for enterprise work and virtually no chance of being promoted to full time (no one in my position at this shop ever has been). I'm unhappy, and a lot of the time I think I should leave. Maybe do communications But, I don't know. I still love this. It's just a matter of getting to do it.
  10. bevo

    bevo Member

    I know someone who did this exact same thing at the exact same newspaper you're joining. He was an older journalist who also mentored the younger staff. He ended up returning to the paper he left after a year of two because he couldn't stand the kind of "journalism" being done at that publication. This was about 10 years ago.
  11. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    I knew it was time in 2007. Left for a few months but came back to the same newsroom because, like many of us, it's the drug I like best. Rode that place out through seven rounds of layoffs in the next four years, and then they got me in the eighth round. Fair enough, kinda.

    Stayed out a couple of years, found nothing decent, found out how absurdly shitty some of these smaller publishing companies are (magazines and syndicates, for me), then went to a good newsroom job at a good chain. Was shaky about going back, but it was good, and it paid well. Rode that out three years, got laid off again. Woulda worked for that chain all the way to retirement if I coulda.

    But that was it for me. No going back. I miss the nightly newsroom drug high, but the good times are long gone.
  12. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    My apologies if this seems snarky, but I'd have to ask if your friend still has a job. In fairness, though, I might have come to the same conclusion 10 years ago, but so much has changed. Things were going downhill then, but we all had a few more options; if you got laid off or didn't like your situation, it was still possible to land in a decent place. Newsholes, deadlines and staffing levels hadn't plunged to the current level of ridiculousness. There were still plenty of "real" newspapers out there. Not so much now. The big gap that existed 10 years years ago has narrowed.

    The industry also had yet to be hijacked by abominations such as GateHouse (if nothing else, it's safe to say the product and working conditions at my new shop are superior to anything associated with that journalistic diarrhea factory).

    I've been here a while and have yet to be asked to do anything outside my comfort zone -- though that certainly could change -- and my co-workers on the editing staff are top-notch, along with being first-class human beings who've gone out of their way to help (some of the co-workers at my previous shop were about as welcoming as a kick in crotch when I started there). If you underestimate them, you'd be making a mistake. And the talent on the visual side is extraordinary.

    And I repeat: My one remaining, modest goal in this business is to put in five or so more good years, then be able to retire on my own terms and timetable. There are no guarantees; maybe I'll eventually get fed up like your friend did. But, for better or worse, I'll take my chances.
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