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"Getting out of the business" resource thread

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

  1. bevo

    bevo Member

    My coworker retired a few years after returning. I know things are different from 10 years ago. We all thought things were bad then when papers were going under and massive layoffs were happening, but the landscape is totally different now and most good jobs are long gone.
  2. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    It's good if he was able to retire without being pushed out. Believe me, if that had been a realistic option in a few years with my previous gig, I would've stuck it out there. It was a good job and a good company, at least until it started downsizing. And I didn't I look forward to the upheaval of a relocation. But the bean counters and HR executioners had other plans, and the ax was looming -- if not immediately, almost certainly within a year -- and an opportunity to get out of the business locally hadn't presented itself, although God knows I tried.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  3. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    To the original question, I knew it was time when I was nearly 40 years old, friends of mine who were 10 years younger were making twice my salary and there was seemingly no path to advancement. I was truly stuck. Would never go back.
  4. BrownScribe

    BrownScribe Member

    I knew it was time to get out for reals when I was coming home in tears multiple times a week. I was that mentally and physically drained. I thought I was alone, but soon found out that several of my younger (and more talented) coworkers were feeling the same way. I think everyone knows going into journalism that the pay isn't going to be great, the hours can suck, and there's a lot of stress -- but I am not sure anything could've prepared me for the toll it took on me.

    I got out five years ago, thanks to a former coworker. She saved me, in a lot of ways. I miss the art of journalism, but the business side of it I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. If you can, get out and don't look back. Who cares about what people think? PR is the dark side... well, it pays the bills and then some.
    Slacker likes this.
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This is a bit of a vague answer, but, really, it's one of those cases where you just know.

    To quantify, though: I'd say it's when every day becomes a fight, for whatever reasons (they will be different in each case), when you start realizing you're not liking being around your co-workers and/or they're not liking being/interacting with you (because this is, typically, one of the best, most enduring positives in journalism -- the love of being in the newsroom, and the camaraderie that usually goes into it), when you are constantly (not occasionally, or sometimes) thinking about and realizing and resenting that you are living according to everyone else's schedules (i.e. making phone calls when they say, waiting around for them to return your calls all day, and then it doesn't happen, disrupting and interrupting your life for the sake of talking to inarticulate high school students when you feel you are long past that, and/or you start feeling anxious, unhappy, or even nervous (again, for whatever reasons) about work on more than just an occasional basis.

    And, as BrownScribe said, it doesn't matter much after a while what other people may think. Once you're out and gone from a job, you're gone, it's over, and nobody cares, anyway.
    Slacker likes this.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I think the answer to your question is in your post. There is something to people's response that, "You're only 23!" And there also is something to your thought that it might just be a matter of getting to do it.

    It sounds like you've gotten trapped in the idea of working at a big metro, and that's it. But, well, if you're 23 and working at a big metro, the work you're likely to do IS the grunt work, and that needs to be understood and accepted -- or not, and you need to do something about it. Most people do not start out in journalism at a major-metro, doing a major beat, or getting to do gobs of investigative stuff there.

    You probably need to break away from the major-metro, go to a small or mid-sized paper, and just do good work there for a while. You'll get opportunities and responsibilities there that will entail more than answering phones, taking box scores, doing agate, or just being sent out to bigger events as an occasional substitute who is there more so that someone considered bigger and better can have some days off than anything else.

    It's really hard to leave a major metro, but if the kind of beat work or enterprise opportunities that you want are not happening for you after a while -- you'll know because you'll see that they DO happen for some young studs -- you should considering going off and building your career a bit, and then rising back up. It can happen, and pretty quickly, sometimes, if you're a go-getter, talented and hard-working.

    But no matter what, you will have to become more than a part-time stringer/freelancer for your career to really take off at all, and I think you're going to have to be willing to cut the cord first. This is where it sounds to me like you're at.
    murphyc likes this.
  7. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Used to be a great way to come up through the ranks, but later on you might get cubbyholed instead. About 10 years ago the SE wanted me for a bigger role that came with a $20K raise, and it was all set to happen, and then the ME in charge of newsroom budgets squashed the deal because "we don't want anyone inside the newsroom getting that big a raise."

    So then they hired an inexperienced guy from outside the company and gave him the same money. Unfuckingbelievable.
  8. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Like cosmo was, I’m now stuck. I make alright money for what I do — much more than I envisioned, short of winning the lottery. I have a fair amount of vacation time. I don’t want to start over. I’m also approaching 40, though, so I’ve got to shit or get off the pot.
  9. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I knew when I was standing at a 6 a.m. preseason football practice in 2013 and I realized both that I really didn't want to be there, that I was sick of being a beat writer and that I didn't have to do something I no longer enjoyed. The next day, after thinking on it a lot, I went in and told my boss that I was doing that season and then leaving the paper, which I did.

    Best decision I ever made.

    I have a different writing job now, writing mostly features for a major college's website. The money still stinks, but 99 percent of the time I write whatever I want and there's virtually no stress.
  10. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    The money issue is what's interesting. Anybody who has worked in the newspaper business the past 10 years realizes the salary you start at is the salary you receive forevermore. It's very disgusting and classless that organizations have policies of no raises ... ever. It is unhealthy for the employee and also unhealthy for the company. Never ever giving a raise is un-American and newspaper suits should be ashamed of themselves. If a person works for a company that person should get an annual raise, case closed. Another reason newspaper reporter is next to last on the list of worst professions. Disgusting. Embarrassing. Sad. Polish your boat, suits, while your employees get treated like dung.
  11. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I went eight years without a raise, and that included a stretch where I changed to a more high-profile beat and then took on more work for the entertainment section. Disgusting is the correct word choice.
    Slacker likes this.
  12. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    In the end, and by that I mean during the course of seven rounds of newsroom layoffs over four years, every one of our newsroom managers hid from us in their offices, with the doors shut tight, every day-week-month-year.

    That is not an exaggeration. They couldn't even talk to any of us if we caught them during a rare venture out into a hallway. They couldn't talk to any of us, or us to them, because none of us had any common ground at all anymore.

    They got me, too, so I'm long gone. The layoffs continue there, but each manager still has an office ... and a locked door.
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