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How soon is too soon to get out of a new job?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RockSolid, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. RockSolid

    RockSolid Guest

    Hello, everyone! First time poster, long time lurker. I was wondering if someone could help a brother out.

    I started working for a major daily right out of college. The paper, which was owned by Paxton, laid me off exactly two years ago. Fortunately, I wasn't in the unemployment line too long as I found a new job at Heartless shortly thereafter. After working for the Heartless paper for almost nine months, the company laid me off, marking the second time in less than a year that I'd been let go from a paper. I knew right then that I can't be in this industry too much longer. I've been laid off twice and I'm only 26 years old. However, with my degree being strictly in journalism, it made things tough when I applied for non-newspaper jobs. So what did I do? I went back to the newspaper industry. Most recently, I started working as an Assistant SE for a Privately owned paper.

    I started working for this paper in October of 2011. I started off really liking things at this paper. There's no set deadline (you just have to everything in by noon the following day...it's a tri-weekly), get paid every week, mileage and lodging reimbursement is great. The best thing is that I haven't really felt any pressure as far as layoffs go. At Paxton and Heartland, I kind of knew they were coming. It was more of "when" and not "if" they were going to let me go. Within the last two months, things at this paper have drastically changed. The ME has started micromanaging and wants everyone in at 8 a.m. (even after you've worked until 2:30 or 3 a.m. the night before) to "man the phones." The SE has no life (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) outside of the paper. He likes working from 8 a.m. all the way until 2:30 a.m. the following day with no break and therefore thinks I should like it, too. There are other reasons, too. But I would rather not discuss those in public. The biggest thing is that I'm starting to feel the whole burnout thing that most journalists feel. Sports aren't fun or exciting for me anymore. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is watch NCAA, the NFL, the NBA or any other kind of sport on TV because I'm covering something 5-6 days a week. I'm just starting to lose the passion and spark that I once had for newspapers and sportswriting in general. Being laid off twice in a year doesn't help things too much either. I feel like this is more of a job and not necessarily a career that I want to do for the rest of my life.

    Like I said earlier, I started at this newspaper in October. So with that, how soon is too soon to leave? Would it look bad on my resume if I went ahead and turned in a two week's notice, for instance? Should I at least stick it out for a year or so? Is there such a thing as too soon? Does it look bad to prospective employers (inside or outside the newspaper business) when they look at my resume and see that I was at a place less than six months? Any advice out there? I appreciate it.
  2. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't get out unless you have something lined up. It's tough out there.

    Can't speak specifically on the job switching as far as journalism goes, but when I left Peace Corps, I wound up working a few temporary jobs (two months or so) and, by the third one, got asked about my "job-hopping" history. This despite prior to PC, I'd worked two jobs -- one for 10 years and one for nine. So based on that, yes, I think it might be a factor. Once in an interview, you can explain it but in my experience it's been a factor.

    As far as if it's too early to leave, no, it's not. The pay might be the equivalent, but it's not indentured servitude. If you want out, you're free to go. But I'd have something lined up. Unemployment stinks.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    This, exactly. Get something lined up before you leave. I know it sucks, but you'll be better off.

    And as far as the hours go, start demanding overtime pay for the extra hours (hide a tape recorder on you when you do), and don't let them get away with whining about how they work all those hours and you should want to too. This is a business. You are there to make money.

    I have a feeling the overtime pay discussion will lead to something about your hours.
  4. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    Agree with the above. Get something else lined up before you pull the cord.

    To answer your original question, there's no set time that's "too short." I once left a job after 6 months because it wasn't a good fit (I knew it was a bad fit after 2 weeks, but it took me 5 more months to find something else). And as I always tell new staffers, probation is a feeling out phase for both sides. It's perfectly fair for someone at the end of their probationary period to say, "Thanks, but this isn't for me."
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I know the feeling. Been there a few times. The best advice is to kEep the job UNTIL YOU HAVE ANOTHER.
    If you are as burned out as you claim DO NOT look for another job in newspapers.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
  6. Johnny Chase

    Johnny Chase Member

    I'll echo what everyone's saying about overtime pay. Nobody should be staying at work from 8:30-2:30 a.m. If they bitch, call the department of labor.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah. You probably feel burned out because you're suffering from lack of sleep.
  8. RockSolid

    RockSolid Guest

    Thanks everyone. I've tried talking to the higher ups about overtime and the long, grueling hours but they keep reminding me that I am a salaried employee so it doesn't matter how long I work. They keep telling me that they don't want me to get burned out and that I should rest, but my Sports Editor, who literally eats, sleeps and breathes this paper, sees it differently. He's so anal about the layout and what the pages look like. While I appreciate that (I love a good looking paper), it's also extremely frustrating. He has no problem deleting EVERYTHING that we've done once midnight rolls around and starting completely over because he didn't like where things were placed and how photos cropped, etc. He has no problem starting from scratch just as I think we're getting done. This is a tri-weekly paper and this happens each layout night.

    Of course I'm not going to leave unless I have something lined up. The only reason why I took this job was because I didn't have one after being laid off AGAIN by the Heartless paper I worked for. I've always been told that it's easier to get a new job when you already have one, so I accepted this one with the anticipation of finding something else as soon as possible. Believe me, I'm definitely trying to get out of newspapers. My biggest gripe, especially with these cruddy hours, is that my wife and I are expecting our first child very soon. She could go into labor any day now. This job is a 45 minute drive from where we live. I would hate to have to tell her to "Hold on for about an hour, I'll be there soon," when I get that phone call at 3:30 in the morning and I'm still at work. Between the long hours, the long drive back and forth every day and the lack of sleep, I think it's easy to tell why I'm burnt out. But yeah, I'm definitely not going to leave unless I have something lined up.

    This leads me to another question. When I fill out online applications, what about that little question that says, "May we contact this employer?" and you're supposed to check either Yes or No. In a situation where I've only been employed for about six months, what's the best way to answer this kind of question? If I say "Yes," my employer could find out that I'm looking at other jobs and it could get me in trouble (worst case scenario), but I say "No," would the prospective employer assume that I'm hiding something?

    I am pretty long winded and for that, I apologize. I'm running on fumes this morning! Thanks, guys and gals!
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    How can you be salaried? Do you supervise anyone or have independence to make significant decision?
  10. RockSolid

    RockSolid Guest

    No, actually. I'm the low man on the totem pole here. I'm just a Sports Reporter (though I've been given a fancy title of Assistant SE). It's a two-person sports staff, myself and the SE. I had prior SE experience before coming here and I don't know if that factored into it or not. Also, this paper is privately owned. It's not owned by one of the big boys like Heartland, Paxton, Gannett, etc. It's family owned and we do all of our printing here on location. I know that the press people are hourly, but all the reporters, editors, layout artists, and copyeditors are all salaried. I think it's just a policy.
  11. Illino

    Illino Member

    At my first job out of school, I turned in a two weeks notice after five days. I interviewed with about five places over the next three months, got offered three positions, took the one that fit best, and here I am today.

    No one batted an eye at the small amount of time spent at that paper. I don't by any means feel like that is normal, but that's what happened to me.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Time to call the federal Wage and Hourly Division of the Department of Labor. Thee are exceptions overtime for very small papers.
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