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How to get out?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sprtswrtr10, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. sprtswrtr10

    sprtswrtr10 Member

    I need help.
    Don't laugh.
    I'm trying to save my marriage without turning my life into a fate worse than divorce.

    I am a sports editor at a Big 12 daily.
    We are big enough to take half our staff (two people) on the road for football, to travel frequently for men's and women's basketball, baseball, to not always be nickle and dimed about the hotel's we stay in, etc. While, at the same time, we are small to the point that, while I am SE, primary columnist and a flat out beat writer during the winter and spring, in addition to being SE and columnist, nobody does more desk than me either. The prospect of having to write a real-meaty-with-great-art 900 word feature and lay out three pages of our four page section all between 6:30 p.m. and midnight, well, let's just say it used to be daunting. But now, if I've got all my notes and my tape transcribed, well, hell, piece of cake.

    I know some of you have lived this sort of life.

    I love the writing and the covering and the events. I mean, I like being a sports journalist and I'm good at it. In my particular predicament, what I've described above, I feel I'm unmatched. And still, I never thought I'd be where I am for so long, though everything but my employer is great — home, family, neighborhood, much of the work (but not all) — except for the fact that what the job specifically requires is killing my marriage.

    I envy the guys at the big metro papers. When they're done, they're done.
    When we're done, there are still pages to read, desk, whatever. We're never done.
    So, while I would love a job with the big metro down the street, at this point it wouldn't even have to be sports, there is still just one big metro down the street and one other about 100 miles away that maybe, possibly, the right job could come up that wouldn't require uprooting my family. But that's very doubtful.

    So, any advice?

    What can I do as a freelancer? (I do a fair amount of freelancing already, but not enough to do it full time)
    Where does one go to work in PR? or marketing? Who in the hell do I call?
    What else might my writing skills, desktop publishing skills, etc, translate into?
    Could I possibly syndicate myself? (already, through our chain, my columns appear in several newspapers around the state)
    What about being a consultant? Has anybody put out their own shingle?
    (Because I just know I can help papers like mine and smaller all over the place with their headlines, their layout, their writing; on this, I have no question. I must do everything right now and I do it all well)
    Politics is my other great passion; well, that and hold'em. Any ideas there?

    I'm just hoping for a few ideas or a few life experiences I might learn from.

    I love my wife.
    I love my daughter.
    I even love the business.

    But I get off about 12:30 a.m. five nights a week and those nights always include Friday and Saturday.

  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    sprts - why is uprooting out of the question?

    have you lived in this place all your life?
  3. sprtswrtr10

    sprtswrtr10 Member

    it's not way out of the question.
    But my wife has a fantastic job (might be portable)
    my parents are 25 miles away
    her father is in town.
    it's like that.
    and uprooting my not work for a marriage on the rocks already.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    if it really is the job that's the problem, then, go into pr or advertising.
  5. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    How long have you been married, and what exactly is it your wife does for work?
  6. sprtswrtr10

    sprtswrtr10 Member

    my wife is in health care management and makes between 2 and 3 times what I make.
    A) how does one go into PR? Because I don't have the foggiest, though I might be quite good at it?
    B) I would prefer a creative way to keep doing much of what I'm doing but without the schedule.
    (and by that I don't mean 8 to 5, but perhaps my wife and I might see each other more than 15 minutes a day)
  7. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    10--Let me leave you with a few thoughts before I sign off. I'm guessing you are working something on the order of 70 or more hours a week. That is ridiculous.

    One thing to try is simply go to your boss and say, This is ridiculous, and I"m not going to put up with it anymore. I love doing this job, but nothing is worth costing me my marriage (and I assume from what you say yours would be just fine if it weren't for the long hours). From today forward, I"m going to work 50 hours a week and this is my schedule, subject to your adjustment. Those are the hours I"m going to work from now on, and it's up to you to figure out the rest.

    Of course, in doing that, you have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for your boss to tell you to take a hike. Hopefully, your wife makes enough to keep you guys solvent while you look for another job.

    This is something I've done before. I even went through one of those job-placement training programs you see advertised in which they train you how to find the hidden job market and how to go after jobs that are outside what you have been doing. It provided GREAT training for how to do job interviews, and how to get myfoot in the door at a variety of companies that need writing/editing talent at some level, and doing it in such a way that you don't feel the nervousness of going in for an actual job interveiw. In essence, it led me to a whole new field of media work that tapped into my talents, and now that I'm back in newspaper work, the experience and contacts I made in this other media career have provided me with a great source of free-lance/consulting income.

    It all relates to networking and being bold and having your thoughts organized about who and what you are. Basically, what you need to do is go to the library or chamber of commerce, and get a list of, say, 20 or more businesses within easy driving distance that you can tell from the basics of studying the company could utilize your talents. It doesn't have to be a PR or ad agency, either. It could be a hospital, a large trucking company, a manufacturer of oil wells, whatever. As long as they have a communications and/or media department, they need someone like you.

    What you do, is put together your priority list of twenty companies, figure out who the logical contact at that company is---name and job title (NOT the human resources person---that's a dead end), a few basic facts about the company in terms of recent performance and successes, and then write a three-paragraph letter (Keep it to ONE PAGE) to that person praising the company with specific info you've gathered that doesn't sound overly patronizing, tell them who you are, explain that you are considering going down a different career path, and asking them if they would give you 15-20 minutes of their time so you could pick their brain about any career-change advice they could give you, referrals to other companies and executives, and to give you any feedback they could offer on the spot about what they think of your career track. Never bring up the fact you are looking for a job.

    After you send out your 20 or so letters, you wait a week to 10 days and then call that person, confirming that they received the letter and when could they work you into their schedule. Again, it's important not to treat this as a JOB SEARCH, where you start getting butterflies and sweaty palms when you get there, thinking you are their to interview for a job. YOU ARE NOT. Sure, they know you're looking for a job and so do you, but if you train yourself to think of this as a fact-gathering mission, a chance to meet people, an opportunity to be exposed to different work cultures, then this can be a blast. You make new contacts outside the newspaper business, and you keep expanding your lost of referrals with each visit you make. I promise, if you do this right, you will be relaxed while doing it and you will be amazed what you find out if you do enough of these.

    Take resumes with you, but give them one only if they ask for it. Do not shove it under their nose without thier asking, or your ruin "the mood."

    You gotta go into these things with confidence, convinced you are eventually going to run into something good. And you will.

    The trick for you, obviously, will be finding time to do so with the demands of your job. It will also mean, for a while, even more time pulled from the family to do this. But it's very important to sit down with your wife and daughter and explain to them what you are doing and why you are pretty sure it will lead to better work hours for you and more time with them. In that respect, it sounds like you have nothing to lose.

    Finally, with no motive on my part to either offend or humor the PC/ACLU types out there, I advise you to stay in daily prayer about this, and ask God to guide your actions and to open the right doors for you.

    I wish you the best.
  8. rgd

    rgd Guest

    How many hours a week do you work? Any chance you can duck out of work for a couple hours on weekdays to go home and have dinner with your wife, if you don't already do that? How about moving to features or news?
  9. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    jebus opened a door for me earlier today.
  10. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Since your wife is making a good salary, you're not suffering for your art the way many do. You sound like your mind is made up. I think if anyone is considering leaving this business, it's because they've already sufficiently persuaded themselves it's no longer practical. I have witnessed/been involved in similar situations and, trust me, this not something that's going to get better.

    The average American changes careers three times during a life span. There's nothing wrong with admitting you've had it and wanting something more fulfilling and less burdensome. At some point you look in the mirror while you're brushing your teeth and say I've had all I can stands, I can't stands no more.
  11. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

    I have a similar issue, though maybe not quite to this degree. But I do work a lot of hours, though my marriage is far from being in trouble. But as a sort of pre-emptive strike (pardon the Bush administration jargon), I've considered going into teaching journalism at the high school/collegiate level. Of course there's additional schooling involved, but the benefits to my current and future family (no kids yet) would be important enough to consider. The best part about this option is that I could sort of stay in the field and do some stringer work on the side to get out my creative juices.

    Just a thought. Maybe this isn't an option for you, though. I too wish you the best of luck.
  12. sprtswrtr10

    sprtswrtr10 Member

    clutchcargo -
    thanks for that very thoughtful note.
    And I will use it, believe me.
    Still, everybody, keep them coming.
    I need ideas, experiences ...

    I will say this guys,
    It's not 70 hours a week, at least not anymore, there was a time, though
    Sometimes it's crazy, but I've become expert at doing more in less time. But the problem remains the hours I do work. Not the amount. Anything I do between dawn and 3 p.m. doesn't affect my family. One is at work and the other at school. it's what I must do between 7 p.m. and midnight. Typically, that is the time I just can not work around and that's also the time the rest of my family has for me.
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