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Looking for some advice from you guys

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rookie44, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Rookie44

    Rookie44 New Member

    I'll try to make this as short as I can. So I just graduated a couple weeks ago with a journalism degree. I've applied to tons of jobs, but I've mostly been looking at PR and corporate writing positions. I have a couple of interviews and was rejected once already.

    I applied to like, two newspaper jobs, basically because I'm not stupid and I read, and I know what this business is going through. I applied for a sports editor job about an hour away from my parents' house, and just because I think I would loathe working for a newspaper, I had a feeling I would get a callback.

    Well I did, and they are bringing in me and three others for an interview. The thing is, I've been bitching for months about not being able to find a job, and I have a journalism degree and a sports background, and a job at a newspaper is probably the one job I would even consider turning down right now. This particular paper seems pretty stable, they're doing OK, have a nice benefits package, etc. I don't want to sound like a spoiled baby, but I'm just having a lot of trouble taking the leap to consider this business.

    When I majored in it, I honestly knew nothing about the field, I didn't really learn the realities until I had almost graduated. I built up a pretty good resume. Got lots of freelancing at some major metros, won some ACP awards for sports, all that good stuff. In college it was fun because I had nothing to worry about, really.

    Now I'll soon have to start paying back loans, eventually want to have a family, live in a decent apartment, drive a car that works, eat. I don't think I can do all that on 21k. And it's not like I expected to make 40k covering an NFL team out of school, but I realize the odds are that I can bust my ass and never get out of Podunk. And working 60-70 hours a week to stay atop the Podunk girls volleyball team sounds like torture. I read so much about how journalists are being treated like shit. The industry sounds like hell. And I can't help but ask myself if it's worth it, and I have a gut feeling it isn't.

    At times I'm sure it's an exciting job. But part of me really feels like I'm better off chasing the 9-5 office gig, where I'll have enough money to live and enough free time to breathe. It's great to have dreams, but there was a time when I thought I would be in the NFL...sometimes I think it's best to let go of some dreams, no?

    I know you guys can't answer a question like this for me, but any insight is appreciated. In any case, I think it sucks that it's come to this, (not to sound arrogant) that talented and ambitious people are literally running away from doing what they love because it's no longer a feasible living.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Do not take it. Do not even think about taking it. There are some people who still live for this business, and for them, all things are possible. (OK, not all things, but I'm trying to be biblical.) In those cases, it's worth a roll of the dice because they need to know something about themselves.

    But if you are ambivalent about the business to begin with -- and in your case it sounds like ambivalent would be an overly optimistic way of describing your attitude -- it will be the most miserable days/weeks/months of your life. I won't even say years, because you won't make it a year.
  3. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    There's nothing stopping you from trying journalism for a year, at a time in your life when you can afford to do so, literally and figuratively. The 9 to 5 world will still be there in a year if you decide to go that route.

    That said, you're going to make a relatively low salary, work nights and weekends and live every day worried that you could be laid off at any time. Those concerns are not insignificant. Would those concerns outweigh the enjoyment of the job? Answer honestly (your closest friends will give you an honest answer) and you'll have a good idea about what to do.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Why don't you wait and see how you actually do in the interview, and how you -- and the newspaper -- feel after that?

    Getting an interview -- as in, one interview, not multiple ones -- is only half the battle. It doesn't mean you have the job, or a decision to make, yet, anyway. You could interview with them, and they may not want you.
  5. KevinmH9

    KevinmH9 Active Member

    I had a professor tell me some great advice once:

    "If it doesn't feel right, don't do it."
  6. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    There's nothing stopping you from taking the job and going right back to looking for something that you feel better about and may be a little more stable. If you don't have any other job lined up, it might be smart to at least get started in something and keep an eye out for something better. If you have to leave after just a few months, you have to leave.

    It may be a dick move, but I figure publishers and owners have the high score in dick moves these days.
  7. Wenders

    Wenders Active Member

    Seriously, if you don't have another promising situation and you're offered the job, take it. Employment is better than living with your parents right now, you can spend however long you're there building experience and getting clips. Nowhere does it say that the job you're going to take now is going to be the job for the rest of your life.

    It's not fun and you're aware of the harsh realities, but you're young and you can deal with it. It's better to take this now when you are only supporting yourself and you can afford to take professional risks, especially with the economy the way it is, than 10 years down the road.

    Plus, you'll make contacts in this job that might lead to something in public relations. A job that you'll actually be more enthusiastic about.

    I have several friends who just graduated and almost none of them have a job (and none of them are in journalism either). It sounds like you have a foot in the door. Be grateful that you scored an interview.
  8. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    21k is pretty low. No matter how good the benefits package. What does that work out to? Like 10.50 an hour?

    You can probably make that at some local place doing something. Cooking food at a restaurant, working at a Dry Cleaners while writing on the side and living at home.

    My first gig was at a 19k newspaper and I didn't have enough money to furnish my apartment or even fix my car when I needed to.
  9. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    You answered your own question, I think. While it's apparent you have a lot of confidence and talk about 'what they love' in no way does any other part of your letter indicate that you have any desire to be a sports journalist. Having said that, while I appreciate your concerns about quality of life, especially down the road, you're young enough right now to do this, work the hours, drink with your friends when you're not and love the shit out of it. No one says this is a lifetime gig if you happen to get an offer.
  10. alias

    alias New Member

    Normally I would say go for it, try it for a year, and then get out and get on with life. But based on what you've told us, it doesn't sound like your heart is in newspapers, and if that's the case, I would say don't take it. This business will be doubly horrible if you don't have a passion for what you are doing, since it certainly doesn't compensate you enough in terms of money or work-life balance to make up for the demands of the job. It sounds like you're thinking about taking it just to have a job, but it's not like you haven't been getting nibbles from your applications for PR and corporate writing jobs, as you say you've already had a couple interviews. I would say keep trying for those instead, since that sounds like more what you want to do.

    And, as one of the other posters said, no point in worrying about whether you will take the job until after you've been offered the job.
  11. chilidog75

    chilidog75 Member

    This seems like a no-brainer.
    I would imagine a large percentage of this board started their careers with a similar salary, yet most of us were EXCITED to get our feet in the door. Anywhere.
    You, on the other hand, said you felt like you would "loathe working for a newspaper."
    So why even apply? And on top of that, why interview?
    There are many jobs out there that you wouldn't loathe. Take one of them. And leave the newspaper jobs for someone who actually WANTS to be in newspapers.
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    This is the part that jumped out to me. If you could get through an entire journalism degree without being warned that, hey, it's a dying field -- your professors and your school failed you miserably. It's criminal what is going on in J-Schools today if this is allowed to happen. I feel like some of these guys should be arrested for fraud.

    The only other thing I'll add ... My first job out of school, about 10 years ago, paid in the ballpark of 21K. Depending on the cost of living of the area you're going to, and whether or not there is a state income tax, you can live on it. I lived fairly comfortably. I didn't own a boat, but I didn't really want for anything.
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