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So what's life at square one like?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dixiehack, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    For all the people who like kicking others when they're down and pointing out stupid mistakes, this is your all-you-can-eat buffet.

    I thought I had left the journalism business for good this summer. I had my business degree, I'd moved back to my wife's home turf, and I was ready to take on the world at a job that would let me have a family life on nights and weekends.

    Didn't happen. I looked and looked and looked for work. I networked, went to professional meetings, spent days and nights on the interwebs, dived into the classifieds. You name it, I tried it.

    Finally, just before Labor Day, I thought I caught a break. A non-profit in the area was looking for a PR flack. And even though it was advertised as an internship, paying all of $24k a year, I was willing to pay dues. Bad, bad move. The crazy harpy woman who founded and runs the place didn't want a professional. She has controlled every single aspect of what goes on for 29 years, and she wasn't going to change, everything she said in the interview process be damned. Even though I was obstensibly hired to try new things and come up with fresh ideas, she hated every single one of them.

    I could deal with that for a while, because frankly I needed the coin. But the one line I couldn't cross for her was honesty. On more than one occasion, she expected me to lie for her. I'm not talking about gloss things over, put on a happy spin. I'm talking about flat make shit up that we both knew good and well was untrue. I tapped danced around the issue as long as I could, all while trying to find something else, anything else to do. But I wasn't a good enough dancer. Got fired about two weeks ago, which makes me part of a crowded club, I've since found out.

    So now I have no job, and a firing to blot my resume. I've never had any past employer say anything but wonderful things about me, but now my reputation is shot to shit. Just today I got a rejection e-mail from an interview that went dead-solid perfect last week. I had tried to warn them gently that I did not leave on great terms, but I'd bet my dwindling supply of dollars that one call to Crazy Boss Lady did me in.

    Considering I sucked before at breaking away from journalism, and my prospects are decidely worse now, I've contemplated going back to the world I at least understand. There's a nearby weekly newspaper that will pay fry cook wages for a general assignment reporter, and a 7k-daily about 60 miles up the road looking for a sports flack. These are tiny papers, but I never did manage to get above the 20k-circulation orbit anyway. At 31, I know I'm not going to land in some dream gig, and I accept that. What I don't know is if I'll be happy kicking around the penny-shopper circuit, or if I'm going to just be a bitter cancer. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to be a nights-n-weekends slave, and I hate that for my wife and son. I just don't know if it is realistic to accept any better at this point.

    Thanks for allowing me to spread my good cheer.
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    If you can Quark and take photos and like to cover really good local sports, my position is opening up soon when I move over to the news side.

    Oh, and stay strong for your wife and kid. Happy Thanksgiving, and everything's going to be OK.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Dixie.

    I guess the truth really does set you free.

    This will work out for the best for you, I bet.
  4. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    how about business writing now that you have an MBA?
  5. Babs

    Babs Member

    Seriously, that's a good idea. No one in business can write, surely your dual skills would be useful. Look into jobs for a Web Copyrighter. You'd be writing spiel for the company website. That can't be too terrible a gig.
  6. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    That's the problem with going into another field; you're automatically back at square one, which your thread title indicates.

    This is precisely why many more people need to start fighting the bullshit in the journalism world before it really is too late. As long as the fucktard execs know you'll just walk away, they'll keep doing the same shit.

    Which they will anyway, but at least they'll know they have some resistance.

    And to the repetitive, blathering fucking idiots who will just reply: "That's the way it is in every field." -- Get a new line already.
  7. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    Dixie, first, my sympathy. It sucks being jobless, especially this time of year.

    Now, the good news. Plenty of people in this business have been fired. I was once. The paper took me back about 18 months later and I worked there for several years.

    The key is to be up-front about the firing. I'm sure you mentioned it in your interview, but you should be ready to counter any concerns a potential employer has. Talk about what your duties were, how you handled them and that your view of PR didn't mesh with your boss'. Don't badmouth her--the interviewer will get the idea. Be sure you give the hiring company plenty of your good references to call.

    Most of all, don't think your new career is over. You will overcome this. And don't go back to newspapers, at least on a permanent basis. If you have to do it for rent money, go ahead, but keep plugging at the business jobs. You will get one.

    Good luck.
  8. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I feel for ya, man. I decided to leave the business about five years ago, but after six months of not even sniffing a new job, I returned to newspapers. Now, about every year, I get the urge to try something different. But, as DP pointed out, I just don't wanna start over in my mid-30s. Then again, I'm often just going through the motions these days for a job I find less than fulfilling.

    Then again, if you put my professional situation up against my personal situation, my career wins by a landslide.

    Anyway, good luck, DH.
  9. Yeah, I agree being fired doesn't mean the end to anything good. Some jobs just don't work out. It'll sting like a breakup and it might put you back a bit in the short run, but it can't stop you from moving on if you don't let it. Granted, I'm not mid-career, but getting fired twice during jobs while in school didn't hold me back one bit for my first "real" job out of college.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    hack - for what it's worth, here's my advice: either move and take a job elsewhere or take a job at the small daily. if you choose plan B, wait 8 months, and start looking for "your type of work" again with new, better references under your belt.

    it may sound silly, but it's always easier to find a job when you have one than when you don't.

    good luck.
  11. Babs

    Babs Member

    Just wanted to add that I got fired once too and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It got me away from a job I was unhappy with and led me to one that suits me better (and pays better). It also caused me to pursue a hobby more seriously which has paid off in a multitude of ways.
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    if its any consolation, I'm still formally jobless 14 months after my paper closed. Even tho I'm doing a buttload of freelance stuff, I am 0-for-applications, tho one place that didnt hire me gave me plenty of work.

    As for the firing, simply avoid putting it on your resume. You werent there that long and you avoid a poor reference (why did you list her anyway??) When asked why the gap in the hiring history, tell em your wife made enough money in the move that, other than some odd work, you were able to devote your time and energy into working around your new home and settling into the new area for you...
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