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Those who have left the business - how painful was it?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by wonkintraining, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Because of the state of the industry, as I've noted on at least one other thread, I'm seriously beginning to work on lining up some other options for myself.

    For those who have done so already, what was it like for you? The hard part, I for me, is that for so long my identity has been tied into my journalism career and interest. To leave it behind, while probably practical, seems like it will be one of the most difficult things I ever do, if it comes to that.

    Experiences with the same?
  2. Trouser_Buddah

    Trouser_Buddah Active Member

    I actually left the field for seven months early in 2006. I was tired of the night hours, the crappy pay, my co-worker and I went into finance...

    I returned to journalism in September, this time as a news reporter. Less night hours, slightly better pay at the same newspaper... I personally really missed it, and like you mentioned, lost a part of my identity...I didn't think that would happen.

    Part of my problem was making such a drastic career change...you would probably find better results if you jumped to a related field.
  3. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    I went from newspapers to Web Editor to my current gig as an alumni magazine assitant editor. I know it's the same type of work, but it feels miles away from the newspaper. I work 8-5, the pay is better, and I get a week off between Christmas and New Years.
  4. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I went from editor/writer to human resources and corporate benefits...about as far from one field to the other as it's possible to go.

    Painful? I miss the writing, but I overcame that by beefing up my blog and by doing stringer work for the local rag.

    I miss the smart people, because people in newsrooms, in my experience, tend to be better informed and educated than most of the people with whom I work now. But I try to seek out those with an educated opinion and that makes things OK.

    I don't miss the hours because it's actually nice to get home before dark and not to have to work Saturdays like I did for seven straight years.

    I don't miss the stress because there's plenty of work-related stress here.

    I don't miss the challenges because there's always new ones here.

    The positives beyond that? I have better benefits and pay now than I had in all my newspaper years, and I also get recognized for good work on a more frequent basis. And I don't have to deal with ignorant readers calling up to complain that I listed their son's name as one of the biggest coke dealers in the area.
  5. rallen13

    rallen13 Member

    Sometimes it is easier to be on the fringe than in the middle. That way you avoid the pressure and have all the fun. I was a stringer fot the Houston Post (before it closed), still am for the Houston Chronicle and some smaller area papers. So far I have covered the Astros, texans, Dynamo, Bowl games, boxing, high school fotball, basketball and baseball. All without having to worry about the day to day stress. And I still hold down a regular job in case the sports coverage gets thin.

    The Professor
  6. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    When I saw the thread title, my first reaction was that it didn't bother me at all.

    Then I thought about it. I left on principle, and when I made the decision I cried the first night. I was out of work for awhile.
    I got the job that I have now, and I've been happy ever since. I felt a huge burden lift off my shoulders and I realized that I wasn't happy for a long time -- I just couldn't make the break.
    I lost weight, I'm a lot calmer.

    Honestly though, like someone said before, I feel like I've lost part of my identity. I have a full time job now -- which I never had through my old paper -- but I don't feel like it's a career.
    When asshole I quit over (big boss, not boyfriend), left I started stringing again. I'm mulling over whether I should write a book. I want to, but I just feel like I should be doing something more than unloading trucks and setting up displays.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I have several close friends who have quit the business... For a few of them, it was the best decision they ever made... For some of the others, it kills them because they feel like they didn't "make it" in journalism and they always wonder what would have happened if they stuck it out a few years longer...

    I know there are some cases of people getting their big break after the first decade of their careers, I will say that if you feel like your career hasn't progressed after 10 years or so, you should probably sit down and wonder if this is the right business for you...
  8. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    As someone I worked with at my last paper so artfully phrased it -- the business left me. I didn't leave it. I struggled through 10 months of heat-beating futility, trying to find a gig in a field bent on either hiring kids to pay 30 cents on the dollar or Mizzou's F'ing studs, wondering what I'd do outside of journalism.

    I was a deadline junkie who couldn't imagine doing anything else -- especially sitting in a cubicle. I was very good at what I was doing, winning awards and praise from my bosses and peers, but never able to make that next great leap.

    I got incredibly lucky in my current gig, working in sports with people I knew through covering golf. The hours are better, the pay is incredibly better (not taking into account our annual bonuses, my pay has increased 56 percent since I started nearly four years ago) and I'm actually traveling to places that people can identify on a map. Heck, I've spent time in Maui, Kauai and a beautiful area of northern Michigan -- all for work.

    I still work around a lot of writers, some of whom are very good friends of mine and few of whom are happy. All of them tell me how fortunate I am. And I tell them I miss journalism less and less every day, so much so that I find myself turning down more freelance stuff than I accept. After 17 years of working virtually every Friday night, I really don't have the desire to cover another high school football game. And minor-league baseball? That part of my life's over.

    AlleyAllen, your point about newsroom IQ is dead-on. THAT, I sort of miss, although my agency has some bright people there. And there are times I see things and think "Damn, that'd be a good column."

    But that's the only thing I miss about the biz. My writing jones is satisfied with the occasional freelance piece.

    The key, wonkintraining, is to find something that meshes with your journalism instincts, sort of like what TrouserBuddah said. PR is good, if you're in the right place. Depending on your age and level of expertise, so could teaching part-time at a local college.

    Good luck with that. It's a harder transition that it seems, but it can be navigated without any regrets.
  9. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Hey Big Guy. Nice to see you posting on here.
  10. boots

    boots New Member

  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Deadline junkie... I like that... That definitely describes me...

    Give me six hours or 45 minutes to write the exact same story and I'll do a better job in the shorter time... Obviously, I'm talking about gamers and not something where I could use more time for research or to make calls...
  12. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    I'm still a journalist, but now I'm in radio instead of newspapers. Thank God. I have most weekends and evenings off and can enjoy life like a normal human being.
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