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When to call it quits?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gator, May 20, 2013.

  1. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    As the bad news and threats of furloughs persist, many things can run through your mind. The first would be: when is it time to go? I love newspapers. I love what I do. But, unfortunately, fewer and fewer people appreciate what we do. The industry is dying a slow death, and there has to be a breaking point. When does that breaking point arrive, though?

    I hear people on here saying the day they left journalism was their greatest day. I'm looking forward to that day, but my biggest fear is that I'll miss it. I have no other passion outside of journalism. I can't envision myself waking up and being excited to go to work like I am the day of a high school Super Bowl, or laying out a great feature story.

    I also know that if/when I go, dozens of people will jump at my job. Will I feel bitter that I left? How much more bad news can someone in this industry take before knowing it's time to go?

    Any thoughts -- from those who have met that breaking point, or those in my same position -- would be appreciated.
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Start looking for another job. Do it today. Do it now.

    It is infinitely easier to find another job when you have one than after the axe comes.

    My biggest regret was that during my last two years in the business that I didn't look for work during that time. I really don't know why I didn't look for work during that time. People like to say, "Oh, you didn't think it would ever happen to you..." I don't think that was the case. Lord knows if I didn't think I was a target, I wouldn't have been sitting awake in bed wondering what I would do if it happened. I think it was a combination of laziness and not having any idea what profession to go into.

    I had to have my hand forced and the result was several very stressful months of being unemployed and going back and forth between freelancing and interviewing for jobs.

    Start looking now. It will be much easier than if you wait.
  3. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    In general, when you start asking yourself if it's time to call it quits, it's time to call it quits.

    I understand your worries because unlike some of the other ex-newspaper types, I don't consider the day I left to be a great day and I do miss it (that's one reason I do so much freelancing -- well, that and the money). But I don't miss the worry, the uncertainty, the feeling that you're on the edge of disaster and looking over your shoulder for the grim reaper all the time.

    I will never work for a newspaper again. Every time I see a listing that looks good and I get tempted to apply, I remind myself of what it feels like to know the end could come at any time and is probably right around the corner -- not to mention pay cuts, furloughs, no raises.

    It isn't worth it.

    Since you asked, my take is the time is now.
  4. SalukiNC

    SalukiNC Member

    This has inspired me to crank up the job search. Thanks!
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    You'll transfer your passions outside of the workplace. I have a job that can generously be termed "boring." But I get it done and move on to the way I want to live the rest of my life: jogging in daylight, coaching my son's team, picking up my daughter at school, and having dinner with different friends just about every weekend. Not enough time for a true volunteer "passion project" yet, but in a couple of years.

    That's how normal people live. It takes awhile to become that normal person who focuses on enjoying the non-work portion of life, but once you switch you will wonder how you ever were that other guy who only cared about work.
  6. formere

    formere New Member

    Agree with all of the above posts. I had the somewhat secure thought "Well, if they decide to lay me off, they'd have to lay off the whole department."

    And that's exactly what they did. You never know what the higher-ups are thinking, even if it's the wrong decision and you then watch everything blow up in their face. Nobody is safe in this business.

    I was able to find something right away, but it doesn't entail everything I want/need (contracting work = no benefits). Still, I'm fortunate. And I found a freelance outlet when I get the writing bug (nice to cash a freelance check instead of writing one out).

    Start applying now, get your clips/resume in order. It's a long road ahead, but also provides better times.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    This. Nobody is ever going to claim that the job I have now is anything close to exciting. But I get to work from home, I walk away after my eight hours and I can go to all of my kids' practices and games, I don't watch my phone during dinner and I have not worked on the weekend the entire time I've been here. I think I had to travel on a Sunday night once, that's it... It's safe to say I won't have to excuse myself on Christmas Day because there's breaking news.

    It might take awhile, but after a couple years away, I don't know how I put up with it as long as I did and I was one of those people who would have happily been a lifer. I can't imagine working that schedule with kids. I'd miss out on so much.
  8. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    If you're in the newspaper business and you're not looking to get out, you're either near retirement or not paying attention.

    Heed the advice of those saying now is the time. If you're not happy with your current work situation and/or career path, don't wait around thinking things are going to get better. The industry's future very apparent. The warning lights are flashing, the siren is blaring.

    Every person I know who has left the newspaper business of their own choice has ended up in a better situation. Without fear of contradiction, I'll say it again: Every person. Better paycheck, better hours, better equipment, better conditions ... just better. That alone should speak volumes.

    And, as has been noted, it's easier to get a job when you have a job. So if you're even thinking of leaving the newspaper business, act on it now. Figure out where you want to land next, make contacts, assemble your portfolio and grow your skill set while you still have the benefit of a paycheck. It's infinitely harder to do that when you're not on a payroll or having to spend your waking hours working at a grocery store to cover the rent while waiting for the right thing to come along.

    Good luck.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'm not sure I completely agree. If you're a veteran and you've done well, you can find another job, but there's a good chance you're going to have to move across the country to start another branch of uncertainty. If you have a family, that's probably not a great choice, but I understand that there are plenty of people who feel like they have no options.
  10. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    If you're asking and thinking about it, it's time to start looking and get gone.

    Reformed Hack is right about this: Every person I know who left on their own terms is better off. They may have struggled a bit or they may have sailed from one thing to another without much of a hitch. But the ones who left on their own terms, they're better off.

    Good luck.
  11. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    But a qualification needs to be made here, I believe. I would guess that it's likely that most of those people were not in the best of situations when they were looking to leave. That's important.

    What I mean is, it's easier to "end up in a better situation" if your current situation has you working 50+ hours a week for mid $30Ks. Almost anything short of retail is better than that.

    It's not as easy to end up in a better situation if you are working 40 hours a week, with five weeks' vacation, making $74K with good benefits. Walking away from that, despite the precarious future of the business, is not quite the no-brainer. And many veterans in this business --- still a good decade or more away from retirement --- are in that position.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    $74K isn't that much in the non-journalism world. Grant writing and a lot of PR jobs pay at least that.

    And nobody in those journalism jobs you're talking about is working 40 hours a week anymore. It's 60, or 80, or more. Plus constantly being on-call and answering emails/texts on the phone even when you are off.
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