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Where do you go?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Harry Doyle, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    I'm sure countless threads have addressed this over time, but this is something I've been struggling with. When you decide to get out of journalism, where do you go? Law school? Ugh. If you're young enough, maybe. PR? SID? Advertising?

    A friend recently left newspapers to blog for a government agency. It's basically just PR but he's getting 60k a year (no wonder the government is broke). He loves it, but I'm just not sure I could do it. I mean, once I decide to leave journalism I think I'd have to maintain a good distance from it. I don't think I could be an SID, feeding info (or block access to it) to people doing a job that I'd rather be doing. When I decide to leave journalism, I feel like it will have to be a clean cut. Hovering around the fringes won't do anything for my state of being.

    What are people's thoughts? If you really want a career shift, what do you do and where do you go to do it?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    My only question is why would someone not decide to get out of journalism?

    Unless you completely want to switch fields, communications, PR, technical writing, sports information, maybe management jobs are closely aligned.
  3. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    For me it's that, minus one summer working at a motel to support myself during an unpaid internship in college, the only jobs I've ever had have been as a sports writer. That comfort has a very strong pull.
  4. spud

    spud Member

    Teaching? They say those who can't do, teach. In this climate I'm not entirely sure that's the case anymore. Maybe just those of us who don't want to do anymore.
  5. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    I do both ... sportswriting and teaching (subbing).

    I've been in and out of the business twice in my career. Both times, I missed it terribly. I was out for about two years the first time, and just over a month the last time. Most recently, I made the worst career move ever and got into an alternative certification teaching program, got thrown to the wolves in an inner-city school and abandoned after a little over a month.

    Luckily, I got back in quickly after drawing unemployment for about three weeks.

    It was a long few months away, though: Friday nights at 7 would roll around, and I'd think to myself, "Shouldn't I be at a game?"

    I'm probably a lifer in the business, as long as it's still around. I've got three kids and 11 more years of child support, so I make sacrifices, mainly giving up any semblance of a life and working two or three jobs.

    But I've learned that this job is me. It's not just what I do, it's who I am. I'm one of the proverbial ink-stained wretches with ink running through my veins. I can't imagine doing anything else. They'll have to drag me away kicking and screaming the next time.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Not to judge, because I certainly don't know you, but ... it's really not.

    And I sincerely hope you don't have to find that out "kicking and screaming" before you're ready. Because I can assure you, your employers don't feel the same way. No employer does.

    Your job is your job, and if you're lucky, your career for as long as you want it to be. It's not you. You're better than that. Believe that.

    Too many people on this site have learned that lesson, sadly.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I've got to echo what Buck said. I've fallen in love with a job before, only to learn that the love was unrequited.

    Here's my thoughts about career change:


    I've changed careers several time -- Wall Street, Politics, Sports Marketing -- and this is the happiest I've been.
  8. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    I began teaching -- via alternative certification -- three years ago, and have had a great experience. There are quite a few ex-journos who are now in the classroom. However, my experience is a bit different than sportsguydave's, in part because I landed at a suburban school. A school would much rather pay a 30 or 35-year-old with 0 years' experience than pay a dimple-faced 22-year-old right out of college ... although there are some principals (and teachers) who frown on alternative certification, claiming it cheapens their credentials. However, I've had a great experience. Given the union contracts, age isn't a factor -- they're not going to hire the young kid because they can get them cheaper. They can get you just as cheap and you have more life experience.

    PR is a natural, but the corporate world is shedding people much like the journalism world is right now. However, the advent of the new media means corporations are trying to circumvent the traditional media and use the Net & Facebook & Twitter & texting to get the word out directly to customers in a manner they can control (the MLB.com strategy). There might be a market there.
  9. agateguy

    agateguy Member

    Buckweaver, I totally agree with everything you said.

    Our jobs influence our entire lives, not just how we earn our living, but when we work, when we play, and when and how we socialize. You can't put your entire self into your job and career, especially those we make our living in, and especially given the uncertainty of many of those jobs being there in a few years.

    You can't put your soul into your job and make it "who I am." It will let you down hard in the most unforgiving manner.

    There are much better things to live for.
  10. MrBSquared

    MrBSquared Member

    Got out after 25 years ... a lot of them good, a lot of them spent busting my a** because I loved what I was doing.

    But, I can count on one hand the number of bosses I had who really gave a damn about the content, the profession, AND who recognized sports writing for the art it is and respected it for the talent and commitment it takes to do it right.

    (Why do the idiots always end up running papers? Is it, I dunno, kinda the snipe-hunt distraction to occupy the time of the incredibly incompetent?)

    Moved up the ladder. Landed a job as ME at a paper where the first micro-managing Cyborg was still trying to crush the human spirit. Decided I had enough.

    Landed a gig working in the Comm office for a large city -- got lucky to do it -- and I appreciate the break, the hard work done here and the chance to have a life (no weekends, no holidays, very few late nights). It's not easy, because newspaper deadlines and government deadlines are, well, light-years apart to say the least, and there is no "sausage"' at the end of the day that allows you to point at something and say, "Hey -- I did that."

    But, it is better than worrying about your job security every day, worrying about some numb-nuts forcing you out the door (even though they are spectacularly underqualified to run anything), worrying that some car dealer will get a bug up their buns and pull an ad (and, thus, ruin the financial security of an unsuspecting copy editor), or watching standards and practices refined by decades and decades of time and sacrifice pissed away because JoJo the Dancing Idiot wants to play publisher <i>AND</i> editor.

    Where do you go? There are companies that need publishing talent, writing talent, editing talent and design talent for in-house publications and marketing/PR products. Check city Web sites for Comm job openings, especially if you have any proven Web skills. I had two friends in the biz go that route, and after posting my stuff on Monster I got inundated (and still do) with the kind of corporate desktop publishing positions that are out there.

    Some pay very well, some pay pretty well, some pay fresh-out-of-college mediocre. But they are out there, especially if you have Web skills and are willing to relocate.

    But, go while you can. And know that there will be times when you are dying to run back. There will be times when missing it will be a physical thing, an actual ache.

    Don't worry. It fades ... and pretty soon your life takes the place of your job as the focus of every day. And that's a good thing.
  11. well said, Mr. B
  12. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    That sounds pretty familiar, Harry. If/when I bail on newspapers, my plan is to go back to school and get into teaching science, something for which I have a passion -- not as much as writing, but hopefully still enough to get me out of bed every day.

    The odds would seem to dictate most of us will have to jump ship at some point. I'm not ashamed to say I'm in no hurry to make that move.
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