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Wife and Kids question for all

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fredrick, Sep 12, 2009.


How many of you with a wife and kids now wish you'd never gotten into newspapers?

  1. Me

    31 vote(s)
  2. I'm happy as hell I'm a Journalist

    28 vote(s)
  1. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Just wondered how many of you ... if you knew then what you know now ... would have still gotten into Journalism. Some people getting fired, getting another job, moving their family and getting laid off again? Horror stories all over about not being able to spend any time with the kids.
    Is this career as bad for married individuals with kids as I think it is?
    Tell me and tell all those who are thinking of getting married and having a family.
  2. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Aside from the financials:
    It's not a traditional lifestyle. But, you and your spouse, need to know that going in.
    If you can get past missing a barbecue or a party and if you and spouse are independent thinkers, it can work.
  3. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    That's a very tough question because everyone's situation is different, but I'd say it's no easier or harder to sustain a long-term relationship in the communication industry than in most occupations.

    I can't really answer the "children" question because we weren't fortunate to be blessed with any, but I'm certain that colleagues who do find a way to make time in their lives for them.

    I'll be 51 in two weeks, and I've lived at least one year in 23 different cities in six states. I've worked for 10 radio stations, four newspapers and two Internet sports sites. Believe me, this has always been a business in which you rarely settle down for any length of time in one place. It was that way in 1979 and remains the same in 2009.

    The key is finding a mate who understands the business and your role in it -- not just, "he's a sportswriter/news director" but really gets the hours, the stress, the finances, the nomadic nature of the business. To me, the best fit would be someone who is independent, can adapt to changes and isn't afraid of starting over in a new place. And be honest and upfront from the get-go. This can be a hard life.

    In some cases, people marry within the business to achieve that harmony. In my case, I married a girl who matched my personality.

    I've been married since 1987 to someone I've known since junior high, but didn't date until I moved back to California after college. The daughter of a U.S. Public Health Service doctor, her family -- much like mine -- moved several times before we met. And since we've been married, we've lived in Florida, California, North Carolina and Georgia, and visited all 50 states. There are boxes in the basement I sent to our Vacaville apartment from Florida in 1987 that still have never been unpacked.

    She's very much an independent soul. She hiked around Europe by herself for eight weeks in 1984. She made a solo cross-country trip through Canada and the western U.S. one year later. She put herself through college. She and I made a long-distance relationship (Sacramento-Melbourne, Fla.) work for nearly two years.

    It does help in a way that she's a sports fan. She's the only four-time winner of our fantasy football league -- she drafted Rodney Hampton and Emmitt Smith in consecutive years, then traded for Dan Marino ... and promptly won 90 percent of her games over the next three seasons. She's probably a bigger Detroit Tigers fan than I. At parties, she gravitates towards conversation concerning sports, and usually has to curb the urge to correct some misguided male who thinks he knows what he's talking about. When I couldn't go to the Indy 500 in 1994 because of work, she drove herself the 15 hours from Raleigh to see Little Al's victory.

    But the cool thing is she's not at all caught up in the perceived "glamour" of this job -- as if that's ever been the case. The phone will ring here at the cabin and she'll say, "It's Darrell Waltrip. Are you free, or do you need him to call you back?" like it's the next-door neighbor. But that's how I stay centered and grounded. She gets that this is a job, just like selling cars or insurance. I just happen to chat with famous people for a living and sit in press boxes and media centers.

    Over the years, hundreds of people have said how they'd give anything to do my job, and Gwen and I usually glance at each other knowingly -- as we both think of the 75-hour workweeks as a one-man news staff or the 43 consecutive days I worked putting out the paper as a two-man sports department, the all-nighters for high school tabs and elections and earthquakes and fires, the 3:30 a.m. wake-up alarm when I worked morning drive radio for 14 years, getting home about that same time after putting out the paper for the next 10. She even came into the office one night to take Little League calls when I was short-staffed.

    She is fully aware that this has been a hard road, but an intensely satisfying one at times. And now we're at a spot in our lives where things have settled down, we live in a community where we've begun to put down roots and feel somewhat at home.

    It's a nice reward for 22 years of marriage.
  4. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Maumann, that was an incredible read. Thanx.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Travel killed me after I had kids...
  6. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    I'm not sure I could pull a 9 to 5 job after 30 years of doing this, but there are many days when I think I might like it.
  7. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Your wife, my kids.

    Wait, wrong question.
  8. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I'd have said yes 9 months ago, when I didn't have a job. Now I have a new job fir a web site and I love it.

    Anyway, I do miss out on a lot of stuff but I'm also around for a lot of other stuff I wouldn't be with a traditional job. When it's my offseason, I'm at home. Even during the season, I'm home a lot during the day for stuff I'd miss with a 9-to-5 job.

    There are pluses and minuses to everything. I can't imagine having a "Dilbert job."
  9. Boomer

    Boomer New Member

    Well written Maumann and exactly right. As the wife in this kind of life, I can testify to that. You have to be an independent spirit or it just won't work. In his hockey days, Rod traveled on Sunday and came home Friday evening. I had Saturday to turn his clothes around and get him ready for Sunday again. And that was in the 80's when USAToday sent real reporters all over the place. In the 90's and early 21st Century, when Rod's travel budget shrank to zero, it was still 12 - 14 hour days. And would still be if he hadn't gotten sick. There is one consolation here and that is that on Rod's disability program, which Gannett cannot legally modify ever, unless it goes out of business...which I admit is entirely possible...but for now, Rod will never be laid off until he retires and he'll never make it to retirement. He's dying, but he still has a job. Ain't that amazin'?
  10. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    My wife and I were both in newspapers. I got out because in part we couldn't both deal with the salaries, or the hours, or the reality that at any moment, a publisher could decide you're too expensive and let you go (or, for that matter, dealing with the possibility that your job might be made difficult-to-impossible by management decisions).
  11. Mitch E.

    Mitch E. Member

    Working in journalism means I work nights, which means I get to spend the most incredible amounts of time with my children. (They aren't in school yet). The time I got to spend with my daughter, while my wife worked days, was fantastic. Now that my wife works from home I get to spend more time with the family than I could ever spend if I was working 9-5.

    Pay sucks, benefits are going in the crapper, but it would be tough for me to leave what I am doing now. Once they both go to school, my opinion may change. I have also been fortunate to have worked at only one paper, which has not yet decided that my services are no longer needed.
  12. brettwatson

    brettwatson Active Member

    I've found it to be a very good fit and I have a wife and a couple of kids.

    Wife has been supportive through a couple of moves. Good pay, benefits over the years has afforded us a very nice quality of life. Can't think of anythinig else I'd rather be doing.
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