How do I get off journalism's sinking ship?
May 6, 2010 5:11 AM Subscribe
Get me out of journalism. Please.
posted by anonymous to work & money (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It seems every year or so I end up posting an anonymous question here on this subject. But I guess that’s what a misguided foray into journalism will do to you.
Like many would-be writers, I thrilled at the idea of having an audience for my essays, and after college I parlayed a successful freelance run at an alt weekly into a staff writer position at another newspaper. I love working as journalist, at least in theory. And I realize how lucky I am to be writing for a living, even if it is a meager one.
But the reality, as has been pointed out so many times on this site, is that journalism is a miserable, demoralizing profession to be in right now. I’m sure you can guess my reasons for wanting a change.
But here’s the thing: every time I try to experiment with some other career, print journalism seems to suck me back in. During a recent layoff, I was volunteering at an elementary school, considering making the leap into a teacher certification program, when I was offered my current job. (Which was good, ‘cuz teaching turned out not to be my thing.)
I love writing. It’s one of the few things that has consistently earned me praise. But I no longer want to bang my head against the wall trying to make a living from it. A freelance article here or there would probably keep me content.
So what should I try?
PR/Communications would be the most obvious transition, but those jobs are super tough to get these days. And I don’t really have the talent/passion for all the new media platforms those professions want to explore. Similarly, other generic writing jobs that I’ve interviewed for always seemed banal, underpaid, and lacking room for advancement.
So I’m thinking of something totally different. Writing need not play a part in my search. My main criteria would be:
2. a job that is in-demand enough that I could find a new position should I choose to relocate
3. something that allows me enough personal time to freelance on the side.
4. at least a bit of intellectual stimulation, probably the biggest thing I’ll miss from journalism
5. no computer science/coding stuff. Tech stuff makes my stomach turn.
Occupational therapy and speech therapy have been suggested to me. And judging from my volunteer experience, these did indeed seem like interesting, low-stress jobs. Plus, there was the added benefit of working with/helping kids without having to endure the difficult lifestyle of the teachers.
I’m okay with the idea of further schooling, provided a degree would funnel me easily into a new career. I am frightened by loans. But I’m still in my late 20s, with no debt aside from about 10k in undergrad loans. And I plan to work another 30 years, so hopefully I’d be able to recover and still retire.
So, specific questions: would it be a bad idea to embark upon a lengthy grad program in a field that I’m not honestly passionate about? What’s the best way to get a taste of some of these therapy fields while I’m still working at the newspaper? What other career paths am I not thinking of?
Perspectives from career changers would be extra appreciated. Throwaway email is firstname.lastname@example.org