I have been a journalist since, well, I was a freshman in high school. Many, many, many moons ago.
I wrote for the high school paper, and I wrote for the community paper before I graduated. A few years passed, then I worked for my college paper before being taken on as a freelancer at the local major daily newspaper. Six months later, I was brought on as a part-timer. Six months later I became a full-timer.
It was a fun job. I loved going to work. In fact, I couldn’t wait to go to sleep at night so I could get to work as fast as I could the next day. That lasted from 1997 until 2007.
Then things started falling apart.
Bonuses were starting to dwindle. Pay raises were fewer and farther between. We had less and less peripherals to work with (laptops, wifi, .., anything.)
And then, just yesterday, I realized there was a “support group” for us journalists who were committed to our craft, but weren’t rewarded for our efforts. I found so many felllow “journos” accross the country were in the same position. We were asked to do more. We were paid less, and the work envirionment was more tense.
Another thing I realized was that these same fellow journalists left the business, and went off on their own. Some became professors. Some became freelancers. Hell, one even became a truck driver.
But the end result was the same: They were all happier for it.
I left the daily journalism stint last month after 17 1/2 years at the same local paper I missed my children’s birthday parties for. The same job that I didn’t celebrate anniversaries. The same job I didn’t finish my college degree for. I gave a lot to my former job, but it didn’t give enough back.
I left. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happy. I’m happy because I’ll work for myself and mine. Not for someone who will be looking to make a buck from my work.
If I misspelled words, I apologize. I stopped worrying about that.