Re: You can reinvent yourself
That was great advice, Jim.
Madhu hit the nail on the head when she said we got into journalism because we are passionate people who care about the world around us. That's why I cringe when people suggest I pursue a career in PR or do freelance copyediting with Guru.com. The reason I loved journalism was because I'm an idealist. I felt passionate about what I did. I felt that, in a way, the stories I told, the inequities I exposed, the issues I shed light on helped make the world a better place. It's going to be tough to find a replacement for that.
It's nice to see that I'm using my free time in the right way -- brushing up on my foreign languages, writing the great American novel, getting more involved with my church, spending more time with my family, doing some renovations around the house and pursuing my favorite hobbies. Maybe I'll get through this with my sanity intact after all.
I just came on your site through a response posted to a blog from Steven A. Smith, "Still a Newspaper Man," on Poynter Online. I was cheered, well perhaps that's not the best term to describe my feelings, maybe heartened, to find that I am in good, although sadly large, company in being rudely, ungraciously kicked to the curb. My former employer offered us all, from 10 year employees to 40 year plus employees, a two-week severance package but only on the condition that we don't tell anyone how crappy we think it is.
I, and some of my other colleages, thought selling our civil rights to a work place free of discrimination, or selling our right to write letters to the editor to comment on the paper's direction or tone for two weeks pay was, in a word, cheap.
So it was with relief that I bookmarked jiltedjournalist.com to add to my regular haunts on the 'Net.
In just the few short weeks I've been unemployed, I've come fast to the same realization I saw echoed on your pages - my future won't be in journalism, at least not journalism as I've known it. First, I'm in a one-newspaper town and I don't want to move (imagine being middle-age, with family all in town and not want to leave them and friends of long standing and go somewhere else completely foreign? No sense of adventure, that's me and all the more reason to kick me out of the newsroom in favor of 20-somethings who have less than five years experience together and don't have the institutional knowledge that provides depth and context to a story. Who needs it? After all, we are writing for the young people, right? They are all reading newspapers, right?)
Even if I wanted to continue to work in newspapers, as an experienced reporter (read: older), I am the poster child for the type of job being cut (read: higher paid).
As hurt as I am, I can see this as an opportunity to stretch, grow new skills and contribute to my community in different and challenging ways. I'm freer to be more opinionated and advocate for changes and causes I believe in than when I was an objective reporter.
I'm also scared but I believe the skills I have honed over nearly 20 years of reporting on public education, police, fire, municipal governments, business and real estate will earn me a place at the table because I have a lot to offer.
I look forward to getting tips from the jiltedjournalist and hope I can add my own insights, both time tested and newly learned.
Beverly A. Carroll
Jilted Journalists provides industry news, tips, personal finance information and a forum for journalists and others losing jobs in the news and newspaper industry.
Jilted Journalists welcomes print, online, broadcast reporters, editors, photographers, bloggers, designers, ad salespeople, circulation folks, press operators, TV camera people, continuity directors, techs, producers, business office staff and all the others who once were fooled into thinking they not only had good careers and job security but decent 401(k) and pension plans that would last into their retirement years.
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