If we were having coffee, I’d talk about how changing a career (at least in my chosen profession) seems to be such a challenge. I read a blog post by another former journalist, Conway Fraser, talking about a book written by a different former journalist:
“I just finished reading the Dan Lyons book “Disrupted: My Misadventures In The Start-Up Bubble”. In a nutshell, Lyons is a former journalist who lost his job at 51-years-old and needed a job fast to provide for his family. So, like many former scribes, he jumped on the bandwagon and got into the tech community as a ‘content marketer’ with a company called HubSpot — a company I had heard of but admittedly knew very little about before reading the book. What ensued can politely described as a marriage made in Hell — and a colossal clash of cultures.”
This is a move I’ve looked into, even had a few “career counselors” suggest and encourage me in the direction of content marketing. It still may be something I’ll pursue, but the whole marketing thing doesn’t spark my engine very much. I know it could allow me to continue to write for a living (hopefully), but I don’t know if I’d like it long term. And that’s important to me. I don’t want just a job, I want something that lets me continue my career in a position and with duties and responsibilities I enjoy. Hope that’s not too much to ask…
“Since I successfully left journalism in 2009, quite a few former friends and colleagues in the industry have confided in me about their desire to jump to the world of PR or content marketing. And, they ask me for advice. I always start with the same question: Is journalism truly out of your system? Can you walk away from it with no regrets? If they pause for even a moment, I suggest they rethink. The journalism world is unlike any other, in my opinion — and if you’re still a journalist-at-heart, the ability to transition into the private sector can be seriously impeded. I wrote a whole blog about it called “There Is Life After Journalism”.”
I can’t say with 100 percent truthfulness that journalism is truly out of my system. It’s difficult to let go of something you enjoyed very much – and did very well, IMHO – for quite a few years. I know the industry is hurting, financially and in the public perception areas. Being a reporter, which seemed to be viewed so positively and even romantically in the mid-20th century, is now sometimes vilified. Look no further than public statements by the apparent Republican presidential candidate.
We are now in a time when anyone who can type and get on the internet can distribute “news” and be considered a “reporter” or “journalist.” Trust me, that’s not the same. But again, the industry never seriously pursued something like a certification process other professions offer in order to ensure the product (a news story) was produced by a trained professional.
At any rate, Fraser’s blog post resonated with me and I wanted to share some thoughts.
If we were having coffee, one more thing I’d mention is another freelance writing assignment in the last week, an always welcome event. Not really sure why I’m getting several in a short time (from the same client), but I’m glad to handle whatever is thrown my way. I also attended a networking meetup with other freelancers and came away with a couple good contacts and ideas to pursue. So we’ll see what happens.