Thursday, June 04, 2009
The actual date might be foggy, but I remember almost five years ago at the UNITY journalism convention in a conference room in Washington, D.C., Stephen A. Smith gave me a pretty solid piece of advice that has stuck with me from then to now. When I asked him how to deflect suggestions that I try an area of journalism other than sports reporting (coming from different professors at Delaware State University), he stopped me short and said "Follow your heart, because anything else is just a job."
And as I sit here at home this morning, sighing and not looking forward to another day in my current position, those words came back to me again when we decided to look back on our three-year journey. I thought about how once upon a time, this was all I wanted to do. I thought about how cool it would be to work in an actual newsroom with other journalists and editors. I thought about the absolute privilege of watching sporting events for free and getting paid to write about what I saw. Amazingly, current circumstances have shown me that those things are not enough for me anymore.
I've known it for a while, I've just tried to ignore it, but each day, I find myself saying it to anyone that asks; "I'm on my way to work." Work. An honorable four-letter word in most cases, but in my eyes, it's become pretty dirty. This business has stopped being fun for me, and it has become what Stephen A. told me to avoid: A job. I doubt I'll ever lose my love for the written word because truthfully it saved me from things I'm not even going to touch on in this entry, so that will always be a part of me. However, as far as what the future holds, I'm not sure journalism is a part of it.
Everyday, you hear about journalists, good/great/solid/whatever, losing their jobs because of a seriously staggered economy and a top-heavy management system that was an epic failure from the get-go. They say those at smaller papers (myself, for example) are safe and should be happy to be employed, as one superior has been clear to point out to me and me alone several times.
Everyone dreams of climbing the ladder of success, but for me, I don't even see a footstool. Not from where I am currently. And it hurts. I never thought that at closing in on 28, I'd be looking at a career crossroads, especially since I've only been out of school for two years. However, that is exactly where I am. Grad school is one option, but it would probably be for something totally different. Or I could fight it out and try to find another sports reporting gig...economic woes notwithstanding.
What it really boils down to is happiness. And for me, that's everything, something I've been fighting to obtain personally and professionally for well over a decade now. Truthfully? I'm not happy here. Not in my current position, not where I live, nothing. And that's certainly not the way I want to live my life. I don't want to say my decision's already been made, but a change is coming soon. Whatever way I decide to go, I'll make the best of my decision, live with it and have no regrets. Either way, I've made some great friends and had some great experiences, and I'm certainly grateful for all this business has given me. However, I'm not sure if I have the energy to give back to it. continue...