On journalism and its place in my life

I’ve been putting off writing this, but I know it deserves some attention. I’ve been putting it off because it’s not easy to write.

The last few weeks have been difficult for me. I’ve been job searching and house hunting*, and for awhile I was really discouraged.

At its core, I love my job at the paper. I love creating a print product each day, and I take pride in my work. I enjoy being a part of a field I believe in.
But there are negatives I’ve found impossible to ignore, negatives I’ve found impossible to make work with the life I envision for myself. Working until 8, 9 or 10 pm leaves little to no time for my family – both the family I’m trying to build (please don’t make up stories of babies or anything here – dogs and cats are plenty, thankyouverymuch) and the family members I’d like to have more contact with than via facebook. Working most holidays (except the rare times it just happens to work out in my favor) and EVERY Sunday doesn’t help, either. I’ve missed more family events than acceptable. And tomorrow (er, today? Friday, so we’re clear), I’m missing my nieces’ second birthday… because of work. Too far, journalism. Too far.

And so I’m leaving. Like I mentioned above, I’ve been job hunting. More accurately though, I’ve been stalking one job in particular. I’m not going to discuss details of the job here (because they hired me!), but the second I saw the advertisement, I knew it was The Job. Now, The Job is slightly different than it was when I initially saw the opening, but I still feel like it’s The Job. Aside from a pay raise and holidays off, the biggest benefit by far of the new gig will be the time. Time for family, time for friends, time for dinner and time for a life.

It’s going to be tough, I’m sure (or at the very least, weird) to leave journalism behind. It’s all I really know, after all. I don’t know what I’m going to do with afternoons and evenings off every.day. (laundry? dishes? SLEEP? The possibilities are endless!) I don’t know how I’ll function not using InDesign every day, either. Or hearing the police scanner. Or cussing at will in the office.

I’m going to miss my coworkers, too, though some of them may not believe that. Despite my complaints about my work life, I will miss it.

But I’ll adjust. Journalism has never been my calling. Sure, I picked up AP style fairly quickly (and may be like AP nazi of the newsroom) and enjoy the layout aspect of it, but journalism at its heart? Reporting? Not my thing. It’s been my major, my job, but never my passion. And I think to survive in that world, it has to be your passion.

(Or you have to be an alcoholic.)

(Kidding.)

(Kind of.)

I’ll adjust. I’ll learn to wake up in the MORNING (my work day will start at roughly 7 am) and go to sleep at a decent hour and I might even eat more than once a day.

I’m sure I’ll still need my Mountain Dew, though.

I start my new job January 4. My last full day at the paper is December 30.

Sigh.

* More on the house hunting part later.