At times over the last few years, it has seemed I’ve been stuck in place, even living a personal nightmare of sorts.
But I’ve finally managed to dig myself out and get headed in what I hope will be a positive professional direction once again. Some — maybe even a lot of — people may not think it’s a bright move to be a reporter or journalist these days, but it’s still what I aspire to be after all my years at a couple of newspapers.
I will be working for The Colorado Statesman, a weekly political publication that has been around since the late 1890s and a very well respected political source in the state.
Nowadays, you don’t know what to expect in the news business, with buyouts, layoffs and staff reductions seemingly every day. This one may be an exception, as they seem to have a good niche and, I’m told, growing subscription base. And they do the kind of stories that drew nearly every reporter to the business: the ones about those in power and public office and how their actions and decisions shape our daily lives.
I’d gotten away from those types of stories, for the most part, in the last several years. And I didn’t miss them. I like telling “people” stories, the ones about everyday folks doing things to help others or overcoming obstacles and barriers.
But there’s always a need for someone to keep an eye on the ones who hold the purse strings to our tax money, who decide what’s built where in your community and how your neighborhood schools operate. So I’m looking forward to doing that kind of “more serious” reporting.
Yet perhaps the main thing I’m going to enjoy is beating the job search system. If you’ve been in the same boat the last few years, you know what I mean. It’s all about connections nowadays, not how well you can do the job. That’s what got me stuck and led to sleepless nights in recent years. No one would give me a chance to show what I could do, they only wanted to hear me try to sell myself as a product and how I could make them more money.
Most people, in my mind, just want a decent life. They want to be at a place where their hard work is appreciated, and not just monetarily. That happened for me with the Statesman. I had a chance to write a few stories as a freelancer and the publisher thought enough of what I produced to offer me this full-time gig.
Imagine that, actually showing what I could do instead of sitting in front of a hiring manager or human resources director, after studying for hours all the “right” answers to all the questions I could be asked. Then never getting those questions. The system is broke, if you ask me. It doesn’t value abilities and skills, just personal, subjective judgement done after a short, usually one-time, meeting.
So I’m going to enjoy myself again, do things I like to do and that are valued. And, maybe now and then, thumb my proverbial nose at the job-search system that makes life miserable for so many people. If you’re in that boat, hang in there. Hopefully, you can find an opportunity to actually show your talents and skills instead of only selling yourself as a product, not a human being.