Unfortunately, many people are stuck going to a job they don’t love. Many people are stuck in lines of work and careers they don’t enjoy, and dread waking up in the morning and heading to work. I was in this boat for quite some time, but I felt as though I couldn’t make a career change.
To be honest, I don’t really know. Part of me was afraid of making a change and another part of me was comfortable with my already established career and routine.
Once I took a chance, I found myself surrounded by a new-found sense of happiness and content that I hadn’t felt in quite some time.
For quite some time, I considered myself a job hopper. I would work odd jobs to earn extra cash, which included mulching my neighbour’s yard, working in landscaping, and painting my uncle’s fence.
My “main job” so-to-speak was writing freelance biographies for professionals; not full-length, tens-of-thousands of word biographies, but shorter, more creative biographies for websites such as LinkedIn.
I found myself in a rut; continually conversing with clients about their lives and professional ambitions, but I never felt like I was doing something that truly satisfied me.
Yes, it was nice to see the “final product,” as in the professionals’ biographies on LinkedIn and other professional websites, but I didn’t feel as though I was doing something for me.
On a whim, and because of the urging of my father, I decided to apply to a local newspaper called The Daily Iowan. The newspaper itself had been around for over 100 years and was staffed by over 100 journalists, producers, and editors.
I was intimidated, yes, but I was also excited by the prospect of working in journalism. Reporting on the day-to-day activities of the town, politicians, and university policymakers excited me, but I had never written for a newspaper before.
Nevertheless, I applied, and later that evening, received a phone call from the news editor saying The Daily Iowan was interested in hiring me.
I walked into the newsroom for the first time and was taken aback by the level of professionalism and due diligence in reporting the facts and nothing less.
I was finally surrounded by a group of like-minded individuals who had a passion for the news, and reporting on stories of great importance, such as debates about minimum wage, and more heartwarming stories such as the most recent developments at the children’s hospital.
I walked over to the news desk, where I was to be assigned to, and learned the basics of reporting from my soon-to-be editor, Anis. She gave me a “crash course” in journalistic writing, and assigned me a story. Not just a filler story, one that would be on the front page of the paper in two days.
That gave me around 48 hours to learn the basics of journalistic writing, as well as contact sources for the story, which would be about the incoming marching band season (and the beginning of football season as well.)
Eventually, I submitted the draft of my story and it took quite some time for my editors to get it “publishable.” Despite my initial trepidation, calls to my parents crying and saying I couldn’t do it, and nervously reaching out to sources, I made it and I actually had an article published in a real newspaper.
From that moment forward, I found myself deep within the annals of the newsroom, patiently or frantically writing numerous stories, every single day.
Whether it was about the city council or sustainability, activism or local government, I enjoyed contacting sources, transposing audio recordings, and writing short, concise 500-550 word stories. I also fell in love with the team of people I was working with.
It was so fascinating to see everyone’s journalistic and personal interests; what they reported on and what we talked about while we were waiting for sources to call us back.
Sometimes, we would have late nights in the newsroom while we were waiting for the rough draft of the paper to print. We would all sit around a table, illuminated by the fluorescent light, talking about our lives and what had gotten us to that point.
All of this transpired around two years ago – since then, I’ve worked at The Daily Iowan in various positions, from reporter up the “food chain” to the editor. I’ve loved every minute of it, even though the job does have its ups and downs.
I often reflect on that initial moment of going outside my comfort zone and picking up the phone to apply for a job I didn’t know anything about, and all that phone call has brought me since.
Although it can be very, very intimidating and challenging to approach or switch careers, once you venture outside of your anxieties, you will find yourself surrounded by a new-found sense of happiness as I have.
If you do decide to opt for a career change, and you’re unsure what you want a career you would like to do instead of your current one, then you should try checking out local job boards for some inspiration, or go online and look at job reviews, or company reviews.
You should figure out what it is you really dislike about your job, after all, it might not be the workload that you dread, it might be your team, your boss, or the company you work for (or a combination). This way, you can seek to avoid these things whilst looking for your career change.
Perhaps you should also chat to your family and friends, they might help you realise your goals, have some contacts that can help you on your way, or find that one opportunity that is perfect for you.