I am 30 years old and I am not working in my chosen profession of journalism. I
am currently working as a paralegal but I still have hopes of becoming a reporter
but I know that is unlikely as more time passes. I married young and never
established the career that I wanted. I am now divorced with two young sons
and I would like to make a fresh start.
I received my degree in journalism in the 90s and I am wondering if it is of any use to
me now. I am afraid that I will never be fulfilled if I don’t have the career that I want.
Do you have any suggestions?
The Career Doctor responds:
I cannot stress enough this point to job-seekers — that you must follow
your passion… and I agree that you may never feel happy if you don’t at
least attempt a career in journalism. Doing something you love changes
your entire outlook about work and I encourage everyone reading this
column to consider if they are truly passionate about their work — and
brainstorm changes if you are not.
As I tell some of my baby-boomer clients it is never too late to change
careers. The rules of journalism have not changed much since your
degree but it’s the lack of experience and not working in the field that
is going to be your biggest hurdle.
You have a few options here.
First get your feet wet by becoming a freelancer. Brainstorm some story ideas
and pitch them to appropriate media outlets and start building your portfolio.
If you live in a community with a weekly newspaper contact them… they
often need freelancers but don’t limit yourself to local media.
Second consider taking a refresher course in journalism at a local college
or university… to sharpen those writing skills that may have dulled over the years.
Third contact one or more of your former journalism professors and seek
out their advice for establishing your journalism career.
And don’t give up easily — follow that dream.
And check out this section of Quintessential Careers for more ideas and job leads:
A Guide to
Writing and Journalism Jobs.