Laura and I spent the summer traveling, and when we got back I decided to continue pursuing a career in writing. (My trip renewed, to some extent, my desire to go into academia, though I’ll go into that later).
I enjoy writing and have been told I am good at it (though not necessarily when I’m blogging), so I briefly explored writing opportunities in Utah. Laura, after all, has a job she really likes in American Fork, Utah, so we had an incentive to stay.
After looking around for a while, however, I decided that there just weren’t many opportunities in Utah, either for jobs or simply to make contacts in the field. I met some cool people during my search, and began writing freelance for the Daily Herald, but nothing that had any long-term prospects.
So, by mid fall, Laura and I had decided we needed to go somewhere else. We settled on New York because A) it has seemed great on our previous visits, B) there are many publications there, so even if competition for jobs is much more fierce, at least opportunities sort of exist, which they don’t really in Utah, and C) Jay-Z/Alicia Keys said that big lights would inspire us.
Anyway, after deciding that we’d go to New York I began contacting everyone I knew who lived there. Many people gave me tips and advice, and several good friends spent a lot of time writing emails about how to make a good transition. I also contacted dozens of publications about doing internships, and eventually lined some up.
By mid November, Laura and I had a lot of info on New York. Our plan was that I would move out there in January, and Laura would follow when the school year ended. This plan was actually pretty developed. I had an internship lined up at a daily newspaper called amNewYork, as well as a couple of possible additional internships at Brooklyn papers if I wanted them. I even had a place to stay through January until I found somewhere to live.
Obviously this plan had some disadvantages, the biggest being that Laura and I would only see each other through video chat for about four months. However, it was also going to cost a lot, because I would be basically working for free while living in one of the most expensive cities in the country.
Still, we were going to make it work and I took a temporary job sometime in the fall to save up additional money. (We also went into the austere money-saving mode we were in before our summer trip.)
Then, about a week before Thanksgiving, the Daily Herald contacted me saying that a job was opening up and that I should apply. Before that day had ended, I had been offered the job. It was as a full time reporter in Provo, and was really what I think of as a “grown up” job (i.e. salary, benefits, two weeks vacation, etc.) I’d never actually had a job that wasn’t hourly, so this was serious.
Laura and I discussed the job. We were really excited to move to New York, but a job offer seemed to render more internships unnecessary. Also, my internships weren’t necessarily going to get me jobs, and if they did, those jobs might be anywhere in the country. Plus, my sense is that there are probably at least 100,000 (maybe more) unemployed writers/journalists/whatever in Brooklyn where I was going to be living. I think that eventually I could have beaten those odds, but it would have taken a long time and have been very expensive.
Ultimately, I decided to take the Herald job because, after all, that is what I was working toward all along. I figured that getting a paying job at a paper I like in a place I enjoy is pretty awesome. And while covering news (my beat is courts and cops) isn’t necessarily my long-term goal (I’m shooting for something more in features), it’s pretty cool. I’m also perpetually amazed that I’ve somehow landed a fulltime reporter position without a degree in journalism while the industry is dramatically contracting. I hesitate to say something cliché like “this is a dream come true,” but it’s close. I’m very fortunate (and covering the crime beat is making me more and more aware of just how fortunate I am).
So that’s an update and, for my NYC friends, an explanation. And while we may not come out next month, Laura and I will continue to be looking for ways to get to NYC in the future.