Warning: This is long and rambling. Not quite a rant though...
This has been a long time coming. This spring my husband was accepted into the physics research program at the University of Washington in Seattle. It's a top notch facility, one of the best in the world for what he wants to do. Thus I happily pick up my life and move it halfway across the country.
Tuesday was my last meeting with county commissioners, and they had planned a surprise for me. They called me to the table, where all the internet microphones are, and talked with me about what I was doing at this next stage in my life. I said I didn't know, but that I followed my husband wherever he goes. He was in the Navy for six years so I am used to it.
They gave me a certificate that they made up. They called it "The Fair and Accurate Reporter Award" and they all signed it. Believe me, I've held their feet to the fire more than a few times, but I always listened to each side of the story. I always made sure my facts were straight and that I corrected mistakes as fast as possible. (For the record, the commissioners are 2 republicans and 1 democrat.)
Today was my last day at work. I have been there for nearly four years. I covered county government and politics. Everyone seems so confident that I am going to get a reporting job somewhere, but I am not so sure. Sometimes I lie awake at night, trembling and afraid that I won't find a reporting job. I know I can revert to something else, but my heart is with a newspaper. With all the cuts and layoffs, I don't know if that will be possible.
So today I brought a box with me, packed it up, and wrote four stories (the most I usually write per day is two, guess I wanted to go out with a bang). I won't have health insurance for a while unless I pay $409 a month just for myself ($852 a month with my husband added on).
Am I supposed to be sad and crying? I've had a good time there, and there is some sadness that I am leaving, but I am happy to move to Seattle but at the same time really freaking scared because I have nothing yet! I have two applications out there to newspapers but so far nothing (I just sent them this week so who knows?).
One paper I applied to in February had more than 200 applications (of those, there were 80 qualified applicants). They called be back and did a phone interview. I was so excited! It felt like I clicked with everyone there. One person had worked for the main paper at the college town where I went to school in South Carolina. Another editor went to the college in the town I grew up in Oregon and another was a freak about multimedia (as am I). We talked for an hour and a half in that interview and I was so sure I was going to get it.
But I didn't. I met the editor in Washington during a recent house hunting trip. He was kind enough to meet the loser applicant (I say this with humor). I asked him how they deliberated and what pushed the other applicant over the edge. He said it was a long, drawn-out process. He said they debated for hours over who to take. Finally the deciding factor came down to experience. The other woman had been to Iraq twice as an embedded reporter. I came in second to that. I can't complain
So long story short, I'm scared that I won't find anything, that the area is entirely too competitive, and that the job market will not allow another decent reporter, despite my skills.
When I get there I am going to schmooze my ass off. I am going to every daily paper within driving distance whose editors will deign to meet with me. I'm going to the MSNBC.com offices to meet them and ask about their market (they have some headquarters in the area I hear). I am going to play with my Web site until I can do nothing else with it (which includes creating a podcast resume).
No matter what happens, I refuse to let this drive a wedge in our marriage. We really enjoy each other's company and I can't imagine being more in love. Eric and I have been married for nearly 10 years. I am aware that changing job situations and money troubles are wedge issues with most couples. I figure as long as I am aware of those problems, it can't happen to us.
No conclusion until I get there I suppose. At this time seven days from now, I'll probably be in Idaho somewhere with all our stuff in the back of a U-Haul.
If anyone has any advice as to a temporary career that won't seem like a total demotion, I am up for hearing it. I feel I can do almost anything, but the job would have to allow me time to freelance to keep my skills up. I am keeping a positive attitude. It's no fun if you're depressed all the time.
Thank you for reading if you have so far. Wish me luck. I'll need it.