Most days, I stumble out of bed, process the kids for the day ahead and prepare to venture out to the worst job ever. That's right: Worst. Job. Ever.
In case you missed it, CareerCast, a job search site you've probably never heard of, has listed newspaper reporter as the worst job of the year -- for the third straight year.
Advertising sales person was ranked eighth on the worst-jobs list, making for a whole sorry bunch of us down here at the paper.
And you thought your job was bad.
The reason newspaper reporters have worse jobs than loggers, broadcasters, disc jockeys and members of the military? Declining job prospects and unfavorable pay, according to the list.
Pest control workers, retail sales people, taxi drivers and firefighters also have crappy jobs, based on what was certainly exhaustive research. I'm sure all of those jobs have their moments, but none measures up to newspaper reporters.
Now I'm not going to try to sell you on the idea that newspaper reporters have the best jobs ever -- there are days when I regret not becoming a lumberjack. But, much more often, there are days that give me reason to celebrate my chosen profession -- the impact on people's lives, the unpredictable routine, the reaction and appreciation from people in the community and knowing the news before anyone else.
Still, that's only a fraction of what keeps the presses rolling at The Eagle. Everyone, no matter the profession, has their own reasons for loving or loathing the job. So, like a good reporter, I asked around to see what journalists thought of their jobs. Maybe the folks at CareerCast should try it before making their next list.
The responses I got were the same ones I would list as the best parts of the job: talking to interesting people, learning new things all the time, staying informed.
But my favorite response was from Jenny Twitchell, who writes about community events and manages our calendar listings. Here's what she said:
My first assignment ever as a reporter was at a community's Dog Park Day, which featured such events as a contest to see who could kiss their dog the longest, a dog/owner look-a-like contest and a craziest dog trick show. I went to the event feeling embarrassed and defeated. I had just spent the last four years in college thinking that I was going to get a journalism degree that would allow me to ask the tough questions in society and make a real difference in the world. And, here I was watching owners french kiss their dogs.
Things started to change, however, when I started interviewing a veteran who had a dog that helped him with his PTSD. He opened up to me about how his dog can calm him down and bring him back to reality. At the dog/owner look-a-like contest, I could not stop laughing at this old man with a grey beard who had a dog that literally looked like his biological son -- grey beard and all.
At the end of the day, I realized I had a great time. Sure, it was a fluffy feature story, but through the years, I have been able to talk to people about things that are the most important to them, and that is always enjoyable and eye-opening. It has inspired me to find out what I am passionate about. I started paying more attention to what was happening in the Middle East after interviewing a couple who lost their son in Afghanistan. I started studying WWII extensively after interviewing an Auschwitz survivor. I have been able to be a firsthand witness to a lot of people's greatest moments. I've also talked to people about their greatest losses. That human experience of talking to people you barely know, then learning their story and writing about it is never boring.
So, big stories, small stories, all stories are important to somebody, and I love being able to tell them.