Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The worst job on the 2012 list is the best job I've ever had

I recently came across the 2012 list of the best and worst jobs.  It’s no surprise that being a software engineer is the new “it” job. The job rankings were based on the amount of physical labor involved, stress level and income of the job.

Being a lumberjack was rated the worst job. I can understand that. In an environmentally-conscience world, no one likes a guy who chops down trees.

For the first time ever, two media jobs made the Worst Jobs list. Newspaper reporter, and Broadcaster.  

Matt Lauer may not think so. He just renewed his contract on the Today show, for reportedly, $26 million a year.

But I know a few friends who have had to redirect their journalism careers because their job in newspapers and TV news are being replaced by digital media on demand. 

I worked in news broadcast  as a TV producer and reporter for 20-years. The job is definitely not a 9 to 5 gig. My job security was only as good as my last story. The stress level is high and, yes, the income fluctuates like a playground sea-saw. 

The physical labor includes, running, standing for long periods of time in different weather conditions. Sitting for long periods of time, and lots of deadline hyperventilating. 

For the bravest of journalists, dodging bullets and running toward danger is also part of the job description. 

My job now, as an online blogger/journalist, is less stressful.
I get to write about topics I like and, my deadlines are not do-or-die events. The only stress I have now is on my eyes and my shoulders, due to countless hours of reading and being hunched over my laptop. 

Gone are my broadcast TV days of running through endless marbled floor corridors on Capitol Hill in search of sound bites from lawmakers and newsmakers.

Gone are the days of standing around for hours, under a hot sun, damp rain, or cold subzero temperatures waiting for that news-breaking press conference or that “must have” five-second-shot of a famous someone, running from a building, to a waiting car.

I no longer have to hyperventilate, in calm despair, as my video editor works his magic to put together the last visual images of a story that is, literally, seconds from going on air.

I no longer have to fake looking self-composed during a live shot, when only minutes before, I was near vomiting, from the stress of nearly missing my cue. The door to our news van completely slid off, into the middle of the street as I tried to shut it, running back from a “must have” interview, at the State Department.  

Me: Go!
Driver/camera man: Get the door!
Me: Go! We’re not gonna make it!!
Driver/camera man: I gotta get the door!!!
Me: Get the door!!!!!

A Journalism career is not for the faint-hearted. It is a 24/7/365 job.  You have to know what's going on in the world. You have to “get” the interview, become an expert on the spot, and have a lot of, “hurry-up-and wait,” patience. There are no scheduled lunch breaks. An ill-planned bathroom break can mean, no story.

On the more serious side, being a journalist can be life threatening. Those who cover wars, and conflicts, have my deepest admiration. Journalists have lost their lives in their quest to inform the world, They are our silent heroes. On May 4 2012, four journalist were brutally killed in Mexico, for trying to pull the covers off the drug trade that has taken over that country.  
Being a journalist can be a heart-wrenching job that makes you witness to tragedy. It brings you face to face with victims who allow you into their private lives in hopes that you may help them find their missing child or the killer of their son. They allow you to broadcast their loss and grief after a horrific event like 9/11. 

The rewards are also priceless. You get to meet people from all walks of life and find yourself in the middle of history-making moments like; the impeachment of a president, the visit of a pope, and a president’s speech in the Rose Garden of the White House.    

The most meaningful rewards come from knowing that my coverage of a story helped find that missing child.  Or, that it gave a voice to factory workers who were being discriminated against because of their ethnicity.

For me, the rewards are also, the camaraderie, and crazy moments I shared with the people I worked with, while chasing the story. It’s the second family I generated from spending more time in the newsroom than I did at home.

Being a journalist is definitely not one of the easiest jobs to have. But, it's not the worst job either. It’s actually, job number one, on my list.   

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