14 years a hack

This week marks my 14 years of experience as a journalist. It wasn’t an intentional career path. I just applied for a reporter job at a local paper, got an interview, agreed to a trial week and was then offered the job at the end of it.

This was never the plan though. I planned to just do the trial week, take the £200 they were paying me, then that would be the end of that. I’d be back working in warehouses the following week and would then figure out something else. I never expected to be offered the job, so had to pretend that it was exactly what I wanted to do. My editor was a little surprised by my initial indifference.

For me, this was normal. But I soon learnt that journalism is really hard to break into. People pay a lot of money to take a course to become equipped with the necessary skills. In fact, my two reporter colleagues at the time relocated 100+ miles specifically to do the job they’d trained for. Not me, I just applied and got it unintentionally.

It has certainly been an interesting 14 years. And at times, it’s been horrendous. But I don’t regret applying for that job ad. Those harsh lessons I had drilled into me are still with me, as is the shorthand. And I’ve done pretty well out of it.

I worked for a national newspaper for a couple of years – admittedly alongside working in a call centre. Then, again unintentionally, I became manager of a web editors team for a multinational publisher.

Journalism has taken me on free trips to Norway and Finland. It allowed me to relocate to Manchester. It also kept the money coming in when I left my job to go travelling and during a global pandemic, before pulling me back into full-time work again in October last year.

Not bad from a job ad that I thought I’d never even get an interview.

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