Q: For three years, I have worked in academia. I need to make a career change. I am interested in developing a blog to showcase my writing skills, and to continue to improve my writing skills. I have been told by others that I am a good writer and I enjoy writing quite a bit. I have been journaling for the past 20 years! My lifelong goal is to become a journalist, writer, reporter, etc. I have been told to start a blog. Where do I start?
A: It is a positive experience to come to the realization that your writing skills are strong, and you could use them to shape your career. Journaling for 20 years certainly demonstrates that writing is a skill which you enjoy!
The ideal career, in my opinion, includes several parts – 1. A skill or ability that you are good at. Often times you have been given feedback that this is a talent. Maybe you receive positive comments from a co-worker, colleague or a college professor. 2. A role that will pay you. Most of us need an income to put food on our table. A paycheck, though it may not be the primary driver of a career choice, is often a reality for most of us. 3. Doing something you like as a core part of your job. I would not be a good chemist or a well-regarded accountant. Those careers, though I may have some (limited!) success, are not areas which I would enjoy. Some job hunters also add a “give back” component. In short, they want to make sure that their role or their employer makes the world a better place. It may be having an impact on sustainability or improving the access to health care.
I also think it is important to be realistic. Will you make $100,000 or more as a writer for a small college in the Midwest? Probably not. Some expect to “love” their jobs. I don’t know anyone who loves their job every day, every moment. I have been running a Human Resources consulting firm for 20 plus years. Are there days which are incredibility frustrating? Yes. Are there days which are incredibly rewarding? Absolutely! I think having a realistic perspective on a career choice is important. There may be parts of a role that an employee loves, and they may include tasks, responsibilities, goals, mission or colleagues. What motivates many of us is that there are parts are parts of our roles which play to our strengths, or include tasks which we really enjoy.
Kester Kafeero is a Boston area blogger, and a recent graduate of Bridgewater State University. Kafeero shares that before he started blogging, he had to think about a topic which was of interest to him. He thought about what topics he and his friends talked about. He recommended that you consider what your interests may be and that this is “the first step in starting a blog, which may be interesting to others.” Kafeero blogs about everything from education to racism to anti-Semitism.
Good luck on your anticipated transition to the world of journalism!
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.