Saturday, December 31, 2011

I want my joy back in 2012

When I started this blog a little more than a year ago, I did so with several goals, one of which is reflected in the second half of the title: Seeking joy in change. In the past week, I feel I’ve lost that.

Another goal was that by being completely open and honest about my insights, my feelings, I might help others undergoing similar circumstances by letting them know they are not alone in what they are feeling, experiencing, that this might help them persevere. I’ve held true to this, and some have taken the time to let me know it’s helped. For that I am grateful.

Finally, I wanted to keep on top of my writing and editing skills, and this was one way to do that.

All told, this blog has been far more rewarding than I ever would have anticipated. It has been a wonderful opportunity to write and very gratifying to receive reader comments of encouragement in the process.

At the same time, I’ve watched the page views on this blog soar. In the last two weeks of December 2010, when I started writing, this blog had 869 page views, largely, I think, because of the first post I wrote. The numbers dipped to 453 in January, but there generally has been month-to-month growth ever since. As of this writing, there had been 2,146 page views on this blog for the month of December 2011. It still astounds me that so many people would take the time to look at what I’ve written. Also amazing to me in that regard is that some of you are checking out my blog from the other side of the world — Russia, Germany, the Koreas, India, Pakistan, among many others. I never imagined the musings of a father of five lamenting what is happening to his former colleagues amid the industry’s exciting sea change would garner such attention from so far away.

Yet in the past week, I lost my hold on the joy part.

I let my hopes soar when I should have reined them in as I landed first one interview with a news media company, then a second. I felt fairly shattered when the company filled the position internally, although what they did made every bit of sense. Perhaps my unbridled hope was indicative in part of my growing desperation to get back to work on a full-time basis.

Since then, the joy I have held onto over the course of the past year has been far off in the distance, and I find myself looking at the prospect of saying to hell with the love-hate relationship I’ve had with this career where I’ve often said I was called to serve.

In the coming weeks, I intend to find a job, virtually any job that is close to full time. My family needs income, and part-time work is not cutting it. I intend to hold onto the part-time work I’ve been doing for the past year as a reporter for BocaJump and, as long as they’ll have me, as a freelance copy editor for the northwest suburban sites.

But, in terms of my job search, I am not certain I will waste any more time hoping to return to journalism. I have absolutely no desire to work as a freelancer on a full-time basis, as some do. Over the past year I have gained a renewed respect for those who are able to do so.

Moreover, after this past week, I don’t want to risk the continued pain. I want off the emotional rollercoaster. I want some financial stability and greater certainty for my family.

That’s not to say I would not return to journalism if a full-time opportunity came along. But, for the moment at least, I’m not going to search for that. I don’t want to risk stumbling across something that interests me or excites me deeply only to risk feeling I’ve been kicked in the gut again.

I’ve been passionate about being a journalist for most of my career. Everyone goes through times when they hate even the very job they love — watching round after round of layoffs the past five years especially has been like that. But I still love the work.

One of the problems with passion, however, is the heartache that can accompany it. There has been enough of that this past year, and from time to time I’ve teetered on the brink of despair. I hate that aspect of passion — that something which can be so rewarding and so fulfilling also can be the cause of such great pain.

So for now, a departure from my hope for returning to journalism.

In 2012, I want a job. I don’t really care what it is as long as it does not involve insurance, commissioned sales or anything illegal or immoral. If it makes use of my skills as a writer and editor, that’ll be OK. If it’s cleaning toilets, that’s OK, too.

I’ve had it with heartbreak. I’m not sorry to bid 2011 farewell — I would even say good riddance, except for the good things that came in the past year: the compassion of a former boss who I should have recognized as a friend a long time ago; renewed friendships; new friendships near and far. Those are the good things I take from 2011, and they are by no means insignificant. Right now, they’re merely clouded by my recent disappointment.

But in 2012, I want my joy back.