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 AJR  Features

From AJR,   February/March 2007  issue

Managing Expectations   

By Evelyn Richards & Margaret Steen
      Evelyn Richards (evrichards@aol.com) and Margaret Steen (msteen@newsguy.com) are Mercury News alumni who are freelancing and working in education.     

Based on the experiences of 10 former San Jose Mercury News employees in their first year after leaving the newsroom, here are some tips for those considering a move:

- It takes time to remake yourself, and you may not love your new venture right away. If you don't have something lined up before you leave, expect months, at least, of self-examination and exploration.

- The easiest transitions are to fields where journalistic skills and knowledge of a newsroom are assets, such as communications, research or freelance writing. The public sector is especially welcoming.

- Several aspects of daily newspaper jobs are difficult to replace: the sense of purpose, the instant gratification, the adrenaline rush and the "wow" factor meaning the interest among others in what you do.

- Many jobs offer more predictable hours and fewer working holidays. This can mean more time for family, friends and hobbies.

- If you have a reasonable plan for replacing the lost income and health insurance and some ideas about new careers to explore go for it. A year later you'll be glad you did.