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Dreamjobs

Feb28

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Hey Amy,
I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and though I check your site a bunch of times each day, I usually don’t comment. This is the first time I’ve emailed you, too. Hey, I’m sorta shy! But I’m hoping you can give me a little advice, although not of the beauty product variety (even though I loves me some Smackdown).
Here’s the deal. I’m due with my first baby (a boy! with a penis and everything!) in late May. I’m thrilled, but I’m also terrified. The big reason is because of my job. I’m a reporter and news anchor for a TV station, and my job monopolizes my life. I make great money, but I have no clue how I am going to juggle a baby and this job. It’s hard enough to keep it together when I am only worrying about myself.
Anyway, I know you ended up making some changes and doing freelancing to allow you to stay home with Noah. I’m trying to figure out how I might be able to do something similar. I am a journalist, I’m a good writer, and prior to my TV jobs I worked as an editor and writer for a small publishing company, so I guess I have some decent credentials. I just have no clue about where to start!
I’m hoping you might be able to offer a little advice on where to look for jobs and how to jumpstart this new venture. Ideally I’d love to freelance or do some kind of telecommuting, but this is all new to me. Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!
Kelly


(Hey! Remember when I used to give advice and stuff? About things other than beauty products? Yeah, me neither. But I am tired of talking about pores and eyebrows.)

Trying to come up with general advice about freelancing is a tough one, since the path to freelancing is going to be pretty different for everybody, even in similar fields — it’s not as simple as answering one of those random GOTZ COMPUTUR? WORK FROM HOME MAKE MAD DOLLAZ signs on the side of the road. Although…that’s a good place for the advice to start…
TIPS FOR FREELANCING
BY AMY CORBETT STORCH, MASTER FREELANCER

TIP #1: Do not respond to random signs on the side of the road offering you mad dollaz for working from home. They be teh scamz.
The very best place to start is with your current job. I kind of screwed this one up, since I bent over backwards trying to get a full block of freelancing jobs lined up before talking to my boss about my growing dissatisfaction at work. It was only after I gave notice did I realize they would have been a lot more flexible than I gave them credit for — I probably could have gotten my hours bumped down to part time or worked from home two days a week if I’d just ASKED instead of assuming that wasn’t an option. It still worked out, however, and I was able to stay on as a contractor for a few months and ease the transition while my other writing gigs ramped up.
It’s in your job’s best interest to keep you on in some capacity. They’ve made an investment in your training and career path, and unless they secretly think you suck and are waiting for an excuse to get rid of you, they’ll probably welcome a chance to make you happy and keep you from quitting outright.
If your current job doesn’t have anything part time to offer, then start working backwards through your resume. Crack open the Rolodex. Email your old jobs and bosses and coworkers. It sounds like you’ve got some good experience behind you, and the journalism field is pretty much run by freelancers. I know there are big online databases and such for freelance writing and editing jobs, but chasing down random assignments is tough, time consuming and demoralizing. Your absolute best bet is to seek work from people you know and people you’ve already proven your worth to. Then cross your fingers and hope for the freelancer snowball effect: one job leads to another, and as your portfolio grows, the next job will be just a little easier to land.
The only other advice I can give is trite and tired — but true. Be HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR CAPACITY TO WORK FROM HOME. This is NOT A FREAKING VACATION. Especially while caring for a newborn. Or a baby. And then, oh God, a toddler. That’s a full-time job right there, and spreading yourself too thin with too many writing gigs will drive you crazy. I’m still working out the kinks myself. Sometimes I feel like the stuff I’m producing for work is total half-assed crap, and the fact that I spent my time writing that crap instead of taking my son to storytime at the library makes me feel like I’m half-assing motherhood.
I had a part-time babysitter come in a few times a week last summer, and while it was terrifically helpful, once my contracting gig with my old job was up, I simply couldn’t afford to continue that. Recently I was offered some additional work and was faced with a conundrum: do I take these jobs and find a nanny, thus pretty much forking over the majority of the money I’d make from them…or do I stay content with my current line-up of assignments, sacrifice the additional exposure but remain the primary caregiver to Noah who has time for Gymboree and playdates?
For me, it was an easy decision, but I bet six months ago I would have pushed myself too hard and taken the additional work.
That said, if you can afford part-time help with childcare, DO IT. At least in the beginning when you’re likely to feel pretty lost and shaken by the huge change you’ve made.
Anyway, I’ve gone wildly off-track here, but I wanted to get all my thoughts out before Noah wakes up from his nap. Talk to your current job. Utilize the connections you’ve worked hard to make in your career to help launch you into the next stage of it. And be sure to look at freelancing from all the angles — it’s very ebb and flow, no benefits and ack! taxes! and can easily monopolize your life just as easily as a regular job. The commute’s a lot better though.
And so is the view.
IMG_6966.JPG

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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4 Responses to “Dreamjobs”

  1. Virginia Gal Feb 28 at 10:09 am Reply Reply

    One of my local AM TV anchors, Kerry Furey (WAVY dot com)is pregnant. Stephanie Harris and Lori Crouch with the same station are also mothers. Stephanie is one of the evening anchors (I think), and Lori is a field reporter. They may have some good advice for you on what has worked for them (or not) to continue working in television and being a mother. At least on TV they seem approchable, I don’t know how they are in “real life.” I believe all three are married or have a significant other, which is probably part of how they are able to continue.

  2. Allknowingjen Feb 28 at 12:25 pm Reply Reply

    Just wanted to also reccomend http://www.bluesuitmom.com- lots of articles and advice about going part-time or flex-time and how to balance the whole work/mom thing. It’s not the prettiest site, but good info.

  3. heels Mar 01 at 12:17 pm Reply Reply

    As a mom to a toddler who has been working full time since he was 8 weeks old (wah!), I’d also like to point out that you will be AMAZED at how much time you have been “wasting” as a non-mom. I never thought I could get it all done, but with the switch in priorities, I’m not sure what I did with all of my time before I had him.

  4. Lizzie B. Mar 03 at 2:59 pm Reply Reply

    Hi there. Just wanted to chime in on a topic I can totally relate to. I am a tv news anchor/reporter from San Francisco, California. I anchored the Early Morning news after the birth of my daughter and was a total wreck. I decided to resign when my daughter was 6-months old. I spent a few months being a full time mom and then decided I wanted to do some freelance work. It was a pretty trying time bc I was alslo battling post-partum depression. Long story short, I’m happy doing freelance tv work here and there and working on a cool tv internet project. But I did learn a lot along the way.
    I know the tv news industry is highly demanding and pretty crazy. But try talking to management about easing back into work after the birth of your child. Truth is, until you are a “mom” you’ll have no idea how you feel about working or staying home. I think preserving your job while being a new mom is a great way to test the waters.
    If you’re convinced that you won’t return to to work and want to freelance – the reality is… it’s tough. You are your own boss. And if you’re working from home – you’ll need to set up an office and make sure you get time to yourself to work.
    I guess what I’d like to impart on you most is that whatever route you go down won’t be easy in the beginning. BUT after a few long, hard months you’ll get into a groove.
    I could go on and on about this topic but don’t want to bore everyone. If you want to talk in greater detail – please just e-mail me or give me a call.
    Good Luck!

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