Let’s face it, folks. Journalists have a somewhat stressful job. If you don’t believe that, try being a journalist for a month. Might find it to be a bit more eye-wrenchingly harder than it looks. Whether you’re calling someone 4 times just to schedule an interview (thats if they even answer you or agree to talk) or typing your butt off on the keyboard like Speedy Gonzalez to meet a deadline, there’s no doubt the journalism industry definitely takes a mental and physical toll. Sometimes a journalist moves so fast to get their stories finished they often forget to take a step back and relax. Now that I have you finally relaxing for a few minutes (admit it, I got you to relax, my job here is done) you can read the 10 reasons why sitting back will benefit in the long run.
1. To avoid over exhaustion
In all honesty, with stories to write and video interviews to edit on Premiere Pro, we are lucky to get even a few hours of sleep. The constant grind and work load gets the better of us sometimes as it causes us difficulty to sit back and take a breath.
2. To avoid getting over-stressed
Over-stressing is typical in an industry where we rely on people to get/or create a story. Even though some days can be more difficult then others (believe me, the combination of meeting deadlines and getting interviews gets the best of us all in one way or another), we need to realize that over-stressing is the never the answer to our problems. If anything, it creates more problems.
3. To have a social life
Listen here, hardworking journalists. We need to get a life…no seriously, we really do. Not having social interaction with the whole world is hard for most of us (I am too focused on my work sometimes to even remember that there are other people in the same room, to be honest). It’s important to realize that being a journalist is not the only thing our lives revolve around. It’s healthy for us to hang out with friends once in a while because it allows us to escape our own reality for a few hours. There’s nothing like having a few laughs with friends on a beautiful summer night. What more can we ask for than that?
4. To focus on personal projects
Look, I know professors have been telling all of us for the last few years that building a portfolio is important. I agree, it’s super important, especially when you are applying to big news organizations like the Toronto Star and CityTV for a job. But with all the assignments to be done, all the interviews to transcribe, its hard to build our online portfolio. Without anything to look, at editors will be more likely to just skim through your cover letter and resume rather then taking a long hard look. Writing stories is important, but having a place to put them is equally important as well.
5. To see the world
Going to different parts of the city and talking to interesting people…that is how stories are born. Do you need me to say more?
6. To spend time with family
Spending time with the people you love is important, especially since we don’t get to see our family often because of the constant work load. It’s hard for any journalist to have a relationship with their family (considering we only really see them on a weekend, or even on some occasions once a month). Even though our lives may get frustrating and complicated, we need to remember that family members don’t live forever. Cherish each moment with them because you never know when it could be their last.
7. You might get sick of it
Imagine writing four feature stories: you finally finish all of them after a gruelling few days of interviews and photo editing, but suddenly you are dropped with another five stories that need to be done in a week. Would you be sick and tired of journalism? To those who say no, I commend your fighting spirit; to others, I wouldn’t blame you one bit. It’s sad hearing stories where journalists quit because of the mountain of work they are required to do (pretty sure everyone has had thoughts of quitting or going into another profession at one time). That’s why taking a step back and relaxing for a few days isn’t such a bad idea. Who knows–maybe taking a step back might bring back that fighting spirit…or maybe you’ll quit. Whatever makes you happy.
8. To maintain a neutral stance
When covering a topic you’re passionate about, it is hard to stay neutral. No matter how hard you try you’ll always have an opinion (hard when journalists are taught to throw their opinions out of the window to tell a unbiased story). There are times when that opinion can be a great in a story and there’s times when it’s not. By taking a step back it helps you as a critical thinker by looking at other points of view rather then just one perspective. Open your mind–it may be useful the next story you write.
9. Your creative juices will come out
Have you ever come up with a great idea for a story just by sitting at home and watching TV? I sure did; that’s how I came up with this article after all (had to be truthful). Sometimes even doing nothing can lead to great story ideas (if you don’t believe me, ask any journalist–you’ll see). Look, I am not saying you have to work on the story, I am just saying that people are more creative when a giant stack of assignments is not waiting for them.
10. Refocus on your goals
More often than not, people tend to lose focus after gruelling hours of work (I am sometimes one of those people). It’s hard to refocus at times because after the interviews, the long hours of writing, and the 2 hours of waiting for someone to get back for an interview, we question if all of this stuff is even worth it. Is it worth it to be a journalist? Being able to take a step back and really think about your goals will help you refocus on the things that need to be done in order to get there. So relax, take a seat, and focus your sights on the dreams you want to accomplish.
What do you like to do on your break from journalism work? Let us know in the comments!