Life is also about more than your career | #5

It has been an eventful week at Channel 4 and I can’t believe I’m already nearly halfway done with my internship. I have had a variety of experiences that keep building week by week and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. This week, I also got published again! Every day, I find more similarities between my experiences at the Michigan Daily and at the station, more things that coincide with what I’ve learned in my Comm classes (especially about the interaction between the Fourth and Fifth Estates!), and most importantly, I am taught more and more about life.

It sounds cliche, but throughout my time at Channel 4 (although only 3 days a week) I’ve been told a number of life stories by reporters and producers. I wanted to reflect on these stories and experiences for this blog post.

Our whole lives, we are thrown into a society focused on our education and careers. In most cases, we are sent to school at least through 12th grade with the expectation that some type of specialized degree will come further. Then, the expectation is that this degree or specialized training will lead to a job, which will lead to a career, which will (supposedly) allow a person to live in a financially stable, and therefore, happy, state.

I agree with this to a certain extent – you certainly cannot live without money and you likely won’t obtain the finances you need and want to live without a job. A job is important – often, people go to it 5 days, 40 hours a week. It is important people consider what they think their careers will be not only for the financial aspects, but also for enjoyment purposes. A job is a job, yes, but you should try to like what you do and want to do it – it’ll make the mundane tasks all worth it!

I’ve had a few other paying jobs aside from this internship, mostly to gain some experience and of course, money. These may have been temporary jobs for me, but there were many adults whose real careers were in that environment. It might not have been something I wanted to do permanently, but someone, somewhere, wanted those jobs, took them and have been at them for longer than I could imagine. I hope those people are happy with their decisions; a job is a job, but it’s important to have some interest in what you do. If not, why do it at all?

However, a job is a job, but a job is not everything. I have been seeing that more and more. Though my mom has taught me to find something I enjoy to do and do it, she also taught me it’s not necessarily all about my 9-5. And those at Channel 4 have reinforced both sentiments.

First, nearly everyone I’ve spoken to has said how much they love their work. Certainly, it can be stressful, and there are days it isn’t perfect – but that goes with any job, not just the news! And every day, people like to walk into the station, get the facts, get the story and make a difference. I’m so happy to see that.

But they’re also people too. Us reporters might not get a lot of sleep, but we do have lives in- and outside the newsroom. These reporters and editors and producers all have families and real lives. They get up and go to work, but they drive home and go to a daughter’s concert or a son’s baseball game. They have friends and they take care of their parents. They make dinner and go camping and travel. These reporters are all good at what they do inside and outside of work.

When I say life is about more than your career, that isn’t to negate the purpose of a job. But, seeing those working at the station being happy with their jobs and having good, productive lives outside of their work – that’s the ultimate dream.

This ties into an obstacle I have faced – how to balance my work life and personal life. Even when I’m having a bad day, I might still have to go into work, so how do I balance this? First, I can see others struggle with this too – just like everyone around me has their own life or family, they also likely have their own battles day by day, no matter how big or how small. I’ve struggled with this while both at the Daily and at Channel 4. Working hard for longer hours than I’m used to in an unfamiliar environment is hard to adjust to. I’ve always said it’s hard to be “on” all the time – it’s hard to always say hello, always branch out and always be willing to step out of the box, especially when I start at 6 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays! However, I’ve been working on this more as I progress through this internship. This isn’t a set obstacle – it will never be fully overcome, but it’s something to work on and try different techniques with. First, though it sounds silly, I always make sure to get enough sleep! Getting at least 6 hours the night before working an early shift makes me feel prepared to start the day in the morning. Second, I always work to say hello – even if someone looks busy or flustered, I try to say hello and ask how their day is going. Third, I always think about how fortunate I am to be doing what I’m doing. No one can be “on” all the time, but when looking at the larger scheme of things, everything ends up okay. A day will never be as bad as it seems at first, and I’m lucky to be where I am.

One thought on “Life is also about more than your career | #5

  • June 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm
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    Alexa, this is such an important sentiment that I feel like is not emphasized enough. Especially in the US, people often ask “what do you do?” when they first meet someone, and in many industries it is common to work even 60+ hours a week. Recognizing this balance is possible and important will definitely help you create that life as you develop in your career. 🙂

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