Q: I'm in a complicated situation, so I'll try to be as clear as possible!
Currently, I am working as a reporter for a small daily in California. It is my first job out of college and I've been here for just over a year. As you can assume, I don't make a lot of money, about $28,000 a year. In California, that's nothing. My husband is a full-time college student and part-time worker, so making ends meet is very hard. Often times, we have to borrow money from my parents, which kills me every time.
A relative just offered me an opportunity to work as an assistant at her organization for $70,000 a year. The position is more administrative, and pretty much the complete opposite of what I'm doing now. I want to take this position to balance our financial situation for a couple years, then when my husband graduates, go back into journalism.
I'm afraid that taking this position will taint my resume (which is full of nothing but journalism experience), and that getting back into journalism will be incredibly hard.
Am I being naïve? I just want to be able to support my family.
Thank you for your help!
A: I sympathize.
You are not being naïve at all. You are in a very real predicament and the rescue that your relative is offering will provide huge relief but it may, indeed, take you out of journalism permanently. That salary is a great one!
Three years down the road, if you try to return to journalism, you likely would face a pay cut that you could not afford. If we suppose your husband's income would make up for the drop, you'll be interviewing with editors who will wonder why you left in the first place and who may doubt that you would be happy working at half your former wage.
There is the possibility, too, that during the intervening years, you will advance at this new company into a job that you like even more and that pays you even better. That might not be so bad.
I cannot advise you on your personal circumstances or your finances. I can only tell you that a return to journalism could be quite difficult. It sounds as though you really love your work. If that is so, I'd look for something in between, such as another form of journalism that will give you a good raise, but that will neither take you out or price you out.
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