My new job rocks, and this is why
Though I started my new position with Dirxion four months ago, I am still asked about what I do when I run into friends. Which is not often, unfortunately, but that is a separate topic. Understandably, they have no clue what I have been up to and I cannot expect them to check my web site since I do not promote it.
Though it is wild when some people think I’m still doing what I was doing a decade ago.
I have endured four very painful layoffs since moving to St. Louis in September of 1997. The result of having jobs I really liked. This includes my childhood dream job of working for The Sporting News, which I did from 1997 to 2001 covering professional and college sports. Thankfully, I have remained committed to working either in digital media or the digital technology field since 1996. This has paid dividends at various intersections throughout my professional existence.
Aside from a recent foray into producing and hosting my own local basketball-themed radio show in St. Louis for a year, my previous full-time position was with Patch.com as Managing Sports Editor. I may have given myself that job title, but it is completely accurate.
I’m used to being overworked and underpaid since that is part of the Journalism deal, but I really committed myself to this job. Wanted my efforts to pay off big. I worked for a full year, going 365 days with no days off or vacation. Logging on at my mom’s on Christmas Day for three hours. I just did not unplug, but it was a cool experience in that I had never fully dived into the high school sports scene. I really loved it. But it was unrelenting managing sports content for 24 web sites. Crazy!
I went from conducting staff meetings, drafting company editorial policy, interviewing future pro athletes and regularly being interviewed on the radio to … unemployed. In a day-time flash. AOL has investors to answer to, and with Patch not (ever) being profitable the move was to discontinue covering local sports, and, really, to stop everything that had any associated cost. Greetings to curated and generic content (polls, reviews, outsourced links), and taking advantage of free bloggers and any user-generated content.
I always take at least three months off after a lay off, and after this post-Patch, post-radio, silent winter period I was contacted about a potential new job with Dirxion through a close friend (now co-worker) when spring arrived.
Paying my own way through college in the mid-90s at Mizzou was not easy, and I took a couple of (legal!) jobs that I did not really enjoy. But, it has been almost 18 years since I dreaded going to a job, so I have been enormously lucky. Big time. And when Dirxion (based in Fenton, MO.) called me, my luck was suddenly perpetuated.
I interviewed, got an offer and accepted. Done deal. Four months later, I love this job, though I am still part time. This allows me to be with my daughter every afternoon after school, and makes our family’s days pretty smooth, so it’s all good. Working nights and weekends is great as well as I have the entire place to myself when I go to work.
My job title is Digital Newspaper Production Engineer. Newspapers and magazines from all over the U.S. send me their print publications and I create e-Editions for them, including iPad and mobile-friendly versions. It is a very technical and challenging position, but one I am proud of for a few primary reasons.
It is definitely a green job, in that we are helping companies cut back and/or remove their print publications and move entirely to the digital realm. Also, most of our clients are small-town publishers and it is awesome to enable them to continue producing their papers, some of which have been around for over a century.
It’s honestly a good thing to do! And still keeps me within the realm of journalism while I hopefully grow with Dirxion’s Newspaper Department, which is relatively new. The company got its start two decades ago by putting catalogs and yellow pages online.
Any opportunity to insulate myself from layoffs is inviting; just today the St. Louis Post-Dispatch layed off 23 employees, mainly from their newsroom. Relying on advertising revenue is death, which is something I plan to always stave off for as long as is realistic.