You make crap for cash. Your achievements are barely noticed. Your company's idea of encouragement is not firing you. The last time you spent more than twenty good minutes with your kids or significant other was two weeks ago, give or take a month. Sound familiar? A former journalist who's now a professor at Indiana's Ball State University has turned your career malaise and the occasional desire you have to slap your editor really hard into a full-blown research study on journalist burnout. He draws his conclusions based on responses from newspaper staff nationwide. Also on something called a motivation-hygiene theory, which makes us giggle a little. What does the Ivory Tower think about how you're doing? Well, in a study whose main indicators are exhaustion and cynicism, probably not much. Who's the most miserable among your colleagues? How long will you last? If you promise not to kill yourself, then by all means, investigate the post-jump details.
- Newsroom stressors? "Meeting newspaper deadlines, pressure to produce good work, low pay, media competition, long hours, implementing new technology, and conflict between work and family." Seriously? Seriously.
- If you're under 35, you're more stressed out than the old-timer down the hall. By "old-timer," we mean anyone over 35.
- "It's incredibly stressful trying to write well all the time," said one of the 20-something respondents quoted in the study. Girl, do what we do and just settle for being horribly flawed. Way less hassle.
- 62% of you are pretty damn sure your decision to be a journalist might have been a great big ginormous mistake.
- You're unmotivated, disillusioned and disappointed. Also "tired of being stuck indoors." I do like to think sunlight misses me as much as I miss sunlight.
- Photogs are happiest, copy editors unhappiest. Shutter-happy open-air freaks.
- To reiterate: please don't kill yourself, we cannot have that. It would be hard to blame you. But please don't! Suicide is not cool.
"While journalists might continue to forge forward despite workload, deadlines and salary issues, they will not stand by as the foundation of journalism crumbles beneath them. At that point, they will quit," the study concludes. Hey! Anyone want to start a rock band or a truffle farm with me? Clips not required.