Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The news never sleeps, but reporters should.

The average American apparently works a day of overtime a week, and we all live and die by our smartphones.

This will inevitably by great for sites like Lifehacker, who will find some way for you to be more efficient in your day, to hopefully not work overtime.

But, things are different for newsmakers. We can’t just shut off e-mail. What if a building burns down? People will expect it on Twitter right away. On the site very soon after. On the air/in the paper the next day.

Work-life balance is pretty shitty for most journalists. I have friends who I worry about — their diets close to vending machine only, fueled by caffeine and adrenaline, they work until 2 am on that scoop for tomorrow, then tweet about it all the next day. 

We are not a healthy breed.

There are too few of us, covering too big of towns/beats/arenas. 

I’d love work-life balance. I don’t take my laptop home anymore, but still, I work most nights until 7, and wake up at 8, spending an hour with my email and reading the news before I get in. I have whittled my personal hygiene routine in the morning to about 20 minutes. My friends either get that they must schedule time in between networking happy hours, late night project write ups, conferences and other work related obligations. Most of my friends are workaholics in other industries — marketing, entertainment, consumer web sites — places that also have erratic schedules. 

I try to actually take vacation for things other than weddings. 

When do we break? Are we human, or journalist? 

I really do want to know. I have no solution to this. At all. It’s been a personal struggle for years. Let’s discuss.