Career choice

When I was in school I wanted to be in advertising; on the creative side to be specific. Somewhere along the line thought I shifted focus to journalism. While I was a journalist I followed up on the idea of starting a blog on gaming industry in India, may be even do it as a full time thing. It’s now dead, I killed it actually. None of these panned out the way I had hoped it to, but the struggle each of these options put me through have helped build by character. (Calvin’s dad was right!).

Now I’m a business analyst who helps people figure out how to implement Salesforce in their companies. It was a drastic shift on the surface, but it has been a very interesting one.

The short version is that with enough dedication you can learn anything. It takes time to gain expertise though. Having people around with expertise and are willing to share it with you will accelerate your acclimatization process.

I’ll write in-depth on the transition later on. I think it might help others that are looking to make such career changes. I don’t see journalists looking beyond careers inn immediate vicinity such as PR, corporate communication, social media marketing etc when they leave the industry. The truth is, skills of journalists can be applied in many industries as long as you’re willing to spend some time and learn how to tweak those skills.

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A Tweetup and My Identity Crisis

I was at the recent tweetup with Shashi Tharoor in Bangalore, and I need to say it was one of the most enjoyable blogger/twitter meets I’ve been to. I wrote about the event in @DNA already, you can read it here and here. So the subject here is not Mr Tharoor who shares his first name with my father, but my identity crisis.

When I’m at one of these tech/social media events I feel like a double agent who is supposed to keep both sides happy. On one hand, I need to write a story about the event or spot a trend which could lead to a story; on the other hand, I’m required be my usual self, tweet-tweet at the event and interact with people I have met and those I have interacted online.

How do I prioritise? Editorji, can I take a day off today and just attend the event as a normal human being? I don’t think I can ever ask that question ever, it’s just not that simple.. never. How would it look if the sports desk takes a day off to watch ManU or Sachin (not cricket)?

Well there I was at the tweetup hearing Tharoor speak… I wrote as fast as I could, please do understand that me, pen and paper don’t get along well these days, thanks to my affair with computer. It took a while to get my hand to coordinate with paper and pen, I tried. I wrote a lot of notes, tried to write every word he spoke (big mistake!) and ended with a tired hand and aching fingers at the end of the day.

Now that’s what I ended up doing, what I really wanted to do was sit back, chill out, smile and join Manu and Nikhil as they cracked PJ after PJ and commented on every question and answer. Sheesh now that sounded nasty, trust me they weren’t nasty in any way. It was just  good humour.

Some say I’m lucky because I get to write about things I’m interested in. Really? Am I? Sure, it’s easier for me, but does that mean it’s good? I’ve heard of coders who code for fun and met a few who hate to code when not at work. I think in journalistic sense I’ll come in the latter category. Can I let my interested remain interests and my work remain my work. Because when both are mixed, at times, it becomes a heady cocktail that ends up giving me a bad hangover.

They say don’t mix business with pleasure, but it’s just the opposite when it comes to journalism and entrepreneurship. Can a film critic watch a movie without having to review it; can a sports correspondent watch cricket and not worry about all the adjectives that needs to be used in the final copy. (I think sports copies use way too many adjectives.. I’m not complaining, makes an interesting read); can a sub-editor read a newspaper without worrying about the typos and the stories missed; and finally can and would a photographer want to take a picture without worrying about perfection? The answer will be no for all these people, because that’s part and parcel of being a journalist, just like the coke ad which said eat cricket, sleep cricket, drink only coca-cola, it’s passion that drives this industry. No passion, no interest, no beat, no news.

I can’t stop writing about things that I write about as of now, because I don’t know what else I’ll write about. Is there a middle path? Any point in following it? I don’t know. But life’s an adventure, if this path doesn’t take me anywhere, I’ll clear the jungle and create a new one. 🙂 In other words it’s not necessary to take the one not taken by others, you can always create your own. Just make sure it’s a 8-lane highway.

Journalism colleges to include shoe-throwing in syllabus

Embarrassed by the inability of journalists to hit a non-moving objects — on multiple occasions now — with a shoe, even from close ranges, International Journalists Assosication have decided to include shoe-throwing as part of the syllabus in all journalism courses. They will instruct all universities to make this change considering the crisis journalists around the world are going through.

Jason Pillai, Secretary of the Association blamed the situation on the lack of exciting stuff for media to report about. “At times journos are forced to pull off such stunts, because the world we live in, is not as exciting as it used to be. There is no Hitler, no more World wars, for god’s sake they even killed Saddam Hussain. The Bin Laden tapes don’t get as many TRPs as it used to –- Pakistan being an exception — and bomb blasts have become as common as price-rise in India. No one gives a damn about those things any longer.”

At this point chupchap was forced to remind him that he was going off the mark and that the actual issue was about this journo who missed the mark at such a short distance. Jason Pillai nodded his head and said that the new subject on Shoe-throwing will be 90% practical and 10% based on written exams. “Journalists will receive training by the respective military – from Taliban and freelance suicide members for journos in NWFP Pakistan. By the need of the course, they should be able to hit the ‘target’ from  range of 50 yards.”

In the written exams they will have questions pertaining to the history of such practice and a five page essay of the founder of the trend among others.

He also said that the association will contact Oxford dictionary to change the spelling of shooed away to shoed away considering the relevance of the latter.

PS: Aw crap, looks like someone already thought about the idea before me! Grrr

PPS: Okay yet another person (also working for DNA) wrote on a similar topic! Two DNA employees wrote on the same topic. Hmm… we do some sole-ful journalism you see! =P
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