5 takeaways from How To Future-Proof Your Career

Chelsea Cirruzzo, (@chelseacirruzzo), a volunteer with the ONA Resource Team, compiled these key moments from the ONA20 session on Oct. 14, 2020. To view a recording of the session, register for on-demand access to the ONA20 archive. Session participants included:

5 key takeaways:

  1. There are three ways to get support within the journalism industry: Through allies, mentorship, and sponsors. Allies are people who are in the same stage of career as you are, who you can go to for advice and support. They tend to go through the hard times and growth alongside you. Mentors are the people who you can also go to advice and support, but sponsors are your advocates. Sponsors are people who can advocate for you and will go out of their way to recommend you for jobs, speaking opportunities, etc.
  2. How to get a mentor or sponsor: Go to people for advice and tell them where you want your career to go. Build organic, real relationships with people, tell them what you aspire to do, and have real conversations with them about your future.
  3. Lift up other people. Fillion mentioned Shine Theory, which is helping someone else be their best self. If you can’t help a mentor, pay their kindness and help forward. Don’t be jealous of other people or self-hate because of how you perceive their career. Think of ways you can be genuinely happy for them. If someone is doing well, lift them up. The industry is too small and moves too quickly. Avoid going to networking events and having transactional conversations, like seeking out people who you think can help you in your career and having superficial conversations with them. Have authentic conversations.
  4. No career is certain nowadays, but pathways in and out of journalism can be unique. It’s okay to leave legacy publications or to leave journalism and come back. There are so many ways to the end goal. When you’re ready to make your leap to a new job, ask yourself if you’ve stopped learning (and also be seeking out new opportunities to learn). A pay cut for a new job is worth it if it includes your quality of life, so ask yourself what kind of life you want to have. It’s okay to leave toxic workplaces if you know the situation isn’t good for you.
  5. Moving to freelance from a staff job can be a great way to pivot your career and try out a new area that you want to work in.  If you have a working freelance relationship with a company, it can also help you suss out if a workplace is where you want to be in a full-time role.

Memorable/tweetable quotes:

  • “The most important relationship you can have at work is a sponsor, someone who can speak on your behalf.” —Rubina Fillion
  • “One of the most toxic things you can do in yourself is indulge is professional jealousy.” —Rubina Fillion
  • “There’s enough room for us all in journalism.” —Meena Thiruvengadam
  • Meena Thiruvengadam on when it’s time to leave: “If you wake up dreading going to work, that’s really problematic. There are situations that aren’t going to be good for you.”