I left teaching to practice journalism
1 weeks ago, 06:03
In an audacious move that startled her family and friends, Lily left her teaching job in 2012 to try her hand at journalism, her childhood dream profession. After a turbulent start, and through intensive mentorship, she was able to settle down in her new career. Today, she is the editor, Parents Magazine.
Lily shares her insights on what it takes to flourish as a writer and in other careers as well.
Is it possible to find satisfaction when one ends up in a job they did not study for?
This is possible when you believe in your ability to learn new things. You must remain teachable at all times. Find a mentor who is willing to navigate the new path with you, preferably an expert in that area. Most importantly, learn by doing. Do not be afraid of stumbling. Naturally, it is through blundering and correcting your mistakes that you develop a skill. Studying a course is not a surety that you will end up working in that profession. What pays your bills now is more important than what you desire to become professionally. Nurture that with diligence.
Are you proud of your decision to change your career path?
Switching from the academia to journalism transformed my life in tremendous ways. Adapting was difficult at first. I found chasing people to share their stories strenuous. Being in this space though has given me a wonderful new perspective in life. I have met inspiring personalities, people I never imagined I would cross paths with. I am happy for making this decision.
Why is it important to have a mentor?
It took a mentor to reshape me into a writer and later an editor. Mr Martin Mwangi, the chief sub editor for Sunday Nation, specifically, held my hand from the moment I stepped into this space. He taught me how to package a story in the most appealing shape by making it short and interesting to read. A mentor is an accountability partner who helps you to stay grounded in your pursuit. They not only guide you through setbacks but also act as the voice of encouragement in the face of turmoil in your career.
How differently would your career have turned out had you ventured out on your own?
It would have taken longer to gain the competency I have without the support of a mentor. Handling uncertainties and anxiety in my new profession would have been frightening. I would probably have long deserted journalism and gone back to teaching. I seek to involve a mentor in every dimension of my life, including seasonal guides depending on my pursuit at that time. I am currently refining my communication skills through mentorship from a communications specialist and manager at a local tech company.
Young people face many setbacks at the start of their careers. What challenges did you encounter and how did you tackle them?
At first, I shuddered at the thought of editing a regional magazine. ...
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