A change of scenery

I published this post on Facebook, but I thought that in the interest of full transparency, I’ll publish it on my blog as well.

I’m about to talk about my job situation. I’ve kept this from many of my friends and family over the past two years. Many people don’t even know that my job has changed since 2020. But perhaps now is the time to come clean and be transparent about what happened so that I can come to terms with it and move on with my life.

In the tail end of 2020, I was offered an opportunity to transfer from Engadget over to Yahoo’s yet-to-be-created Central Commerce Team. My job, as I understood it, was to create commerce content for across multiple teams at Yahoo. You know, deals, buying guides, that sort of thing.

I have nothing against this sort of content, and I don’t mind doing it, but it’s really not where my heart is. I would rather be a journalist and a reporter. But, it was made clear to me (not explicitly, but implicitly) that if I did not take this job offer, I would likely be at risk for layoffs. After all, 2020 was a terrible year for media revenue and layoffs were happening all over the industry.

I wrestled with this decision for weeks, but ultimately decided that I would rather have an income and a salary than risk unemployment, even if the job is unsavory. After all, I figure, I could probably take the time to job search and find something I truly want rather than settle for something that will pay the bills.

So I accepted the offer. The Central team was created, but did not have a leader for literally months. At the same time, Engadget still allowed me to write the occasional news post for them along with only a few commerce things, so I was still happy. Plus I was still Senior Editor on the masthead.

At the same time, I did do the occasional job search, and while there were a few interesting prospects that made it past the application stage — one with the WSJ and a couple of others with Apple — none of them panned out.

Then in 2021, an acquisition happened. We all know what happens with acquisitions. A reorg. Now I was no longer under this nebulous Central team idea which never even really came together, I was just under Yahoo’s main Shopping team. Suddenly, my whole job changed. I could no longer write Engadget news posts. I had to do really in-your-face commerce stories, with ad sales speak and exclamation points. On top of that, I had to write deals and guides nearly every day, often with a tight deadline. Again, nothing at all against people who do this and love this. But it is not for me.

I struggled. I struggled a lot. I missed deadlines and just lost my bearings. I became very depressed. Unsurprisingly, my performance review was terrible. I became even more depressed. I tried to get better, but my heart just wasn’t in it. There was a point in 2022 where I felt so terrible, I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to die.

It was at this low point that I told my manager that I was having suicidal thoughts and that I had to take some time off. Something must have shifted then, because she seemed very understanding. She seems to know how unhappy I am. So not only did I take the time off, my workload also went down substantially. I also had the freedom to work when I wanted, and I could do my own weekly kitchen deals column if i wanted. It’s still not at all what I want, but it’s better than the hell it was before.

Now, you might be wondering to yourself, if the job is so dire, why didn’t I quit. You have to understand, I do not have the discipline and the temerity to go freelance. We have a mortgage, and I have bills, and I can’t just go weeks without income. I need a job, and a well-paying job at that. So I just stuck with it.

Since then, I’ve applied to a few jobs here and there, but I was faced with disappointment after disappointment. I don’t have enough experience. I don’t have the right kind of experience. I have too much experience. My salary requirement is too high. Some job queries made it past the recruiter stage, but none of them panned out.

At some point, I just lost hope. After all, the current job I have is not too bad. It’s okay. I don’t like it, but it pays well and it gives me a good amount of free time. That should be enough.

However, I still feel a lot of shame talking about what I do for a living. Whenever someone would ask me this, I would mumble something like “I write stuff for the internet” and change the topic. Because I don’t want to be known as a person I’m not. Yes, I’m a Commerce Writer technically. But only in job title. Not in my heart. Not in my soul. It’s not what I want to be known as.

On top of that, I miss working for Engadget so much that I have continued letting people think that I still do. I don’t think, however, there’s any way at all that I can go back.

So there you have it. That’s what’s been happening with me. It’s why I’ve been having mental health struggles for the past two years. I know it’s usually taboo to talk about work, but it’s such a huge part of my life and I just needed it out there. I need all of this to not be a secret any more. I need to air out all of this laundry.

Also: If you know anyone who’s hiring, I am a journalist with 17 years of experience in the tech industry. I know how to write news and reviews. I can write about consumer electronics, social media, Silicon Valley and climate change. I can write breaking news articles with speed and clarity. I can research and write in-depth features. I’m incredibly hardworking and tenacious. I might not know everything but I am a fast learner. I am expensive, but I am worth every dime. I might falter at times. But I can also be very, very good at what I do.

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