Every once in awhile, I try to imagine what else I could do for a living besides work at a newspaper. It's not that I don't like working at a newspaper. I do. But it isn't exactly a healthy industry, and the caliber of talent is suffering as a result.
My most recent alternative profession? Hospice work. I actually think I would be good at this. I really sympathize with people who are dealing with death, and I could draw upon some of my own experiences to help other people in similar situations.
But when I mentioned my alternative career as a hospice worker, a friend of mine scoffed. "Hospice isn't exactly a high paying field," she said. Well, that's true. But how much worse could it be than newspapers? And hospice isn't exactly going anywhere. There are always going to be dying people, and grieving families. Whereas newspapers are dying a slow death.
Which makes me think I should create a new field, called Newspaper Hospice, where hospice workers counsel and comfort reporters devastated by closure, buyouts and layoffs. Much like traditional hospice work, I think I would be good at this. I sympathize with journalists working at struggling papers (i.e., all of them), and I could draw upon some of my own experiences, such as my brief tenure at the Birmingham Post-Herald, a newspaper that no longer exists, to help other people in similar situations.
So, yeah, newspaper hospice. It might sound crazy, but I think it's a growth industry.