Here’s the deal. You don’t want to leave the paper. You love newspapers. You love your job. When you’re at a dinner party, and someone asks what you do, you say something cool like, “I cover government affairs for the Morning News,” or whatever. I get that. Important people give you a knowing nod. Relatives beam with pride. Young ladies seem impressed, because what they hear is, “I’m a writer, and I’m working on a novel that, if you play your cards right, will include a character loosely based on you.” Plus, you feel like, in some small way, you make the world a better place. All that is a given, it’s true, it’s understandable.
But you need to ask yourself something: Why would I stay? If the answer is, Because I’ve got a mortgage and kids and no retirement, let me say this: Welcome to the club. Let me also say this: That’s not good enough. Because there is some dumb young kid five desks over who works for half of what you do, and that little moron strongly believes she is on a mission. She will work day and night for $32K, do so happily, never complain to her boss, and wants desperately to have your job. So unless your passion is equal to hers — actually, given your age and your salary, it should be greater than hers — then you need to see this as the beginning of your new adventure. Go. It’s scary, but it’s the right thing to do. Strangely, it will all turn out well. How? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.