Notes From a Hired Pen

Anniversary Time! 10 Years in Journalism

Ten years ago, I started my first and only full time journalism job. After toiling in the press office of a Philadelphia healthcare system, I took over as editor of SJ Magazine.

A lot in my life has changed since then, but sometimes, that time feels like yesterday. Suddenly I’m 23 again with no dog, no mortgage, and a scary, daunting job that I never thought I’d have. I graduated from college with a B.A. in English literature, and was writing my M.A. thesis, also in English Literature, at the time I interviewed for that job. I was dabbling in freelancing, and had written a few pieces for the magazine, but me? An editor? I thought journalism would be a side project, like it was to me in college, not a career. Yet there I was then, and here I am now, making a living through writing.

I didn’t stay at the magazine for very long, but I’m grateful for the professional lessons I learned there: how a magazine comes together, what makes for the best freelancers, and what being an editor is like. I’ve been writing about my 20s lately for a possible book project, and a huge chunk of what happened then in my personal life was a direct result of working at the magazine, and I’ll be honest: a lot of those memories aren’t happy ones. But I’m still glad I had that job, albeit briefly. I wouldn’t be here 10 years later, with that mortgage and that dog and, now, the best job in the world, without it.








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