A Happier Birthday

March 22, 2013
BY David Snyder

Last Thursday, I celebrated my 26th birthday, and it got me thinking: I’m certainly in a different place in my professional life than I was this time last year.

On March 21 — last year — I had reached a point where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be a journalist anymore.

Since I first got my feet wet at the Pikesville High School Pipeline, I have truly relished the opportunity of hammering out ideas into a Word document, watching my thoughts evolve into a completed article and knowing that people, from friends to complete strangers, were absorbing what I wrote.

Simply put, I love telling stories. And, named after my mom’s late father, I’ve always been proud of my name, and I take an immense amount of pride seeing it in print.

However, still in search of a full-time writing job after graduating college, I was starting to doubt that this line of work could provide a fulfilling career and a comfortable wage.

For months, I had been grinding out freelance articles at minimal pay while applying for countless jobs that spanned the journalism gamut: writing, editing, proofreading … zip, zero, nada.

I would wake up with an apprehensive pit in my stomach every morning, mope around the house all day and be fed up with careerbuilder.com by night. People told me they enjoyed my writing, but if it was any good, why didn’t anyone hiring seem to think so?

My confidence had completely waned. I saw no potential in this field … until the Baltimore Jewish Times saw potential in me.

In late May, after two interviews with the powers that be, the JT off-ered me a staff reporter position, to be a part of the magazine as it transitioned to the quality publication that you read today and that continues to improve.

I was at Delaware Park Casino playing poker — my part-time “job” while I rummaged for real work — when I was contacted. I accepted immediately. After hanging up, I walked back to the poker table, beaming on the inside, thinking I was “free-rolling,” which in gambling terms basically means, “No matter what happens, I can’t lose.”

From that day until this very second, I am so appreciative of the opportunity that was given to me.

Aware of my passion and love for sports, the JT has allowed me to write news and feature articles on the subject. At the same time, I’ve become more balanced as a writer than I could ever have imagined, penning pieces on business, politics and human interest. Every day that I’m here, I’m striving to improve.

And, seeing my byline next to a cover story or my headshot atop a column serves as a constant reminder that I can do this, that this job is for me. It was all about patience and timing and finding the right fit.

There are many people of all ages who are unemployed because of the economy’s downturn. Don’t give up on your passion; I’m glad I didn’t. Be aggressive and be persistent, but most of all, have confidence in yourself and what you do.

At 26, my confidence as a writer is a high as it’s ever been. I can’t wait to see where it will be at 27.