Contemplating career choices: the risks and rewards

By David Talley | Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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As a reporter, I get to chat with a lot of people. And, for a little bit, I get to look around inside their lives.

David Talley

David Talley

After in-depth conversations, I head back to the office and start writing. For feature stories and everything but the most banal of public meeting coverage, this is a fairly involved process. I try to put myself in the shoes of the person I’ve interviewed.

It’s a fun exercise, trying to imagine if I’d survive in a career field outside journalism. Some, like other communication-based jobs, would be a natural transfer. Others, like truck driver or reptile expert, might be a stretch of my talents.

At 23 years old, I don’t know what direction my life is heading, but interviewing others gives me a glimpse of where other career paths could lead.


  • Qualifications: I’m not sure how it would compare, but I’ve competed in the cycling world’s adrenaline-fueled, bull-riding equivalent. For reference, search “last 3 km of Stage 8 of Amgen Tour of California” online and watch any related video.
  • My take: I’d probably die in the rodeo arena. If not gored to death by a bull, I see a lasso-related disfigurement in my future. For my brief stint, I think the traveling would be my favorite part.


  • Qualifications: I’ve been saving a lot of turtles from the road lately. I grabbed one that was stuck vertical in a cattle guard Sunday, and it really made me wonder about turtle behavior and how far they actually travel.
  • My take: My interest in reptiles stops when venom becomes a factor. I feel like I’d start out studying all reptiles and gradually narrow down to turtles. And that’s just not something I’m willing to do.


  • Qualifications: I have ridden in a helicopter once and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
  • My take: From the research I’ve done, it’s really expensive to work toward a pilot’s license. I guess I could pay as I went though.


  • Qualifications: I’ve been in this job for six months and have been to plenty of meetings.
  • My take: At this point I’m comfortable enough to consider bringing my office nameplate to meetings and helping out when its time to vote to adjourn.

On second thought, I should probably just stick to writing articles.

David Talley is a Messenger reporter.

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