I am not good with money. Wait, let me rephrase that. When I have money I am super great at spending it. The concept of money and — more importantly — a budget, however, has always been kind of lost on me. I see, I want, I buy. So, it’s really no surprise that when a professor my freshman year of college warned a class of about 200 future journalists that we’d only be making about $10,000 our first year out of school, I didn’t even blink. What was money? Being a journalist was my dream and I wasn’t about to walk away from that because of a stupid paycheck (or lack thereof). Fast forward four years. I landed my dream job at a daily newspaper and also realized I’d have to keep my retail job to pay my bills. Such is the sacrifice we make to live our dreams, I figured. Imagine my surprise when, after five years of service for said newspaper, I got a pink slip instead of a raise thanks to company-wide cutbacks. It’s no secret that the world of newspaper reporting isn’t an easy world to live in. Still, when I lost my job and was offered a job the next day with a local leasing company I just couldn’t take it. I am a writer, plain and simple. Being a reporter is one of the most important jobs there is. Newspapers and printed products in general are near and dear to my heart. After working so hard to be a part of that world in college, I couldn’t image just turning my back on my dream. What followed was nearly two years of the hardest and lowest paying reporting work I’d ever done at a community newspaper. And while my career path eventually lead me back to Lansing and this position, I am certain I would not have been qualified without the foundation of knowledge I gained “in the trenches.” On top of that, I get to live everyday knowing that I followed my dream. Despite the rocky road that my dream has sometimes lead me down, I can always say I followed it. Best of all, as I get older and my dreams continue to grow and evolve, I am able to follow them; when you’ve followed your dream once, it’s easy to do it again and again. And now for my new dream — learn to balance a checkbook
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.