What if Buyouts Target the Young?

Q. I’m in my mid-20s, and I received a buyout offer from my newspaper. I think most people in the business seemed to think older workers were the ones being targeted, but this most recent buyout offer shows that no one is safe.

I can pass up the buyout offer, but I worry I’ll be on the chopping block later. What advice do you have for young people who have been faced with a buyout offer? Should we consider taking it? What incentive is there for us to stay in this business?

Young and Depressed

A. It is better to receive a buyout offer than a pink slip. About 100 percent better, financially, and you get to be in charge of the decision.

I know young people who have gladly accepted buyout offers as a way to help them get a new start outside journalism. I have heard that a veteran journalist has been through multiple buyouts and is still a journalist. I took one in August with the idea of staying in journalism. And there are people whose job searches were spurred by offers made to others in their shops.

So, buyouts do not mean we have to leave the field, but they shake our sense of security. Maybe that’s better than being unaware there is a problem. Evaluate your options and goals, in terms of this offer and long-term.

You can get more help from the Biz Blog by Poynter’s Rick Edmonds and my buyout checklist.

Got a question? I’ll answer it here, just e-mail it with your full name. If you prefer that your surname not be published, please indicate why.

Coming Friday: She was lucky to land a job right out of college, but it is at a Catholic weekly and she is afraid that will prevent employers at secular publications from even wanting to interview her. How can she break out of this pigeonhole?

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