It strikes me as funny when I think about becoming a journalist.

I went to college to be a teacher, but after three years decided it wasn’t for me. I had friends who were in broadcast journalism, but I didn’t want to talk for a living, so I switched majors to the next best thing — print journalism.

What I think is funny is that I grew up painfully shy and quiet, but I ended up in a profession in which I talk to people — most I barely know — and ask them to tell me their life’s story.

It took me a while to realize what drew me to journalism, but I realized I find people extremely interesting.

I’m still quiet, can be shy and at times socially awkward. But when it comes to work, it’s fascinating to me to talk to people.

For some reason, I have developed an unquenchable interest in people.

I don’t care if someone has traveled the world or someone grew up and never left their hometown, they have stories to tell.

People are so interesting — the decisions we make throughout our lives that lead us to pick our careers, form our beliefs and how we live our lives.

What makes someone want to be a doctor and another person an artist?

What makes one person a Republican and another a Democrat?

What makes a person volunteer every time their community needs something?

In every town throughout the country, there are people like those mentioned above. Some are siblings, growing up in the same family, who seek different career paths and see the word differently.

Others have nothing in common other than sharing a hometown and lead different lives.

Ever wonder why someone wants to be a firefighter or EMT? I do, all the time.

It’s not a job I could do, but I’m glad others do.

That’s why I decided not to continue to work toward a degree in teaching. I started to think about my life, and decided I could not see myself in front of a classroom the rest of my life.

It takes a special person to do that job, and teaching was not my calling.

I wasn’t sure journalism was my calling in the beginning, but I had to study something, and I like to write.

More than 30 years later, I still like to write, and there is no end to the number of people whose stories I get to tell.

I guess I picked the right career. What a story.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.