Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time), I complain about my job. Freelance journalists don't earn enough, don't get much respect, and of course there's the no benefits/health insurance/401k disadvantage that comes from being self-employed. And much of the time I feel like I'm writing "fluff" pieces, or articles that probably won't even be read. But every now and then something reminds me why I became a journalist.
I just finished an article about two women who adopted children from another country, and who are now starting a charity to help that area. During the interview I'm already feeling a little guilty about how I complain about my sluggish computer, or the two digital cameras that don't work, when I'm hearing about the thousands of people who live in fear of constant violence and may not always even have food. At the end of the interview, the children want to say hello to me. One thanks me for writing the article and "helping people in the Congo." I may communicate for a living, but I had no idea what to say to this teenage boy. Sure, I was excited about writing an article about a good cause. But I just thought of it as interesting story about the benefits of adopting from another country, or about the dedication involved in starting a charity. I never thought of my article as something that might directly help people halfway across the world. Equally surprising, I realized that sometimes, the best reward is just a "thank you." And I feel I owe him, this boy half my age, a thank you for reminding me not to complain so much.