A week ago I stepped outside of Lovin Malta’s office for the last time, and I’m not gonna lie: it felt amazing. The past six months have been a wild ride from the unexpected job offer to the day I left.
Starting out part-time, I continued my freelance work while being in the newsroom three days a week, which worked out perfectly. But soon enough I joined the team full-time, meaning I got to spend every minute of my day on journalism: speaking to people, searching for stories, digging deep and writing lots.
It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. From the moment I went to university, I knew I would one day write for a living.
And not just writing for the sake of writing. I wanted to tell stories, share experiences, question things, expose stuff. Find out why things happen the way they do, and communicate my discoveries.
And that is exactly what Lovin Malta gave me the chance to do. As a journalist, I took a literal deep dive into tuna farms, explored Malta’s ‘wild west’ sex industry, helped push abortion access onto the agenda, and wrote about mental health.
With a team of brilliant journalists, all with their own strengths and views, I managed to gain different skills and learn from everyone I was surrounded by. And my work wasn't limited to writing alone: I also got more comfortable presenting on camera, thanks to plenty of Lovin Daily episodes.
For the most part, I loved working there. I loved being part of an enthusiastic team, and I have learnt loads in the past half year. I'm grateful I got to be a part of that, to work on things I’m passionate about, and to bring in fresh ideas.
So why did I leave?
Well, there’s one big reason: I’m moving to Brussels. I’ll be starting a traineeship at the European Parliament, so I’m preparing to move abroad.
I will be living and working in the city for at least half a year. Sir Godwin is obviously coming with me, and depending on whether we love it or not, we’ll decide what’s next.
That means I'm leaving Malta before Christmas, to see my family for the first time in two years and to spend some weeks in the Netherlands. It also means that in any case, I would have had to quit my job.
But underneath that, there were other reasons that made me want to leave, even before I got the offer for the traineeship.
Working this job takes a toll on you. You see it in everyone: living on caffeine and cigarettes while having the flair of an overworked journalist might sound like an aesthetic, but it isn't a healthy lifestyle. Constantly coming up with content and creating several stories a day is simply exhausting.
I was warned from the start, having heard about the experiences of people who worked there before me, and after a year of therapy and active recovery I learnt exactly how to respect my own boundaries.
That meant quitting a job I loved as soon as it would start taking a toll on my mental health - which it did. Because being in an office 45 hours a week, not taking unpaid lunch breaks, and writing six articles per day is a lot.
What was especially challenging for me was having to be in a certain place at a certain time while doing things for someone else. I totally got the freedom to write about whatever I wanted, which was awesome, but full-time employment does have its downsides - and I've always had a hard time accepting authority.
I also left because I have the bold belief that I can learn a lot more by not tying myself down to a demanding full-time job just yet. And because there are other things I want to experience, like working in European Parliament.
Am I grateful for the time I spent at Lovin Malta? Very. But do I think am I better off with the freedom, independence and peace of mind that freelancing gives me? Absolutely.
All in all, it has undeniably been a learning experience. I learnt how a modern news media company functions in a time when journalism is more important than ever, and realised you can make a living while contributing to society and pushing boundaries at the same time.
Maybe I’m delusional, maybe it’s my god complex speaking, but I think I’ll be perfectly fine on my own. Whether it’ll be journalism, politics or business, I’m trying different things and learning how I can make the most of myself. I've got all the time in the world.
Besides Brussels being my Big Next Step, something is brewing. Keep an eye out for updates, and as always, tell me all about yours. I love to hear from you.