How Going Vegan Could Help You Land Your Dream Job

Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Jennifer Chen of Typecraft.

I went vegetarian when I was 17 years old. My best friend went vegan (no dairy, eggs, or meat) and I thought I could give up meat at the very least. I haven’t looked back. I love animals. As a kid, I spent two weeks straight begging my mom for a dog until she finally caved. For me, animals are my friends, not my food. While this isn’t a decision that’s for everyone, my veg lifestyle helped me land my dream job—writing and editing for a national vegan lifestyle magazine, VegNews.

My love for animals is equal to my love of magazines. As a kid, I created my first and only issue of Mom magazine, which I made for my mom for Mother’s Day. I wrote, designed (a red heart was the cover), and stapled it together. As an adult, I didn’t pursue magazine writing until I was 28. I tried everything under the sun as a writer, until one day, I thought, if I could do anything, I’d love to work at a magazine.

Why Magazines?

What’s better than a stack of magazines, a lazy Sunday, and a comfy outdoor chair? To me, I love how much information I can get from a magazine. Yes, so many people proclaim that print is dead and digital is in and while I’ll agree that the iPad and Kindle are pretty cool inventions, I still love the feel of flipping through a magazine and marking pages that I like.

Why Vegan?

I think by now most people know what it means to be vegetarian, so how exactly is vegan different? Vegans don’t use or consume any animal products. No leather shoes, no omelets, and certainly no chicken fingers. The questions I am most frequently asked are, “Then what exactly do you eat? What’s wrong with milk? Do you get enough protein?” For me, I love food and vegan food has a ton of great options. Vegan doughnuts? Done. Vegan cheese that melts and doesn’t taste like rubber? Check. I eat a lot of beans, nuts, leafy greens, fruits, grains, tofu, seitan, and everything labeled vegan. (Click here and here for a mini-food tour of what I eat.) As for milk, some people think that dairy cows need to be milked or else they will explode. The truth is, dairy cows only give milk when they are pregnant, just like humans. So they are frequently artificially impregnated so that they give birth and provide milk. Unfortunately another byproduct of the dairy industry are male calves. Since they can’t produce milk in the future, they are put into tight crates so they don’t move so they can become veal steaks later. It’s so sad. I used to love cheese, but the thought of what cows go through so I could have a slice of Brie upset me too much. BUT the upside? There are so many non-dairy alternatives (almond, coconut, soy, etc.). And lastly, I do get plenty of protein.

Landing My Dream Job

When I lived in LA, I pitched VegNews a travel piece on veg-friendly Pasadena and they bit so I wrote my first piece for them. It’s an indie publication so instead of payment, I was offered a free subscription, and I fell in love with the magazine. It was well-written, chockfull of travel, great recipes, and news. Fast forward a few years later, my husband landed his dream job at Lucasfilm so we moved up to the San Francisco area, where VegNews is published. When I saw that they had a job opening for an associate editor, I jumped. I wasn’t vegan when I landed the interview but I knew enough about the lifestyle to be able to do a good job at the writing sample and editing test. Once I landed the job (I literally jumped up and down), I decided to go vegan.

Writing & Food

Switching my diet opened the door for me to write about vegan news, travel, food, and even interview animal sanctuaries. My editor at Bust magazine offered me a piece writing about a vegan cookbook author and her latest project helping feral cats. I think most importantly, I’ve tapped into what I love: food, animals, and magazines. As a writer, it’s so important to figure out what you love because the passion shines through. Also, having a focus is so much better than trying to doing everything under the sun. Trust me, I tried to be a short story writer and realized, wow, I’m not really great at this.

With all of the many food blogs out there, writing about food has never been easier or better. I know quite a few vegan bloggers who landed their first cookbooks based on the popularity of their blogs. So if you’re not considering going vegan or vegetarian, if you love food and you love writing, consider starting a food blog or writing for popular food magazines.

If you’re interested in going veg, I’m happy to answer any questions as best as I can. My last piece of advice: think about what you would write about if you never got paid anything. What are you crazy passionate about? It might just help you land your perfect writing job.

Jennifer Chen is an associate editor at VegNews magazine. She has written for Every Day With Rachael Ray, Bust, Natural Health, and Rangefinder. She is also working on a young adult novel and she’s represented by Regal Literary. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her TV writer husband, yellow lab, and three-legged cat. She blogs at

Do you have any questions for Jennifer about being a vegetarian or a vegan? Are you a vegan or a vegetarian yourself? How has it influenced your writing? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

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13 comments on “How Going Vegan Could Help You Land Your Dream Job

  1. Wow, Jennifer! Thank you so much for sharing your story! (And thanks Ollin, for hosting this guest post!) I especially loved reading about how things fell together for you with the move and landing the job that led to being vegan. Something similar is happening to me now. I landed a writing position related to Apple products — I’ve always been an Apple fan and had been considering an iPhone, but now I’m definitely going to purchase one and I imagine that it’ll help me write all about iPhones for newbies and the like! =)

    Also, I had no idea that cows were artificially impregnated. Sheesh! I bet you’re providing so much value writing and researching for VegNews! Thanks for being an inspiration. =)

  2. Ollin says:

    Wow, Jen. You certainly have me thinking vegan. Although I don’t think I’ll be able to live that lifestyle, I think this has made me seriously consider cutting down on meat. Maybe down to once or week or so. I think even if people can’t completely give up meat, being aware of these things is a good thing. Thank you for making us fully aware! Oh and teaching the lesson that following your passion can lead you to some amazing things. You’re an inspiration to us all. 🙂

    • typecraft says:

      Thanks Ollin! And cutting down on meat is always good. I realize it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but awareness is key. I really appreciate you letting you share my thoughts/journey with your readers.

  3. struggletovictory says:

    Thank you for the inspirational article. I am not an official vegan (still eat chicken, turkey & some ham), I am pretty close mainly because of an allergy to gluten & dairy. Anyway, I loved the idea of writing what you’re passionate about and what you’d write for free and to follow that. I’m going to pursue things a bit differently based on the advice in your article. Thanks again!

  4. Alexander Bengtsson says:

    Reblogged this on Commonplace.

  5. Alexander Bengtsson says:

    Congratulations, that’s so rad to land a job this way…

    I’m more into creating my dream job.

    A bit about me: I’m vegetarian for as long as I can remember, that is… 30 years now. I’m not entirely vegan as I suffer chronic anæmia and epilepsy. I keep plugging tough.

    I know pretty much everything about treatments inflicted to animals, as it is in my family DNA to love animals and not let humans take over…

    Being half Swedish, half French, I’m tortured between goose and cheese. No way eating any of these.

    I don’t have much to add to the conversation, alas.

    Ah well, yeah, I could write forever about music theory (start with Mesopotamian clay tablets dating from 3000 years B.C), instrument building and ethnomusicology without being paid. It already eventually happened in a deviant way, as I helped develop an iDevice app (NDA: can’t name it, sorry. I’m not in good terms with the people who used my work, too). Yet that is not really what I’m about. Talk historical tunings on exotic instruments (96 notes per octave on a chinese guqin?) and you got me started. The only way to stop me is to cut my hands and my tongue!

    Anyone interested, catch me!

  6. krpooler says:

    Jennifer, Your passion certainly shines through here! Thanks for enlightening us on what a vegan diet is. It actually sounds very healthy. We would all be healthier if we ate less meat and cheese. My husband grows organic vegetables and we try to avoid meat as much as we can. I am also intrigued by your career path into magazine writing. I really like your message about finding a career that matches your passion. You are proof that it works as your enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading about your success. Very Inspiring!

    • typecraft says:

      Hi Kathy: You’re very sweet. And organic veggies straight from the garden sound delicious. It took some time but I figured out what I loved and I hope that everyone finds their passion. When we come from a place of love, only great things can be born. Thanks again for reading my post!

  7. Sunshine says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    I enjoyed your article and I was vegetarian when I was pregnant with my first son. For his first year my son was raised as a vegetarian but my lack of passion and commitment made me abandon the lifestyle. Today, this son is adamantly a meat eater! 😦 Perhaps if I connected with other vegetarian families it may have encouraged me to stick to it.
    What about the raw food movement? I am curious about this since I have read a few articles and cookbooks on the subject.
    Thank you again!

  8. typecraft says:

    Hi Sunshine! I hear you. I would just consider what being vegetarian means to you. Some come from a place of loving animals, others for health reasons, some for environmental reasons. I think if you consider what drives you to become a vegetarian, it would be easier. I don’t know where you’re located, but almost every city I know has a vegetarian or vegan meet up from, or a vegetarian society.

    In terms of raw foods, I’m not an expert in that area, but a blogger I really like who writes about raw foods is Choosing Raw ( In terms of raw cookbook authors, I like Ani Phyo’s books.

    Hope that helps! Thanks for reading my post!

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