Having graduated with a degree in journalism just a few months ago, it feels like there are so few options, but so many opportunities.
Who wants to hire someone with less than a year’s worth of experience in the field of writing? I can see my resume being read once, the experience adding up in the recruiter’s head, and nothing else matters. G. P. A., enthusiastic clips, interests, I. Q. score all secondary to years I felt like covering the city council meetings? It’s just sad.
Of course, any college where journalists teach journalism warns you of this. Despite the “Whom you know” over the “What you know” mentality, I chose to pursue a writing career knowing that I was really getting a degree in a hobby and actually majoring in taking dinner orders.
Wow, that sounds depressing, but it’s not! It’s exciting not knowing when or what interesting job I could get. I’m moving to the L.A. area in a couple days because my home state of Alabama was boring in more aspects than journalism. Why not go all the way to the publication and entertainment center of the world, not to mention the concerts and mild winters?
After a month of traveling Europe and another month of traveling the U. S., I was ready to start applying. I sound magazine-deadline oriented already, eh?
I’ve been applying to everything except newspapers. I think I’d rather take dinner orders. Aside from the daily deadlines, lack of involvement on story choices, redundancy on story choices, hit or miss on the boss (editor)…well, that’s horrifying enough.
What I’ve learned is that all different kinds of people, from doctors to retired businessmen, are envious of the freedom I’ve granted myself. All I had to do was not care about being poor.
“You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man,” a line from Citizen Kane that has stuck with me for years. If I can afford a room with electricity, running water, a refrigerator and a lock on the door I can’t complain.
If I indulge myself anywhere, it’ll be sushi or trying out a local bakery. All I feel I have a right to demand of life is some time to write.
Have you been around the world recently? America’s little things like large refrigerators, quality grocery stores and cheap gas separate us on the convenience spectrum to a large degree. You don’t have to have lobster and Pinot Noir to be happy. I’ll settle for a six-pack of Blue Moon and an orange any day.
Happiness, now there’s an interesting word. It’s a very personal word, but despite your level of denial, how you define it is how you live. The more time you think about how you define happiness, the clearer the path will become for you to achieve your happiness.
Now if only I could find someone whose idea of happiness is hiring a journalism major with less than a year’s worth of experience.
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