Saturday, February 7, 2009


If I hear it one more time, I'm going to scream.

"It must be awful being a journalism student in these tough economic times. What with there being no jobs and all. Not that there were any jobs before. But now even people who used to have jobs are losing their jobs. Gee whiz, are you ever in trouble. Bet you wish you'd gone into something recession proof. Like law school."

This is sort of like how strangers sometimes stop me on the street in the summer when I'm wearing sandals to tell me my feet are weird. I know my feet are weird. I have looked at my weird feet every day for the past 24 years. Bringing it up doesn't help make them less weird, or help me deal with my weird-feet anxiety issues. There is pretty much nothing new or useful to be said about my weird feet, so I'd rather not talk about it.

Continuing this metaphor farther than I'd planned to, I also don't really care that my feet are weird. I shamelessly walk around in sandals anyway. Maybe I'm nuts, and maybe this is some sort of sacrilege, but the sum total of my secret thoughts, fears, and anxieties about the horrible journalism job market is... I don't really care. I'm going to shamelessly keep learning about journalism anyway, because I like it. It's fun. I think I'm pretty good at it.

"It's so awful, new journalists have to spend years doing contract work, or freelancing with no job security." Actually, that sounds great. I get to spend a few years trying out different things, finding out what my strengths, weaknesses, and interests are. Then, one day, the economy will resuscitate, and I'll swoop in like a vulture on all the juicy media jobs that are suddenly up for grabs again.

Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll get sick of living in a slanty slum and taking the bus and not being sure whether or not I'll have a paycheck next week, and I'll go into PR, or put together podcasts for some company, or launch my backup plan of writing a bestselling series of trashy romance novels. That's totally fine too. I'm serious about wanting to become a professional journalist, but I'm not going to jump off a bridge if those aren't the cards life deals me.

So this is an open letter to everyone: I know there are no jobs. I don't live under a rock. I didn't pick journalism over law school because I thought it would make me a millionaire. I picked it because living my life to the fullest is more important to me than a guarantee that I can make a down payment on a house in the next five years.

But thanks for your concern.


The Science Manly said...

Preaching to the choir, darlin'!

I didn't go into J-school for the glory either, I just wanted to do something that let me experience the world of science from a different point of view. One where I would be able to meet scientists, attend conferences and have other opportunities that I wouldn't even be able to have.

And if that doesn't work, I have many back-up plans: Novelist, teacher, and many more.

I couldn;t agree with you more in that this is what I want to do now ... despite the constant doom and gloom predictions that everyone seems hell-bent on reminding me of.

Amy said...

I feel like you jumped into my brain on this one.

Career? What?

Anonymous said...

Simply said: this is brilliant.