This past year has been a difficult one. In many ways I think the time between graduating from college or university and finding your place in the world can be the scariest time of all. Some are lucky and find careers or husbands or amazing opportunities right away, but for the majority things don’t come as easily. Some would say, “You’re young! You’re free to do whatever you choose! The world is your oyster!” but what happens when choosing just one oyster could mean leaving all the other unopened ones behind.
That is where I found myself. Lost. Stuck between knowing which avenue to pursue, what would be best to suit the kind of life I want to lead. Do I travel? Do I save my money? Do I buy a house? Do I move cities just to get a change of perspective? – So many options with the pros and cons list long for each. All the while what I really wanted was to get a foot in the door with doing what I had studied and love.
I had gone to university for the country’s most prestigious journalism program. I had completed internships. I went to class and worked hard on assignments. I networked. I had done everything right but why was I having so much trouble finding anything, and why did it seem like everyone around me had a clear direction they were heading in while I was stuck shuffling my feet at the starting line?
Now I don’t mean to sound negative and act like I had a terrible, miserable year. I worked hard at the jobs I had. I bartended, I waitressed, I taught dance lessons and took up writing a blog you may have heard of. I made money and could spend money. I paid off my school debt. I had no reason not to have cocktails until two in the morning on a Tuesday night. Furthermore, throughout my time of confusion I had the two most important things going for me – a supportive family and group of amazing friends. At the end of the day, what else matters right?
But this post is to serve as inspiration for some of our readers that may find themselves in the same boat I did. Getting a job in your field is not the easiest thing in the world, and made even harder coming out of a recent economic downturn where tonnes of entry level jobs were abolished (especially in media outlets). Many of my fellow classmates struggled or are still struggling to get a foot into the iron-clad door. My message for anyone feeling a little panicked is that there is hope; you just have to keep trying and trying.
After a year of spending countless hours scouring job postings, updating my resume and re-writing my cover letter I had my very first interview – and I aced it.
A true stepping stone in what I hope will be a long career in journalism I landed myself a spot as a reporter writing for a community newspaper. Instead of spending my days staring out the window of the restaurant I worked at thinking… “I have a degree and I’m passionate about what I studied… What. Am. I. Doing.?” I now write between 10 – 14 articles a week. I have a desk, I’m buying a car and I know what my schedule is going to be before the week starts. I refuse to let myself become 40 at the age of 23 and forget what it’s like to have a little fun, but I have purpose and an excuse not to make every month a series of week-long benders.
I look at this opportunity as a new beginning and recently made a few life changes to fix the things that were making me unhappy. The best part is that I no longer cringe when people ask, “So what’re you up to these days?” – a question I used to be embarassed to answer. This job is not where I envision myself working for the rest of my life but when I submitted that first story and my boss told me it was written expertly I beamed knowing that within the past year I didn’t forget everything I’d learned. In fact, I probably learned some of life’s most important lessons without evening realizing it… In a nutshell.
Stay tuned on my “big girl job” mini series: Buying a car for someone who knows nothing about cars, and re-vamping my wardrobe with business appropriate attire!