After meandering through the local “Business Expo” nearly two hours ago, shaking hands with people I’ve already forgotten and exchanging both pleasantries and business cards with individuals I won’t see again until next year’s event, all while snagging as many free pens/mouse pads/mints as possible without looking destitute, I began thinking about my own career.
There are so many individuals assumably content in their job positions, ones which differ greatly from my own. I, too, am quite happy with my chosen career, but – especially now, with the economic downturn – it’s unfortunately disappearing from under my feet. While the newspaper I currently work at is likely to avoid the troubles other regional publications are undergoing – many of them declaring bankruptcy (Creative Loafing) or simply shutting down the presses (New York Sun) – I cannot help but wonder (uh oh, Carrie Bradshaw creeping in, yet again, sorry folks!) what would happen to me if the day came where there simply wasn’t a news puplication for me to work at.
To be honest, I’m not sure I can do much else … and with a journalism degree in one hand, and an English degree in the other, my options are somewhat limited.
Teaching is already out of the question. My lack of patience proved that notion when I was in high school, attempting to hone my brother’s math skills. “Don’t ask questions. There’s no ‘why?’ in math. Just do what I say and you’ll get the right answer.” Strike One.
Creative writing is an unlikely prospect as I had to work twice as hard as my peers to maintain a B+ in my 400-level fiction writing class senior year of college. Apparently, I don’t get to the point quick enough and surround my tales with verbose, unnecessary commentary and quotes. And let’s face it folks, I’m just not that funny. Strike Two.
Editing the works of others brings up not only the patience, or lack thereof, issue, but my disdain for reading things I find uninteresting. I could not simply peruse the pages of a science textbook, looking for grammar and punctuation problems, without dozing to sleep on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Strike Three.
Writing, seemingly, is the only thing I’m good at … and something I thoroughly enjoy. If, by some strange misfortune, I’m unable to remain in this industry, I have no idea where my short list of skills would otherwise come in handy.
I don’t appreciate history – sans a few things, such as the Titanic and old newspapers. I loathe science and all related subject areas. I’m too nice (it’s true) to swindle folks out of money – i.e. advertising and sales. I’m far too apathetic about most nonprofits, as sad as that may sound. And, let’s face it, I simply could not work in a job I’m unhappy with.
So unless I write the next best novel to hit American bookshelves, I’ve already destined myself for an uncertain future. I’ll never sit at a booth, hoping someone wants to learn about the “advanced” gutter system my company can install on their house. It’s unlikely I’ll stop people in their tracks with promises of “a chance at free gas” if they listen to my five-minute presentation about hospice care. And I probably won’t hand out samples of my finest bisque while praying those just seeking free food may, one day, stop into my restaurant. That future is not mine …
But, as I’ve already sadly learned, neither is the one I’m desperately trying to carve myself now.
So, at what point do I say, “maybe this journalism thing won’t pan out” and begin seeking alternatives? When does it become evident that living on my hopes and dreams alone will lead to a dead end when the industry eventually turns to an internet-only market? And how the hell do I divert away from something I know I’m good at – subjective, of course – to attempt a new venture that may or may not lead to yet another “no outlet”?
I apologize for the whiny undercurrent evident in this post. My bad.
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