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On the hunt…

If I ever doubted I did the right thing by graduating early, I don’t any more.

Maybe the job market didn’t suck as bad six months ago. (Though if you’d have asked me then, I’d have told you it was pretty impossible to find a journalism job and I may as well polish my burger-flipping skills.)

Maybe there was less competition. (This was actually, beyond the $8,000 I saved, my main motivation for a December graduation rather than June or August. I reasoned, fewer kids would be on the same schedule, so there wouldn’t be the same glut of unemployed entry-level reporters on the market.)

Maybe I just got lucky. (I think everything happens for a reason. No matter how much it sucks or how horrible it makes you feel, everything has a purpose in your life, even if it’s just to teach you how to cope with disappointment or failure.)

It could have been any of those things and it probably was that and much more. But I wouldn’t trade places with my peers on the prowl for a job now. Not for anything. In fact, their disappointments and struggles are actually depressing me a bit.

Most of the kids I know who graduated with me or when I should have this spring are in internships without job prospects lined up for next month or beyond. They’re mailing out packets and combing journalismjobs.com for any glimmer of the perfect job, or even a job they’re mostly qualified for in a place they wouldn’t mind living.

The kids I don’t talk to regularly keep me updated of their job hunting luck through facebook statuses range from “f* the newspaper industry” to “moving to XXX next month!”

I talked to one friend the other day who has gone on a few interviews and been so close, who got his hopes up only to have them crash down a few weeks later: We don’t have the budget right now. And he’s one of the most talented people I know! I mean seriously guys. If you need a designer, this kids got talent, ambition and intelligence beyond almost anyone else I know.

I’ve also seen some borderline cut-throat tactics going on. I mean, all’s fair in love and war … and job hunting, apparently. There’s been at least one thing I’ve watched and gone, “I could never do that to someone.”

But then, I’ve also talked to people who’ve just heard back from “the first editor who actually took an interest,” and even though they downplay it — who wants to get her hopes up and then have them dashed? — you can see they walk a little taller and have that twinkle in their eye that says, “I don’t suck after all. Someone wants to hire me.”

Then, I remember that feeling. I remember the first conversation I had where I felt like maybe it wasn’t me against the world. I’m pretty sure I rushed my professor’s office for help dissecting the conversation after I hung up. I remember the first editor who contacted me. I remember the first voicemail I got from an editor asking me to come for an in-person interview, and how I played it over and over and over again to be sure I hadn’t missed any details or clues. I remember how much fun it was to read the job ads and imagine myself in cities I’d never heard of, let alone been.

I was telling one of my friends, a May grad with a post-grad summer internship that ends next month, that I kind of miss the excitement that comes with looking for that first job. I mean, you can literally do anything. You can go anywhere. You have no roots, no history holding you back. You have nothing but a few clips from your college newspaper and summer internship, a cover letter you likely wrote at 3 a.m. and a resume you’ve scrutinized so many times that it seems foreign rather than familiar. All you have to go on is your wit and your passion, your charm and your references. All you have is your future ahead of you.

As for me, my future is underway. Tomorrow is the exact six month mark since I started here at the J&C. It’s pretty insane how quickly it passed.

One Response to “On the hunt…”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Well, the whole job hunt thing I am glad is over…but if I ever want to leave my job and come back to PA I’ll have to do it all over again, and that lone fact might make me stay in NY forever…which is a bad reason.

    I’m just watching, and reading, about the educational job slump in PA. There may be teachers retiring or on the cusp but there are more than twice the amount to take their place…and everyone seems to want to be at their home district, even the youngins…not wanting to move to another part of the state, or another state all together.

    Are you covering the teacher hiring there?