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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hain's Point

"I read somewhere that every wall's a door to something new/Well if that's true - why can't I get through?"

-Rites of Spring, "Hain's Point"

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Back in college, a frequent line I heard from various people in regards to various jobs was, "You won't make a lot of money doing this." Approaching five years out of school, I'm still trying to understand why people say this. Is there an assumption that college students expect to make as much or more than their parents do right out of college?

I don't know what exactly was driving me, but I wanted to work in radio when I got out of school. Did I want to spend four rough months after college working twenty hours a week and constantly fearing that I'd have to move back in with my parents? No, but that's what happened. Have I made much money working in radio and TV? Not really, but I haven't gone homeless. Do I want to find another field to work in? Yes. Do I regret working in the radio and TV world? Absolutely not.

A matter that people tend to make of light of is the asset of having experience in the first place. No matter how little you're paid, doing something is better than not doing anything at all. I think I've learned a lot about myself as far as what I want to do and what I don't want to do in a job, so how can I moan about how little I've made on a yearly basis? Income is measurable; experience is not.

A field that I know I can't do is sales. Sure, there is a lot of money to be made in that world, but I can't do it. I have this repelling feeling about being forced into selling something that I don't fully believe in. Yeah, getting a nice commission check would pump up my bank account, but if I had to betray core values of mine to get it, I'd feel dirty and weird. Maybe I'm too paranoid or just really traumatized, but I'd rather make an honest dollar than a dishonest one.

A major stumbling block that I have with finding a new job is the feeling that finding a job I'd actually like is impossible. Sometimes I think I'd have a better chance of landing a role in a film that's not a porno flick. I talk to friends about their jobs and I tend to hear the negative aspects of them more than the positive aspects. Maybe that's just our conditioning to talk about what's against us rather than what's with us. Well, this all makes me feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place (a line I still don't understand because isn't a rock a hard place?).

Some people think that finding a new job is about as easy as going to the grocery store for a gallon of milk or a record store for a CD. I'm not one of those people and I get very annoyed with people who think that. Finding a job is not just some quick little perusal; it's this long, drawn-out process that gives me way more resistance than I care to have. Was any of this brought up in school? Nope. Did I ever think it would be? Nope. Would I like to tell college students this? Absolutely.

A problem with hindsight is that everything seems to fit nicely when looking back. Living in the moment, current events seem so out of place and frustrating. What I'd like to convey to younger people is that your first job out of college will more than likely not pay very well. Chances are you'll change careers a few times in your working life. How much money you make is important, but the experience is way more important.

Working in broadcasting has not really yielded a very livable income for me. I get by financially, but there's no way I could support anybody else. However, the yearly income is not the only reason why I want to find another field to work in. Broadcasting is like a track and field event that goes on 24/7/365. After six years, I just want to move onto something else. I'm not about to be the bitter old man that spews all sorts of negativity to people who want to get into the industry. My experience may be nothing like another person's so why do I assume that it will?

People I know have told me that since I love writing, I should write for "a living." Well, writing is a passion of mine and I don't want to make it an obligation. Sure, that may sound like I'm selling myself short, but as Barton Fink said it best before he sold his soul to hell and the devil, ("If I ran off to Hollywood now, I'd be making money, going to parties, meeting the big shots, but I'd be cutting myself off from the wellspring of that success, from the common man.") I don't want to be stuck in something that I can't get out of. Maybe all this stuck feeling is mental. I get the feeling that it's not all mental.

I feel bad about how I constantly give my friends and family excuses when we try and brainstorm about what fields I could possibly go into. I think I come across like a child that is never satisfied on a clothes shopping trip. I don't mean to hard to work with; I'm just really gun-shy and traumatized. Mud may be very comfortable since it's familiar, but it's still mud.

Thinking about matters now, I have yet to meet someone who has had an easy transition out of college and into the working world. Whether the field is education, medical, law, sales or engineering, the transition rarely yields a large yearly income, but a lot of long hours and overall frustration in return. Since the playing field is level, I've always felt like I could do anything. Sure, telling college students "You won't make much money doing this" is easy to say, but telling them about everything else is really hard to explain. As long and drawn-out as it may seem to do that, I'd rather do that than give quick little anecdotes.

1 comment:

Eric said...

You speak what I feel. Without fail.