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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why I’m (Really) Here

Answer: To get a real job. Second answer: To make media.

To tell you the truth, I had written something very factual, informative, and dull to place here. But as I sit here, burnt out on a Saturday night from a day of work,¬†Birthday Massacre on my iTunes, gingerbread Oreos in my stomach (exactly as good as it sounds), and a treadmill calling to me to work them off, I thought to myself, what the hey. Let’s try and ditch the formalities, and be real for a moment. So, let me start this over with one solid fact: I’m back at Centennial College, doing a postgrad in Corporate Communications and Public Relations.

Journalism didn’t really work out the way I thought it would. It’s funny how when you hear something’s highly competitive, and that it’s hard to get established, you unconsciously think you’re the exception to that.¬†Credit to my Journalism program: I did learn a lot. I can do photography now, I know how to write for a whole host of different media, and I can pick that same media apart like nobody’s business. But it’s a tough industry, and I’ll be blunt: I’m not good at hitting the streets, developing contacts, finding stories, all that social stuff. I’m a thinker and a writer with a small circle of friends. I’m friendly, but I don’t approach a stranger and become their friend inside fifteen minutes.

Part of me thought I’d learn that in my program, when really, there’s certain things that are hard-coded into your personality. They say you should stick with things and follow your dreams. I say you need to know where and when to bail out. It wasn’t long until my life consisted of going to This Season’s Contract Job That Barely Related To My Career ™, spamming job websites, and then occasionally writing something to keep my brain working.

Another bit of bluntness: I wasn’t initially eager to return to school. Five years in two schools, and I considered myself done. I figured a new phase of my life was supposed to begin, and going back would be the antithesis of progress. But as time marched on, I felt like I was getting further from my goal of full-time work. I decided I could work contract jobs for the rest of my life, or I could try and get out of this slump. Corporate Communications provided me with a way out.

I’ll say this much: Being in a program surrounded by people in the same boat as you can do you good. It can reinforce the idea that you didn’t blow it, that we’re all in this same quagmire of uncertainty together. But still, there’s challenges ahead.

Climbing the ladder, playing the game, and that nebulous thing called “Networking” has always mystified me, and I still haven’t gotten a clear answer on how one goes about doing it (sorry, Donna). Indeed, they’d do well to just have a class entitled “how to interact with other human beings in a serious professional setting because you’re not allowed to be a humorous doof anymore.” If there’s one thing I hope to pick up from this program that’s not just “a job,” it’s that. What I really want to do is make media, and pour all my energy into that, but even if I find a position that allows me that privilege, I suspect I won’t get there without a working knowledge of how to play career-building social ball.

The other big challenge will be managing my time. If I have one criticism going into this program, it’s the recommendation to quit our jobs. The fact that I’m reporting live from the end of a two-job workday speaks to the realism of that advice. We’re all adults here, and most responsible adults are aware of the need for money to function as a human being in a society. So, my time’s precious, and stretched to the limit. Already, I’m keenly aware that it’ll be a task and a half updating this in the near future unless prompted. It’s not pessimism, or an unwillingness. It’s unfortunate realism. Three group projects will do that to you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear some exercise-generated endorphins calling my name.