November 9, 2010

Keeping it in Perspective

When I graduated from grad school, my chances of finding a new job were slim. I hoped I would land a producing job in a great city that would challenge me. But few openings seemed available. I would scour the job postings, hoping to see something where I would qualify, only to find a severe drought in producing jobs and a slough of openings for Account Executive. (I still don't know what that job does and it still seems open everywhere I go.)
I wondered if my days in news were over. I assumed I would have to head back to Portland, Oregon and beg for my old job back... but I would be lucky if even that job were still available. The opportunities seemed few and far, and I seriously considered throwing in the towel on my career.

My roommates, however, were dealing with a heyday of job offers. It seemed every other hour I would hear about opportunities they were getting from Reuters, CNN, NY1, and so many newspapers that I couldn't keep up. I would share my excitement with them over their hopeful futures... and then go in my room and cry over my assumed destiny: sitting on my couch and watching Oprah for the rest of my life.
Why were they getting so many job offers?
I would wonder. I'm the one with all the years of experience! They're just getting started!

And there's the rub, my friends.
My roomies - who are brilliant hard workers and were well-deserved of all the job leads - were looking for entry-level positions. The number of those give-me-a-shot-and-I'll-do-anything jobs were endless. Hundreds of people wanted them and hundreds could get them. The trick for all those clamoring hopeful journalists... was keeping those jobs (and lucky for my smarty-pants flatmates, they succeeded and are now onto conquering the world, one investigative story at a time).

I, on the other hand, was much more picky when it came to my hopes for a job. I had been in my career for a long time. I thought of grad school as fulfilling a dream to get a master's... and I thought grad school would be a much-needed "break" from the daily grind of deadlines (and boy, was I in for a shock when I saw how hard the schoolwork was!). The more specialized my skills became, the fewer the job openings.
This is a harsh reality of all jobs. And it is also a harsh reality of many things, including dating.


When we are looking for the casual, no-nonsense, no-commitment relationship, our opportunities seem endless. But when we're hoping for something a little more specific, something a little more specialized, then it may seem more difficult to find. At those points in life, it may seem really easy to get frustrated.

But then there's the magic.

The day after graduation, I packed up my apartment and got ready to head back to Oregon. My couch. My cable. I would hang my diploma alongside the television. Or I would use it as a napkin. My career seemed, well... over.
And then I got a phone call.
Apparently ABC had called Columbia's career services asking if they had any recent graduates with extensive television news writing experience, to which the school's counselor replied, "We have one."
The recruiter from ABC called to schedule an interview.
I was scheduled to fly out of the city the next day and stammered with overwhelming confusion and excitement. "I suppose I could meet... today?"
"How does 3:00 sound?"

I have always been told that "it happens when you least expect it." Or as my mother puts it, "men fall out of trees."
Friends, if you are feeling a little bit of despair about the love that surrounds you (or lack thereof), have hope. Allow the magic to happen. It does and it will. It might not happen when you expect it. You might feel like packing up and going home. You might feel as if your chances are over. But believe me when I tell you this: there is magic in the works.


Fei said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing.

There really is magic in the works.

Erik said...

Great post, Tamara! So true about so many things: love, work, art, money... Keep 'em coming.

Very Zaneta said...

What great thoughts! Thanks for sharing....and inspiring!!

Heather Cromar said...

Exactly, so! A very inspiring story.

Karene said...

Words I needed to hear. Thanks Tam! And thanks for the parallel to work, it's so true!

Just Julie said...

I love reading your stuff because it's always so positive! Thanks for sharing!

Eric said...

Make sure Sharron Angle doesn't read this blog post - she may think her policy of telling the unemployed they need to be willing to take jobs that don't make ends meet is a good policy. ;-)

Dana said...

"Some Enchanted Evening...." Hi Tamara - I like your perspectives.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Good reminders but I would love to have you back in OR

Kimpossible said...

Oh Tamara, are you sure you don't want to be a guidance councilor? You've got such a healthy attitude about life.

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