Photo found through Pinterest.
About once a week, someone will post a Facebook article about the jobs that are needed, that are now, that will be attracting all the graduates in just a few short years. And every single week, I am not at all surprised to find that what I want to do ranks pretty low on that list. Actually, it rarely even makes the list.
Journalism. The one career choice that all of our mothers had warned us about.
And while I’ve gotten pretty used to justifying my career choices (Yes, I know that I will be making very little money for a very long time. Yes, I know that cutbacks are happening in all the major newspapers and magazines across the country) to just about anyone who asks about what I’m doing with my life (except the parents, who have been supportive from day one), today was the day that I finally snapped.
Today was the day that somebody asked if I was aware that in order to make it in journalism you have to be really, really good? Which, followed the natural but unspoken conclusion, I wasn’t.
And that just unleashed a can of worms that I didn’t even know was in me. It made me realize that I’m angry. I’m angry because people always say that we should all go into chemical engineering or geology or Information Technology because that is where “the money lies.” I’m angry because conversations about what I’m studying in university always start with the “English, eh? So you want to teach?” and end with the inevitable “What else then?” as though there are no other options for anyone who was foolish enough to choose the humanities in the first place. I’m angry because there were times (thankfully very few!) when people replied with a pernicious “See! hat’s what the real world is like!” when I told them that I did not get the internship or received a polite rejection letter minutes after I sent in an article to a magazine.
I still can’t get over the sting that I felt when a high school teacher sniffed back the pejorative “Journalism? You really don’t look like that type…” when I told him that I was considering it as a career option. I still remember the family friend who said that “Journalism’s fun and all, but you’ll obviously forget all about it once you have a family to feed and real bills to pay.”
Because that, no matter how you view it, is a dig.
And maybe I’m just in a permanent state of denial about what is really awaiting me once I walk out of those (metaphorical) university doors with an Arts degree and an I’m-going-to-write-because-I-want-to-write mentality, but I’ve always felt that, no matter how needed the profession, going after jobs for the wrong reasons (hype, pressure, narrow assessment of what is most needed at the moment…) rarely ends well. I feel that if you know, deep within you, that something is right for you, then you should probably do it. If it doesn’t pay well, then you should probably do it on the side while you also do somewhere else.
But you should still go after it. Because if you don’t, somebody else most definitely will.