Life experience

“My cover letter, written while watching “Glee,” included gems like “I’m too sour to bother googling it” and “I’m not cool” and ended with me writing about when I cried over butterscotch milkshakes. When they flew me in for an interview and asked me about any skills I had, I flaunted a trick wherein my middle fingers appear to be connected through my palms. The editor said “That’s not the kind of skill I meant.” To which I said: “Well, can you do it?” He could not. I got the job.”

That is a passage from Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How to Make Vitamin Soup by Richard Morgan. Read it, it’s awesome.

There’s nothing worse for your self-esteem than trying to get a job in the media when you’re just starting out. Every day you hear about companies firing more people without replacing them. And every day more people want to work in the media. If you aren’t willing to go the extra mile to get the job, there will be heaps of other people that will. That’s just something you have to accept.

What has also happened is that the media companies have started the application for summer jobs earlier and earlier. Naively, I thought that sending an application before the deadline is enough. Turns out, most of the positions have been filled before the deadline. So now I’m sitting here, writing applications for jobs that have already been filled. If I ever get called to an interview in the future, I am seriously considering flaunting a finger trick, maybe just a different kind that the Morgan one.

I haven’t had a proper media job in over a year. Everything that I have gotten published is old news. Instead I’ve moved to the other side of the world – twice. I’ve met some wonderful, wonderful people and made new friends, fallen in love, studied Baudelaire and Adorno, tried to learn a new language and tried to come to terms with my own westernness. I’ve swam in the world’s largest reef, sandboarded in the world’s oldest desert and almost stepped on a land mine. I’ve learned more than I will ever truly appreciate before I’m old. While I hate that it’s such a cliché to have travel-related life experience stories, all this made me grow.

At some point in my life, I will be skilled and experienced enough to be on the same line as all the other applicants. I’m not there yet, but I will do my best to be. And then the past year will matter.

So while I’m depressing over all these awesome jobs I won’t get, I think about the ending scene of 21.


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