Mo Money, Mo Problems?

Alright, I know it’s distasteful and all to talk money, but let’s talk money.

Isn’t it nice to have money? Actually, let’s be real–it’s less about having money, and more about being able to do the things that only money can buy.

Like for example, traveling. Maybe even more specifically, traveling to visit your family, so that you don’t feel quite so much like you’re half a world away from the ones you love.

Or, you know, living in a house with two jacuzzis. Cause, like, the first one is for regular use, and the second is for when Benedict Cumberbatch comes to visit, you know, like breaking out the fine china.

Don’t get me wrong–I knowingly made the tough and possibly irrational decision to be poor–like, dirt poor–in the hopes of finding a career that I can love, but this whole working for free thing is really kind of a bummer and a total demotivator. (“Come on, Tasha, you have to get up early tomorrow morning because you don’t want to be late for work!” “Why, so they can fire me from my free labor?”)

And what’s worse is that we live in a society that perpetuates and expands the income gap. The phrase, “Money makes Money” has never wrung more true when you think about the stock market, retirement funds, or even starting a business or getting an education. If you want to save, invest, or create, you have to have money. And usually lots of it.

But I guess the thing that irritates me and gets me down the most is that I have to spend money to work for free. Honestly, getting college credit in exchange for an internship is the most ridiculous concept that capitalism has ever pooped out. I mean, it’s fantastic for employers: companies don’t even have to outsource for those teeny-tiny, mundane tasks that usually clog up workflow for paid employees. But for the students doing the internships? I’d honestly like to Chuck-Norris-round-house-kick whoever the bureaucratic you-know-what is who came up with this as the solution to preventing labor lawsuits.

I feel I must clarify here that this isn’t to say that internships aren’t valuable and students shouldn’t do them. I’d be a hypocrite if I said that, seeing as I’ve had three internships of my own. I’m not even saying that all internships need to be paid–only one of mine did. Internships are actually really useful for several reasons; my personal two reasons for choosing to do all of my internships were the industry experience and getting acquainted with what a career in said industry might look like (publishing, film, marketing, etc) and the job connections. Hey, if you’re working for free, you gotta hope that it’ll lead to something paid at some point.

All I’m saying is that 99% of us young’uns looking for internships really don’t mind working for free if we’re getting exposure to the career world we want to be a part of. But 100% are pissed when that non-existent check turns into a very real tuition bill. Honestly, how does it makes sense at all that I have to pay to work for free? You could say that I’m “paying for the experience,” but that’s a crock of bologna. Yes, I am getting experience, but 98% of that is getting coffee, filling out excel sheets, writing up mundane documents that I don’t need three months to master, etc–things that sure, I might need to know how to do in the work world, but not things that paid employees spend a lot of time doing.

And it’s not like any of us need the college credit, either. Here again, 99% are only taking this or that “internship” credit class so that we can make it past the interview rounds and actually let our bosses see our potential. Most colleges don’t require an internship credit to graduate, and most don’t even require a certain number of extra courses to graduate, so then taking this course not only risks damage to GPAs and sucking my savings dry, but it’s an extra thing on top of already crazy/busy college lifestyles.

Moral of the story (and the short version of this whole rant):

99% of us don’t mind working for free in exchange for industry experience. But the second you tack on a college education requirement, the second I begin to hate you.

Circling back to this idea of having lots of money, I realize that money is never really going to solve any of my problems. In fact, the more money you have, the more stress you have to deal with by keeping track of it all (I’m supposing, seeing as I have no first-hand experience with that). And honestly? I really like being poor in the sense that it grounds me; it forces me to really think about what’s necessary and what’s fluff, and really appreciate simple living. It helps me focus on the most important thing in life: my relationships with other people.

But it does burn me that I’m burning through my savings so that I can provide free labor via coffee runs and menial tasks. It’s especially frustrating when everything has a dollar sign in front of it, including things like writing classes that might help jumpstart my career and health costs to take care of my physical and mental well-being.

And you hear things like, “Everybody goes through it,” and “It’s what you gotta do” like free labor is some right of passage. What I find particularly discouraging about this is that, even though everyone sympathizes, no one has done anything to change it. It’s like hitting my head against a brick wall repeatedly while someone stands by and says, “Oh yeah, I definitely went through a period where I was in those shoes…guess you gotta just keep working at it.”

But then again, what can you do, besides raising a voice  to the heavens and hoping your prayers are carried across the wind? Idk, too poetic?

Alright, I gotta stop ranting before I put another abbreviation in the kitchen. (in the kitchen? I’ll stop talking now.)

Yours truly,

tlc

Being Stupid

Sometimes, you have to ignore the practical mindset, and take stupid risks.  This, at least, is how I feel about moving out to LA.

That’s right, I finally officially said it: I’m moving out to LA…or, at least, that’s the plan at the moment.

I know–I’m sorry, I haven’t been fully straight with you. I know I promised we were in this struggle–errr, ahem, journey–together, and that I would be upfront and honest about exactly what it is I’ve gone through this semester. And for the most part, I have. I’ve only really left out the specific application details because I didn’t want to spout off about future plans and then have to come back next week and tell you all about how those weren’t actually going to be my plans, because I got rejected.  So in other words, I didn’t want to look like more of a loser than I already am.

But, now is the time: I will tell you all, because there are some very valuable things to be learned from my experiences.  First, though, I want to put a disclaimer here that my plans are still not set in stone. Things could change tomorrow, or next week, or two months from now–I refuse to take anything as solidly official until I am actually there, doing it, because the line of work I am pursuing right now is a fickle and constantly changing one. Therefore, if, next week–or two months from now–I write to tell you that I am doing something completely different from what I have planned right now, do not be alarmed; be thankful (with me) that I have at least found something to replace any plans that have fallen through. But for now, here it is:

In the fall, I will be moving to LA and working as a development intern for Phoenix Pictures (if all goes according to plan). I was offered the internship earlier this month, and exact dates and plans will be set (hopefully) later in July.  This internship is unpaid (unfortunately–but what can you do?) but is part time, so I will have the flexibility to work part time for a paying job to make rent each month.

I’m going to be honest with you: at first, I was embarrassed to announce that I had accepted an unpaid internship; like I noted in my last post, my idea of success has always been getting good grades, graduating, and getting a financially stable job doing something related to my field of interest.  However, I’ve realized over the last few weeks that it’s not about that at all–success is pursuing what you love, doing what you love, and I’m still trying to figure that out. I have always been interested in film and television, and I’ve always dreamed of working in the industry–pretty much ever since I was old enough to watch a Disney film.  So, though I won’t be putting my college education directly to use by means of gaining a communications job in an office somewhere, I will be utilizing the writing skills and analytic training I have gained through my degree to pursue a more creative career.

I’m taking this one step at a time. I have a summer job lined up with Duke TIP in San Antonio, as a creative writing TA at Trinity University, and then will be heading to LA sometime in August, most likely. I’ll do this internship, hopefully, and (also hopefully) find work to help pay the rent while I’m out there, and (extremely hopeful) try to find a PA gig through networking or (if I’m extremely lucky) through my internship. But, if, somewhere in between there, plans fall through, or things aren’t working out, or I realize I’m not happy with the direction I’m going, I’ll start looking for something else, maybe move back home, and start from square one. Anything is possible. Like I said, one step at a time.

I started looking into internships out in LA back in January (I applied for Duke TIP back in January, too).  I made my interests known to two different alumni groups on Facebook, and made a contact there that has gone out of his way to send my resume and general cover letter to every contact and internship opportunity he has heard about. I got lucky, and did really well on a script coverage sample for an application that I never expected to hear about–and then, to top it off, by chance, the summer internship turned into a fall internship instead (to get around me needing to take it for credit), which ultimately worked out for the best, because it meant that I could still take my paid summer job with Duke TIP. Like I said, I got really lucky.  Now, that internship application came in late March, and the offer came in early April. I had been applying and looking for jobs and internships at this point for around three months.  In total, I’ve had about six phone interviews and two script coverage sample applications. I can’t tell you how many internships my contact has actually submitted my resume to. More than I could ever count, certainly. I’ve only had the one offer.

Now besides those, I’ve spent countless hours looking into communications jobs, social media jobs, internships, and Disney things–besides the college program, I applied for twenty five professional internships–none of which I ever heard back from. I spent a lot of time looking into job opportunities abroad as well.  I’ve visited the career center several times, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or talk about. I still am not 100% sure what it is I want to do.

My point is this: job hunting takes a long time. You’re going to face rejection–even if you’re good. It’s just going to happen. But most importantly, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do yet. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to be exploring for a while. Maybe longer than a while–maybe I’ll still be figuring out what it is I want to do when I retire. But you know, I’m kind of excited about it. I’m certainly freaked out–paying the bills is a worrisome thing–but I’m excited to discover. To get out, and just do. That’s the job I’ve really accepted after graduation: the job of doing.

Best wishes until next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Long Time No See

Sooooo my one week away from blog posts due to my trip to London turned into a three week hiatus…it has been quite the hustle to get caught up and back on track with all of my school work and job applications. Actually, I’m still not completely caught up. This has been the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants semester. I am surprisingly busy for an English major who is not taking any traditional literature courses this semester. But I suppose I honestly prefer this to sitting around with nothing to do.

Okay, so now to the good stuff: what have I been doing these last three weeks, and have I found a job yet?

Well, the quick answer to the second part of that question is no, I have not. But more on that in a minute. As far as what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks goes: well, to start with, I spent my spring break in London, being a complete tourist and momentarily satisfying my wanderlust. It was an absolutely fantastic week, filled with a lot of insightful time to myself, traveling among the different parts of London, seeing the sights and watching the people.  When I returned home I was absolutely exhausted, and feel that I must have slept more than I was awake for the next week. I have certainly not kept such a good bedtime in my entire life.  This also meant I was a bit behind on schoolwork, though, as I simply could not keep my eyes open long enough at night to finish my work early.

Honestly, had I not also been applying for a few internships that required I create writing samples for them, I probably wouldn’t have been behind or needed so much time to catch up.  That’s right, I have a couple leads on internships! (Cross your fingers–everything is still completely up in the air).

But, in thinking about these possible internships, and looking into my immediate plans for after graduation–especially after taking some time to myself in London–I am coming to terms with myself and finally finding some peace about my lack of a job after graduation.  I am confident I am not alone when I say that I have felt, and have put on myself, a  significant amount of pressure to have a job by the time I graduate.  For some reason, my idea of general success has always been that of someone who either has a job by the end of their time in college, or has been accepted into a respectable graduate program.

But I am starting to believe that its okay that I do not have a full-time “Big Kid” job to enter into immediately after school. I am starting to get much more excited about the multitude of opportunities ahead of me to experience several different fields of work.  I am excited to explore, and hopefully support myself along the way.  Yes, it is still frightening not to have financial security, but I believe this is the path I have chosen, subconsciously, because I’d rather face financial uncertainty than mundane security.  I have always wanted to live, and experience, meet, and explore–something I can’t do from the same apartment and the same job in the same office month after month.  I think this has been a long time coming, but–particularly after my two professional internships–I’m learning that I am not an office person. I do not want to work in an office atmosphere for the rest of my life. I like to be on my feet, working with my hands, conversing with people and seeing a positive end result for the work that I do.

So no,  I do not have a job yet, but I am attacking the job search process with a renewed hope, a new angle, and a much more enthusiastic attitude!  My advice to those of you still searching in despair?  Let go of the pressure to have a job lined up by graduation: it’s okay. Be willing to accept the possibilty of being a waiter, or barista if need be.  Explore, and keep hope! You will find your place.

Until Next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

It’s A Good Thing My Film Professor Won’t Read This

It’s a good thing he won’t even see this post, because I’m not sure he even has a Facebook page, and if he does, we are not friends. I say this, not because I don’t like my film professor–I do, he’s a bit tangential, but his class is still informative–but because I’m typing this as I sit in his class, listening (as best as you can while multitasking) to his lecture.

Now, hear me out: I’m not one of those terrible students who is always on the internet and never listening during class.  In fact, it’s the opposite–this is an anomaly for me; a choice that I am driven to out of a necessity to keep myself accountable amidst a very busy day. (Just to reassure you that I am still listening to my professor, at the moment he is discussing art forms in motion–painting, sculpture, and architecture–and the ways in which these play into the larger idea of art and interplay as a whole, particularly in concern to film).

This has been my entire week.  After my disappointing web interview with the Disney College program, I had my orientation day for my campus job at the Spencer Research Library–I get to work with artifacts and books that are 100+ years old!–and my interview with Target for their executive leadership program (a path that I am drawn away from more and more as I realize it leaves very little opportunity for use of my writing skills).  I then spent the weekend at home again–I think I’ve been home more in the last two months than I have in the last year as a whole–in order to get some things finished that I had to do in my home town. Today, I spent the first half of my day at the Spencer, working, then went to class, camped at Allen Field House for the game, and am now (obviously) in class again (we have now moved on to specific films that demonstrate the idea of “mash-up” or rather, combination art and art-techniques), and tonight I will go to Allen Fieldhouse yet again to watch one of the last home basketball games I may ever be able to see in person (who knows if I’ll be able to afford tickets once I’m out of school?). I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath.

I know I’m not the only one who has these types of days, and I’m sure I should count myself lucky for not having more of them, but my list of things to do continues to get increasingly longer, with no seeming end in sight.  If it’s not homework–and my goodness, how homework has always kept me busy, and never before has it felt so much like busy work!–then it’s job and internship applications, adjusting resumes and cover letters, job-related work, or other work-type commitments. The only way I find I don’t make myself crazy is by letting myself go to the gym and run off extra steam in whatever spare moments I have, and taking a few minutes out of my day to just let my brain ‘de-fuzz’.

I probably make myself sound more stressed out than I actually am. The truth is, the reason I feel so busy is because I am letting myself have those moments of enjoyment–I am letting myself go to the basketball game tonight, even though I have plenty of things I could be doing to keep me busy this evening. I stop and talk to my friends, and take a few minutes out of my day to read, or eat, or do something just for me, that I want to do, not that I need to do. Of course, it’s put me a bit behind in my list of all the things I want and need to do and apply for, but I don’t want to look back at this semester and only remember staring at a computer screen, or interviewing for jobs. I have my whole life to work (and hopefully I will find employment to back that statement up sooner rather than later) and I want to enjoy the people and opportunities around me.

Still, it is stressful. Probably the most stressful time of my life I have experienced thus far. I know that, unfortunately, this will probably not be the most stressful thing I ever experience, but the ambiguity of my future is, naturally, a worrisome ordeal. I find that if I stop to think too long on the possibilities of my living situation in even three months’ time, I begin to panic. I am sure–or, at least I hope–that I am not alone in these feelings.  I wish that there was a smoother time of transition into careers or post-grad life than these crazy, class and homework-filled semesters; if students could have an entire semester that was simply devoted to honing application and resume writing, job-search training, and career information/exploration, my life would be so much less stressful right now.

I write about this wishful thinking, my musings, and my worries, not to whine, but because that is where I am at in this stage of the job search/post-grad transition process right now. I feel as though I have “loved and lost” in the few applications and interviews I have had thus far.  But, just like dating, there’s a reason we keep at it, right?  Because hopefully, we’ll strike a chord of luck and wind up happy.

So, I’ll keep multitasking to keep my head above water, and enjoying the little moments whenever I can, and for those of you out there who are in the same boat (what’s with all of these water metaphors all of a sudden? I must be thirsty) I hope you do the same.  Stick with it. You aren’t alone in your worries, I promise.

Keep on Keepin’ on, til next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc