What do you do with a BA in Journalism?

I have continued to remember my degree recently. I don’t know if it is the unemployment, or my significant other finishing his degree. But I continue to remember the song from Avenue Q called, What do you do with a BA in English?. NSFW

I however feel it applies to all writing jobs. I have a writing degree and like to write but feel like I can’t get a break because everyone feels like the can do better and some can. However, I have been writing longer than you and can judge audiences and theme to help you succeed. I’m tired of this shit. I can’t even get an interview now all of a sudden. Really November December = no interviews!  Maybe that is why that song is followed by It Sucks to be Me.

But if you notice we all follow up each other’s, my life sucks stories with something worse.  Basically until someone says, ‘I have/had cancer’ or ‘My mom died’ then you keep trying to one up the other person.  So, I guess we need to stop talking about life sucking and lift ourselves up by our bootstraps.

So, what can I do with a writing degree?

  • Write a book – to be honest I do have the spare time
  • Start a blog – CHECK
  • Write for a newspaper – look for the not dying ones
  • Copywriting – Writing about shiny things for any paying business
  • Editing – face it, not everyone knows where Speck Check is
  • Teaching – because there are bunches of retired people that want to write their epic
  • Public Relations – known, not so nicely, as Spin Doctors

All snarkiness aside these are viable careers for anyone who is a writer and has a similar training to me.  I guess on the bright side it is a list.  I know if I was in a better mood or trying to cheer someone up other than myself it would probably be much longer.  For now, it is a god list and I can always update this post on a brighter day career-wise.

 

 

Advice for the Unemployed

After doing years of informational interviews I was recently asked to be the interviewee instead of the interviewer.  It was a weird switch for me especially after being unemployed and laid off so many times.  But it made since at the same time because not being successful means that I get to give the hard advice.  I tried to to sound bitter but at the same time I wanted her to know that it isn’t always butterflies and bunnies in the workplace.

The advice is stuff I too need to follow myself too but now I want everyone to see it.  Hopefully those recently unemployed or laid off will take what they can from it.

First, EVERYONE should watch this video because of the wisdom that he imparts are the things that no one ever tells you.  It is a little over 15 minutes in, but well worth it.

Contact, contacts, contacts

  • Always keep your contacts fresh:  Take them out to coffee or email them quarterly.
  • Attend networking events
  • Get a mentor
  • Christmas cards/baskets = awesome
  • Join ANY and all networking groups you feel fit your needs.  YPOP, PRSA, AMA
  • Many jobs aren’t advertised so you want to make sure they know your name from somewhere positive

Metal Health is Still Important

  • Keep a savings account so you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics.  Enough for a few months at least.
  • Keep a hobby or two that has nothing to do with your job – makes you less worn out and keeps the ideas flowing

If you don’t want any one to see it then don’t put it on the internet

  • Drunk/NSFW (Not Safe For Work) pics
  • Negative former/current job statements
  • Misinterpreted comments

Life sometimes sucks

  • Watch the Conan O’Brien graduation speech – sometimes you find the best in loss
  • Someone will steal your idea – at least you know it was good enough to steal
  • Someone will fire you for what appears to be no reason – if they are looking that hard you didn’t need to be there anyways
  • You will have huge fights with other employees. – sometimes you have to fight to earn each other’s respect
  • Your plans will fail – learn from it and come back stronger
  • Sometimes people won’t just tell you what is wrong – ASK!

Communications Specific

Anyone can advertise

  • No one says it but many act like it, it may be your job to tell people the right and wrong principles and why.
  • Also, realize you won’t always win = just sit back and try to make it work
  • You may only be doing it for part of your job along with admin/project management/customer service etc.
  • But you will be measured on your advertising more than the others on average because of your degree.
  • We get laid off first – because anyone can advertise

6 Months of Uncertainty

Now it is official.  I have been unemployed for six months.  I do have some part-time jobs but nothing full-time or enough to cover my bills.  I have been a problem of the state for months now.  Since my six months of unemployment insurance have passed, I now have nothing to fall back on because that is what I am offered by the government.  I can apply through another state that has NO call waiting so I end up getting hung up on 100’s of times just to apply because there is no way for me to apply in person.

Businessman With Thumb Down Over Falling Graph BackgroundStatistical Pitty Party
The I decided to read the statistics.  I looked up the Call Back stats first and discovered I may have a 2% or less chance of a call back now.  Which means I have to apply to 20x more jobs a week to even think about getting a call for an interview.  Fact is, I haven’t have a call for an interview in 3 months.  The last major job I thought I had didn’t even call me back to say, “We went with someone else.”  While there is a part of me that understands you can’t call everyone, an email would have been nice.  Especially since I made it to the 3rd interview.

Identity Crisis

I like many people who have been laid off in this economy are having an identity crisis.  I was so sure when I was in high school and college that I was going to be amazing.  I was even encouraged to join teams that won big awards.  However, now that amounts to nothing more than a class ring in the back of a jewelry drawer.

It isn’t just the folks who had jobs for 5 or 10 years and then were laid off who are feeling this.  I knew in my head I was going to be a great communications person.  I would help companies and they were going to have fun doing it.  But now I feel like everyone thinks I am a hack.  I can’t introduce myself as anything.  I don’t even have anything to follow back on other than student of life or as others say it “Student of the School of Hard Knocks.”

To School or Not to School?

Now everyone is asking me, “Are you going to go back to school?”

And all I can think of is, “For what?”

I have a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best Journalism schools in the country.  I could go back for a Master’s but who is looking for someone with a Master’s of Communication?  I haven’t seen a single job asking for that.  Most of them ask for a MBA not a MC.

Then my mentors encourage me to get an Accreditation.  Yes, communications has a bunch of accreditations, much like technology that are expensive but make you look expensive as well.  I hear more employers at my old jobs and church saying that they can’t afford to hire those people because they expect a certain about of pay for something that “should be easy.”

So it is either pay for some pretty letters at the end of my name that could price me out of the market or I need to go back to square one and figure out what I want to do with my life.  Pardon me while I dance for joy.

“Find your Passion” Right

Now some people would say this is an opportunity to, “go find yourself.”  Well, part of me found her in the short amount of jobs that I have done. That is why I studied what I studied.  I found myself in my degree, otherwise, why would I do it?  But now I got to find myself again?  People keep saying, “I still haven’t found myself,” and those people are my parent’s age.  Really gives me hope for finding a good job.

Looking in New Places

But sometimes I do find passions in unexpected places.  I like working with people to help them get the word out about products I like.  For instance, right now I am working with a great gaming company, Gut Bustin Games, and I love doing sales calls.  Oddly enough I never felt comfortable before doing sales call but now I really like it because I get to tell people about a fun game that is silly.  I get to be a geek at a job that I didn’t expect.  Maybe that will go somewhere more.

Review Your Life

So, maybe go see what you like doing.  It sounds cliche but maybe it is a cliche because it works.  Take the time to look at the things that make you happy.  If you think about what you are going to make for dinner more than your project then maybe it is time to become a cook.  If you like talking to people about the earrings you just made or everyone is asking about the crochet hats you made for the holidays, it could be time to become an artist and open that etsy store.  I had a friend do that and now she is getting asked to crochet specific high end projects.

But also, you could like the thrill of the RFP or the ability to helping a person’s computer get back to working order.  Then, go out and find the career that feeds your soul, in whatever way works for you.

My full dream:   To have a job I love so much I don’t really fell like I am working.

Millenials Are Stronger Than You

I guess this blog is evolving much like my life isn’t lately.  I have been unemployed for six months now.  I have been trying to find a new job in many different careers.  It use to not be as much of a problem but for some reason this time has been hell on wheels.  Yeah, you probably think I am just one of those whiny millienials but really?!

Sob Story

Here is a sob story for you:

  1. Got out of college + had an internship for 1 month = Fired (Your not a good fit)
    • Pros – Met my boyfriend of 5 years that weekend
    • Cons – It took me a year to find another job in my field and I worked as a waitress which isn’t my fortay.
    • Also, the economy died the same week.
  2. After a failed internship at a startup + (a great internship at an agency + renewed contracts + them creating a job for me) = Laid off
    • Pro – I got some beautiful experience and met the best people in the world
    • Con – Had just moved into a new apartment the weekend before, economy still sucked, had turned down a job offer from a friend at another great agency because “I was at a great company already.
  3. Found another great startup + surgery = Laid off
    • Pro – More wonderful experience with a great company and another great title to add to my resume also, not laid off because of my surgery leave.
    • Con – Lay off part 2 makes it less, “life sucks” and a little more “you might suck”  + laid off in the middle of the summer
  4. Finally found a place I fit + Everyone I like leaving = Laid off
    • Pro – Well, finally finding a great workplace with lots to do and I thought I helped
    • Con – Everyone who was the great part of the company left.  It didn’t need someone like me even though I did so much despite what other managers thought.

After that, please people, tell me that I am a whiny millennial.  I have worked my butt off.  This isn’t all the jobs I had in the last 5 years since graduation.  I have had paying 6 jobs in the last 5 years that were in my field.  It isn’t like I haven’t tried to stay and help the companies be successful.  If you count the jobs that I took part time or was not paid for I have had almost 10 jobs in 5 years.

Please, tell me that I am not applying myself.

I’m Just Mad

I guess I am just mad at the world.  A world where people don’t have retirement enough to retire so I can’t take a job at the company because everything is filled by skilled works like my parents and grandparents.  A world where I don’t get a job until I have experience and I can’t get experience without a job.  Or an unpaid internship and living in a studio apartment on food stamps.

I have been on government assistance for most of the time I have been unemployed.  I saved money but it is never enough to cover rent, bills, and food.

I Failed

All millennial feel like we have failed to live the “American Dream” that we were sold as children.  We were suppose to have the perfect job offer within months of being out of school with a short stint as a waitress.  Not months and years of people saying, “no,” “get experience,”, or “you aren’t a good fit.”

But It Doesn’t Mean I Gave Up

But yet, I keep trying.  I get back on that perverbial horse and plug along.  Even if there are days that I yell at God and cry alone in my apartment when I see everyone around me doing something with their lives.

I go out and try for another job.  Look for the best parts of my last one to show to the next one.  Try to see what I learned at the last job as great experience.  “Always look on the bright side of life,” as Monty Python would say.

Millennials Aren’t Failures

So, no, I don’t think millennials are failures and it isn’t just because I am one.  It is because everyone one I meet is working their butts off to meet the right people.  Help each other find the best company and even give each other advice that other generations may have left out.  Yeah, we occasionally sound like the French judge at the Olympics but we are brutally honest about things from grammar to what we are looking for in a job.

It sounds silly but I still think I can change the world, even after almost 10 jobs in 5 years. That is the hope I try to resurrect every time I am met with a lay off.

Hope, that is what you can’t take away from millennials.

Girls, Science and Math

THere is a well known shortage of women in science and mathmatics careers in the United States that has hurt the innovation of our country.  Some people are trying to help change these numbers with non profits like camps to teach girls how to do code.  Others are creating products like Goldie Blox to encourage girls to learn how to use more motor and problem solving skills.  I would like to see these continue but I have to get something off my chest first.

School Failed
I found out recently a small bit of information my family thought was insignificant but because I am unemployed hit me a little harder.  I found out that when I was in school in my small town, my test scores for math and science were very high.  To the point that my mother asked why I wasn’t being put in a higher math class.  She was told that while my test scores were good they wanted to see how I faired in class.  So, instead of pushing me in to higher courses of study I remember getting more and more bored with math and science.

What makes me madder is that other students were pushed up to higher levels.  I also noticed it was the girls who had parents that made more money than mine.  I even had a math teacher that got bored one day and started teaching us calculus.  I still remember what he taught even though I never qualified for any calculus class at my high school.  It was one of the more interesting days I had at school.  But I was still kept in low level math classes so I never got interested in it.

Knowing now that I DID qualify for those classes really makes me mad and frustrates me.  I thought the adults in my school were looking out for me but they were just looking out for higher test scores so I could help their stupid little average.  While I suffered in boredom not learning anything new for years and years.  By the time I got to college I didn’t even attempt math because I had been put in low level classes at a low grade school so I thought it would take me all four years to get into a college level math course but now I know I would have placed relatively high.  I feel like I gave up on dreams because everyone told me I was stupid.

It caused me to even have issues calculating chemicals in science classes.  I had a teacher that got along with the jocks better so he didn’t have time to explain how to add them together in a way I understood.  So, I even gave up on being a chemist because I couldn’t add basic molecules together correctly.

Did it Really change your life? REALLY?

So, what didn’t I become because I couldn’t take the math?

  • Geneticist
  • Psychologist
  • ER Doctor
  • Coroner
  • Engineer
  • Crime Scene Investigator

Yeah, I know I was a weird child but these are things I really thought about becoming but because of the requirements in math I didn’t think I could do it.

Decide for Yourself

When I finally realized that I wasn’t going to be a chemist I decided to take the biology track from our other science teacher.  So, I learned how to dissect animals, anatomy, genetics and even wrote some lab reports with fruit flies.  I loved every minute of it.  Including working with animals that we were dissecting for weeks right before lunch.  This is where the coroner idea came in because the smell didn’t get to me and I could still eat lunch unlike the rest of the class.  I took every classes in available including honors courses which I had to fight for on occasions.

Fight for Your Girls

My mother did try to get me into higher classes but when they asked her to wait a year she just gave up on it.  The school knew best but sometimes they don’t.  Now, I wish she had fought harder but I know she had personal issues with the school so I don’t push it.

I encourage parents to ask their teachers, principals and even take it higher if you need to.  If you see your childern with good test score or look bored teach them yourself.  Get the math problems a year early, higher level books, watch Bill Nye for goodness sake.  These things help me stay interested even when school failed me.  Because math isn’t the only thing that didn’t work.  I learned that science can still be interesting.  Because if it can’t be a focus then it can be a wonderful hobby until the right teacher comes along.

Encourage the Girls

Don’t stop girls from playing with “boy’s toys”.  Show them new ways to solve problems.  Suggest new ideas.  Buy a Goldie Blox please!  Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Mythbusters.  The shows you think are crazy but could be fun.  Show them Science Fiction and kids science magazines.  Keep your girls intrigued by the world around them and never hold them back because you fear they won’t succeed.  You need to give them a chance to fly even if they fall out of the nest to start.

How to tell you have become a RPG geek

Being an Role Playing Game (RPG) geek and player I would like to go through some of the things that can prove that I am a true gamer.  Even if I am a girl.

  • You get excited to seem game paraphernalia
  • Your dice have ‘gotten mad at you’ when you start to have bad rolls
  • Playing in character can start to affect your day to day interactions with people (Rogues act more cunning in business deals, etc.)
  • There are different dice for different games, not just the game they came with.
  • You keep dice on you at all times just so that they will give you good rolls during your weekly game.
  • Start to think about bringing food to game rather than taking the customary food break because you don’t want to stop in the middle.
  • Set up dates inside a larger MMO with friends so that you always have a raiding party
  • Think about DM-ing just so you can attempt a total party kill where rock really do fall and everyone dies.
  • You think about game in terms of a whole day instead of an hour.
  • Explaining the length of time combat takes to a loved one is exceedingly hard and usually ends with, “You just need to play the game” or “you had to be there”
  • You have watched any Dead Gentleman Productions movies
  • Have referred to an absentee gamer as “Mark”
  • Have distinct opinions about Min/Max-ing
  • Have actually thought about bringing cookies for the DM/GM to get better luck/prizes that day.
  • Friendships have been created and destroyed by character decisions
  • You have switched dice in the middle of a game because “those dice hate me.”

If you have more to add to the list I would love to hear them.

Kitchen Geek

Well, I guess it is a stereo type that girls know how to cook and should really like it. Yeah, I fall into the stereotype but not in the way you might think from the movies and such.

I grew up in a household where the gender roles were swapped. This just meant that my mom loved doing yard work and my father preferred to do all the cooking. While my father is a great cook his meals tend to be, well, quick and more pantry oriented than fresh food. It has helped me save money over the years but people tend to stare at me when they ask where I learned to cook. It also didn’t help that I knew more about cooking from Hamburger Helper boxes and reading the labels on cans. But you play the hand you are dealt. However, I blame dad for helping me figure out how to make some mean nachos and breakfasts.

I like to say dad cooked more like a bachelor. I didn’t get any big family meals unless my mom or grandparents cooked. They big hearty Southern and Swedish meals just came from extended families. Beyond that I taught myself how to cook. I started with a few staple party dishes when I was in college. I was the girl who always brought salmon with dill butter. Usually went over well but when I met Vox, who isn’t a big fish fan, I had to learn a few new plates.

I started with dinners. Why? Because I was dating a wonderful guy and was short on funds. So, food stamps here I come. I went through recipes online and even learned to modify recipes for new friends with chocolate and onion allergies. Now I have at least 10 recipe books. I have at least 25 staple foods I make per year.

Including:

  • Truffles: at least 3 flavors
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Caramels
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies + the modification without chocolate
  • Spiral Honey Ham
  • Herb Butter Chicken
  • Mash Potatoes
  • Strawberry Cakes
  • Various cordials

There are more but I think you get the idea.

Now that I cook so much I find myself walking slowly through kitchen sections thinking, “does that product really make it easier?” or “Man I could really use a roasting pan. I’ll start pricing.” Things that when I was younger were just the boring section of the store are now the most interesting. I look for style in my serving ware and pricing. I have learned the difference between quality and price. For instance, I’ll start pricing something at a nice place and then realize when I have looked other places that the quality is worth the price. The older I get the more often I tend to just go for the low price at the best stores.

But part of my huge Amazon Wish List are things like a new kettle, cast iron dutch ovens, cute egg timers and the like. I love trying to find great cookbooks too. Which can be hard when you look for low fat and no fish.  Then there are the geeky utensils like the Star Trek pizza cutter or the all edges brownie pan.  I even have a brownie pan that cuts the squares for you.

I guess I have geeked out about my kitchen a bit lately. I like finding stuff on reduced prices and I did that today. Nicely before Black Friday and Thanksgiving.

Once again, a thing I didn’t think was geeky but got me going some how into a full blog post. What do you geek out about that isn’t quite geeky?