I went to dinner with a friend yesterday who had a career and then got married and became a mommy, fortunate enough to be able to stay home to child rear. Wind forward many years and a brand spanking new college degree and she is chomping at the bit to anchor the news on TV.
Age discrimination in the TV news biz is fairly common – swept under the rug by ratings about ‘viewer preference’, for seasoned professionals with many years of on-air experience. What would it be like for a middle aged woman with only internship experience? To complicate the matter, the small market we live has few opportunities for employment in the media – with the exception of sales, which churns and burns through account executives like Pampers, and five colleges in the same county popping out perky broadcast journalism majors like donuts at Dunkin.
With the exception of a few local sticky long-timers on the tube, this is a farmer’s market that grows reporters and anchors for larger metros. She isn’t able to uproot her family and take off for a job if she found one somewhere else… What is she thinking?
I did not allow the empathy I have for her on a personal level to overshadow logic. I suggested perhaps a job in an organization that would have some aspect of communication to it, maybe training videos, internal, external or both – and to start fulfilling her dreams on her own rather than being over the top frustrated and defeated by employer rejection, by learning more about social media and staring in her own Internet based media empire, allowing her to drive her own success (albeit on off work hours). Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And maybe, just maybe, if she is particularly star-a-licious, she would get recognized and picked up by commercial media and prove me completely wrong – I would love to be wrong like that…
I could have easily said, don’t give up, you’re great, they don’t know what their doing, knock on their doors every week till you land the job of your dreams…. nah, it wouldn’t be right to drive her to Xanaxville. After all, we are not defined by our job title or employer. Employment is hokey concept designed by the greedy haves to have more. No matter how you paint it or embelish it with flowery Confucian prose like
Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life…
unless you are an entrepreneur or freelancer, most jobs are a way to pay the bills and have some disposable cash for instant gratification. Go ahead argue with me about how invested you are in your career, how much you love your job, how wonderful your employer is, how meaningful your work is.. I understand, you have to tell yourself that so that you can deal with working under a feudalistic arrangement that makes someone else a lot of money and continues to divide the classes. Ouch..
If you’re not an entrepreneur, a job is a means to an end. Get a job you don’t mind doing that doesn’t torture your psyche or body, and compensates you fairly for your work. Take your earnings and use them to enjoy your life and fulfill your dreams.
Sometimes, making decisions about what’s really important and quality of life can be tricky. So too can be having realistic expectations – when we have been taught to be competitive, not to settle and to reach for the stars. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stretch yourself , I’m saying you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure.
Don’t listen to those wolves in sheep’s clothing who will preach the ether of a sexy career… They are Satan’s spawn.
Me? Well, around the middle of 2011 I started to feel severely under challenged. It seemed that no matter how much I worked, no matter the project, speaking engagement, volunteer effort or social experiment, nothing was doing it for me and I couldn’t really figure out what was missing. I was stumped wondering what was wrong with me. I had practically given all of my energy, time and brain cells over to work – work I ‘love’ but there was little balance except for sleep and an occasional Wii fitness game.
It wasn’t about doing more of what I was already doing (I was doing plenty of that), it was about doing something different – and then I figured it out. I was missing creative expression above and beyond blogging and work. My last personal expression project was interior decorating what seems like eons ago. Since I’m not looking to give up what I do for a living at the moment, I have decided to make 2012 a year for creativity – and I’m going to subject my readers to those pieces that are related to careers, human capital management and social media. That’s right, HR art.
Don’t Try to Fool Yourself.
“The Jonses ain’t got nothin’ on me” by Karla Porter, is a mixed media collage representing personal satisfaction and happiness with one’s self through lack of preoccupation about the the lives and possessions of others.