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When Your "Relevant Experience" Expires

Four years ago I sat in Phi Beta Kappa hall at the College of William and Mary, wondering what in the hell I was going to do with my life (and expensive degree) when I was supposed to be taking line notes for a play (I was an assistant stage manager). I Googled "Catholic Volunteer Programs," found a few, applied and then after graduation moved to Pennsylvania to live with nuns for a year and be a social worker.

Today I sit in a similar boat. I'm at my social work job, thinking about my upcoming May graduation from Temple University's Masters of Journalism program. I think about how I'm entering a changing and at times dying field. I think about how the last time I freelanced was in the early 2000s and no one cares if I was a freelance reporter for my local bi-weekly newspaper during high school.

My HTML CSS3 skills are novice at best. I'm only somewhat familiar with Search Engine Optimization. And now I think I'm falling in love with magazine writing...an impossible field to break into these days without a myriad of internships under your belt. When you go to school part time and work full time you find you have NO TIME for an internship. It is impossible.

When I hear of my fellow journo classmates getting great jobs or epic internships, I am happy for them but I also wonder if I'm way behind in "the game." The past four years of my work history have consisted of assisting homeless kids and performing social work duties. Honorable, yes...relevant? No. My professional profile is made up of my assignments I completed during my coursework at Temple. Nothing was published and the multimedia editing is good but not stellar.

The odds of me obtaining a job in the media/journalism field that pays what I make now or more are very low. I'd have to settle for PR/Communications for academia to earn that kind of pay. I think I'd enjoy that but that is far away from journalism. That is borderline marketing.

I have until May. I have until after May. I am currently employed, bills are getting paid, health insurance is decent. However....eventually...soon...I want to start my CAREER. I just have to figure out what I need to do to break into it.

Until next time...


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