Pullout Sep 21, 2011 at 4:00 am

A Stranger Intern on Having Just Graduated College and Entering the Job Market Right Now


Journalism is a poor career choice in the 21st century.
If you apply for any real Journalism jobs don't mention your internshit at The Stranger.
You forgot the subheading under "be smart about what school you pick." One needs to be just as wise with their major.
"Don't get too set on anything."

This. I'm older now, and I've had 4 major career changes, and am about to embark on a 5th. What you chose to do with your life and career at age 20 isn't set in stone. It can change over time, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I graduated from the UW with three majors (art history, cinema studies, and speech communications). Sure, I could have interesting conversations with a variety of people, but I was ill-equipped to enter the corporate workplace with mere soft skills and no specific trade or program knowledge. I was able to get by for a few years "building a career" in marketing, but realized that companies were behind the curve in optimization and digital advertising, which was something I'd learned entering the marketing field at the time that I did. So I started my own agency. This was 2004, and as a niche, web-based business I was very busy, though mostly on contract with small local companies and startups. And, as many contractors will tell you, working from home isn't as glamorous or free as it sounds -- in fact, it's downright depressing, particularly through a depression.

After 6 years on my own I reluctantly made the decision to re-enter the corporate workplace, but have since realized that trading flexibility and billable hours for security, stability and benefits will be best for me and my future family. My future husband, a journalism-school dropout (he hated the acct exec types) who now keeps busy as an Art Director/gig poster designer/music writer is able to contract doing what he loves because I'm now running global strategy for social and digital marketing at a large B2B company. The stability we have far outweighs the glamour of being a pajama-clad sole-proprietor.

Moral of the story? Meet as many people as you can (my personal network saved me on more than one occasion when "budgets ran out" or a contract dropped out from under me), and be sure to learn a trade or specific programs. Learn RoR, Drupal and other dev languages. Baby boomers are retiring by the thousands every day - healthcare will be stable, as will web jobs IF you can stay ahead of the curve.

And don't believe what people tell you. Journalism is a fantastic degree to have, even if you don't use it professionally.
Most everyone I graduated with got a job through connections and references. So make friends.
As someone who worked full time while going to night school, my sympathy for you is limited.
Another journalism student/hopeful exploited by a newspaper that believes intern labor should be free. And so the market sets its own price for "journalism"... nothing.
Real journalism skills -- meaning critical thinking, research, developing relationships and contacts, collating information, writing clearly and concisely (you know, all the stuff you didn't learn at The Stranger) -- are invaluable in any field.

I majored in journalism and now work in high tech -- along with one guy who majored in philosophy and another who went to Berklee College of Music. I don't have figures, but a larger percentage of people work in fields unrelated to their college major (by choice, but just those forced to by the current economy).

College is not a trade school, and some of us aren't cut out to be accountants or civil engineers.
The only real point of college is to make friends and contacts that will help you gat a job later. Socialize and avoid an Internet only degree at all costs.
Well this article just depressed me, as I graduated college having basically done none of that

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