Monday, March 24

Don't work for "the man" (even if you like his shows)

With graduation approaching, I've been spending more time than ever searching for a job. I'm pretty savvy at finding jobsites and listings, and have found several summer jobs and internships this way. Looking for a "real" job, though, seems more scary.

I want to find the perfect job. I feel this incredible pressure for this job to be the "right" one, as though it will define me for the rest of my life. It's all right if it's entry level, but it has to be on some kind of path that fits with where I "want to end up" (which, by the way, I don't even know).

I struggle with this all the time. Do I want to be a writer? A director? Producer? Am I drawn to those positions because they represent creative control? It must be the ambitious capitalist in me that wants to reach to the top.

"Do you want to do high art or low art?" My dad asked me tonight, after I had vaguely explained the difference (think art films vs. broadcast TV).

"Well..." I faltered. "I want to have an impact on peoples' lives." A lot of 'high art', I imagine, doesn't get noticed or isn't understandable except to art or film history academics. Impact, in the sense of affecting people outside the elite art world, could be minimal. The trade-off: programs that aren't controversial enough to turn viewers off. Definitely not my style. But still...

"If more people are watching, I can impact more people in the world, right?" (So, sneak something controversial in without people noticing)

"Well, is that really what you want to be spending your time on?"

I pursed my lips. The idea of dedicating my life to something like Project Runway leaves me feeling empty. Sure, people enjoy the show; I was definitely hooked at one point. But I don't know if I want to spend hours upon hours making something about fashion and cat fights.

So, if I follow my dad's advice and work on things because I actually like them and not because I want to brainwash the world*... I feel better about myself, but a little less certain about a steady income.

*Kidding... maybe


Odette said...

Wow I can very much relate to what you are going through right now! Although politics and government is my field I have the same dilemas about where to go and what to do. As horrible as it is to say I have been out of school for 4 years and still haven't figured it out. One piece of advice I do have though is go out and do whatever it is that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. You con't buy happiness (cliche I know but I have learned that it's true) so even if you are not making the money you want you will be happier with your life in general and at the end of the day (to me anyway) that makes life more worth while.

Wanderlusting said...

Totally gonna be in your shoes in a week :) it's exciting but nerve-wracking, isn't it? And we're in the same field too...

PS - hope you start feeling better soon!

Harley Lo said...

OMG I feel your pain. I'm graduating this spring as well, and the stress of finding a "real" job is insane. For some reason I feel this overwhelming pressure to have my whole life set and in order before I turn 30 which means I only have 7 years left. I know this is unrealistic but I can't help it.
I have no idea what I want to do with myself.

Wanderlusting said...

PS - If you want "creative control" you might want to pass on being a screenwriter.

Having a script that's going through a possible option at the moment, I can tell you first hand that once you sign those papers (and if you want money, you must sign them) you pretty much sign your baby away and relinquish all control.

I've come to terms that selling my script - even on an option - is a sacrifice you have to make if you want to succeed (in that field) and I do.

But if you want to take creative control, hold on to your script, be the producer and make it yourself. I'm just too lazy to do that (if school has taught me anything), so I'm happy to just sell the damn thing lol!!

The Ambiguous Blob said...

Are you going to LA or NY? Either way, you're going to start at the very bottom and will have to kiss agent ass until you've "proved" yourself to be awesome enough for a promotion.
Whatever you decide, if you stay in it long enough, you'll move up in the ranks.
Please please remember when you get up to the top of your organization, you were once that fresh-from-school assistant and be sweet to them.

Anonymous said...

Do something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and the money will cease to be important.

Anonymous said...

Excluding few details that post could have been about my life! So I know where you're coming from.

For me it's that there's a Dream Job I'd do anything for to get. But in reality, I don't think there is any hope of me getting it, as there is pretty much exactly 30 companies to do it with. Of course if you expand the criteria to Dream Job in Almost as Awesome Industry then we're talking about 100 companies.

And to make it more troublesome, all of those would mean I'd need to move to another country. So the realistic side of me is looking for a decent job here, while spending half of the time terrified that I'm going to be stuck in the wrong country, doing something I don't really want to do.

So yeah, I feel you.


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D. Harris said...

Wow, I'm sorry your dad is feeling the effects of a jacked up economy. It seems these days that there are no affordable places to life anymore, even though the housing bubble has burst! Good luck finding "affordable" living in NY. I have a number of friends there that made the move right out of college. They are surviving but it isn't easy.

Oh and cookie cutters, I HATE THEM! You are so right and it seems suburban neighborhoods are falling victim to convenient building, as I like to call it.

Eebie said...

Hey, forgive me if this sounds like advice cuz I don't give advice, I just share my story and stories I've heard...

It's ok to not know what you want. Try and try again, that journey is so important. With people making 3-5 career changes let alone changes between companies, it is important to understand that your career will be dynamic. People that I saw who are happy and happy with their accomplishments have taken every experience as being able to add new skills to their resume. (You may not find what you are passionate about until 10 yrs from now but skills acquired working on, say, Project Runway may be very beneficial to fulfilling that passion.)

Claudel said...

wth? don't ever let your job define your life, that's like THE most stupid thing to do in your life and eventually can ruin it of course. You can have 23400230423 jobs in your entire life and that's not just because you can't keep a job, its just you'll never be happy enough with THAT one and you'll always want one that makes you happe atm, because ya noe present IS infinite. Many people just get jobs because they HAVE to, because they HAVE to pay the bills and they aren't always loving their job nor even liking it. So yea never let your job define your life, you can have any other job that would make your life more easy and happier and not just because you'll get paid more its just the way it makes you feel, cuz ya noe if you have a job you don't like, you won't like the people there and more like such, for some to have a job its more like a priviledge... so first of all think about it, think twice even before you choose your path thru life cuz sometimes you will have to make alot of sacrifices for that job and you will have some things to loose, best thing to do is to find a job you really like doing for lets say for some time, because while you're young you'll get bored of things pretty easily and l8r on you won't have the same opportunities nor the age limit to get the same kind of jobs.

goodluck on your search :)