Rocky Road

There are two roads; the nicely kept smoothed one that makes for easy travel… and the rocky road that makes the journey much more difficult.

rocky road...

rocky road…

There are two students. Both graduate from the same college with the same degree. Both intern at the same place. To be clear, I am one of the students. At the end of the internship I am asked to stay on through the summer but not offered a permanent job. The other student is offered a job in the fall. I find work at the competition across town. A few months later the company I’m working for downsizes, puts itself up for sale, a dozen or so people lose their jobs, myself among them. A couple of months later I move on to my next job. Not exactly across town. In fact, out of state. Meantime, other student is still enjoying his employ at the very stable company where we interned. One month into my new gig the company lays off 200 people. I, fortunately am spared. One year later, another round of layoffs. I am not so lucky. Other is still plugging along. Fourteen months of unemployment goes by, desperate for work, I find it. And when people are desperate they generally resort to doing pretty much anything, anywhere. As did I. And did it well, for more than three years. Meantime, other has left the place where it all began and his now working 121 markets ahead of me. Where he has been for nearly two years. I, on the other hand, in order to make the significant market jump of 115 was “forced” to take a demotion. Yes, I’ll say forced. And I’ll stand by it. In short, I’m exactly where I was when I graduated from college 7 years ago. The other one, it would seem, has had a much smoother road to the top. Again, same school, same degree, same internship.

Why? What did other do right that I did wrong? Or am I simply cursed? I thought going back to school would show future employers that I was passionate and committed. I thought going back to school and graduating in my 30’s would speak for itself. Volumes. I thought having real-life experience would mean something. It would appear not.

When I started working in news a friend and mentor told me to be “proud” of myself for having ever gotten a job in journalism. His reasoning; because most people graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism and “never” work one day in news. They can’t find work. They give up. And eventually find careers in other fields. He told me that if I decided to walk away from it, that was okay, because I had already accomplished more than most.

Lately, I am having more days than not of wanting to walk away. But, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I don’t reach the top rung on the ladder, that will be okay. But I’d sure like to make it somewhere pretty close.

– J. Ela


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