Saturday, January 8, 2011

Checking In

It's been six months since I graduated from UO and I haven't really addressed work here in quite some time.

Over the summer I found some marketing work, some of which I enjoyed and some of which I did not. I was grateful to have some money coming in and to have the opportunity to gain some experience in communications, but I knew that what I really wanted to pursue was production work, and I knew I wouldn't have time if I was working full time in an office.

In September I got a part time job as a Promotions Assistant for a broadcast company that owns a bunch of local radio stations. At first I was working a lot of events, but now I am primarily doing video work, which I love.

The hours are irregular (I've had anywhere from 2 - 30 hours in a given week), so needless to say, I am not making bank at this job, but I feel very lucky to be doing work that I enjoy and that provides me with valuable experience in my field.

I am also happy to have the flexibility in my schedule to pursue other opportunities. I've managed to pick up other production gigs from time to time. Some are unpaid, but when I do get paid I make a lot more than I do at my regular job. I hope that as I get more experience and meet more people in the community more of these opportunities will arise.

Right now things are very slow, so I'm trying to keep busy and get involved in as many things as I can.

I've been considering joining professional organizations such as OMPA and SPJ, but it's difficult to justify spending the money on memberships when I'm making so little. I keep visiting their Websites and trying to decide how beneficial they would be. I think this is something that will have to wait.

I've applied for some other jobs with no luck. I did receive one call, but I missed it and didn't hear the voicemail until a week later and they had already filled the position. It was a position that would have required a long commute and it wasn't something I thought I would want to do long term, but I was still frustrated to have missed the opportunity.

While I keep checking Craig's List and a few other sites that post media job openings, I am trying to focus my energy on being productive, regardless of pay.

Last week I spent some time updating OJM's social media and am helping them redo some digital slides with information about upcoming exhibits and events to show on a flat screen TV in their lobby. I haven't done graphic design in a while, so it's great for me to get to brush up my Photoshop skills in a low pressure environment. I also volunteered to transcribe some interviews for a local filmmaker who's writing a book. It's a bit tedious, but I enjoy listening to interviews and I'm happy to be able to help out.

Six months ago I feared that I would not be able to find work in my field at all. I do worry about money and I sometimes get frustrated that there is no obvious next step, but I try to remember that I have made progress. I have not resorted to applying for restaurant jobs. I am doing things now that I wouldn't have dreamed of before I moved to Eugene in 2008 to finish my Journalism degree.

Despite financial fears and uncertainty about the future, I feel pretty good about what I'm doing right now. I don't feel stagnant or trapped like I did when I was working in food service. I am enjoying my existence more than I have in a long time.

There is no straightforward path to a meaningful career in a fast-changing landscape. I think the best I can do right now is to try to stay informed about what's happening both in my field and my community, to be open to different kinds of opportunities and to try to get as much out of them as possible. My hope is that if I can make myself useful to people, develop my skills, and continue to remain flexible about my goals and aspirations, that in time I will be able to make a living doing work that I care about. If I can accomplish that, I believe I will feel successful.