My wife’s guilty pleasure is the soap opera, General Hospital. I sometimes walk through the room while she’s watching it on the DVR and offer my considered opinion on writing, acting skills, fashion, and relationships (weren’t they married already? What? THREE times?). But recently I found something actually interesting, if not exactly news-breaking.
As you know, I have been unable to find a job in traditional journalism. Looking through various job sites and through numerous networkings, I did come across lots of freelance work (i.e., no benefits) which did not suit my needs. So I found this passage between two characters whose names I don’t know — let’s call them A, a twenty-something pert blonde; and B, a thirty-something media business tycoon with Trump son hair from what I can gather by the brief interlude — discussing the possibility of working in the industry worth noting.
B: Typically, people returning to the workforce are returning to careers they’ve already established. You’re wanting to establish something brand new.
A: I have worked in publishing, though not as a writer, which is why I’m willing to start entry-level and work my way up.
B: Well, if you want to write for one of our pop culture blogs, be advised: You’re competing with twenty-somethings with a million followers who have had their own YouTube channel since they were seven. They’re coming to us now with a pre-sold brand.
A: I’m not interested in covering pop culture. I want to be a journalist working in the investigative reporting division at your news outlet.
B: I admire you for aiming high, but I wouldn’t be doing you any favors by setting up false expectations, so let me be honest. School cafeteria food isn’t exactly hard journalism.
A (after a thoughtful pause): Until someone discovers that the vendors are sending moldy pizzas and rotten egg sandwiches. Until an entire school of children come down with salmonella or the norovirus because of poor sanitary practices. Or until funding gets cut for thousands of children who depend on it because it is their only square meal of the day. Then maybe it will considered hard-hitting journalism. Thank you for your time.
B: Lela, wait (so that’s her name). Look, let me do this: The paper buys freelance stories all the time. You bring me a story so compelling that I can’t resist publishing it, and I’ll consider finding a position for you on staff. Does that sound like a deal?
So let’s break this down:
- Competing against young people with social media presences, fine. I agree with that. Makes it hard for someone like me, who seems to about twice the age of the actress in above scene to, get a job.
- Lela’s wanting to start at the top reminds me of the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life in which George Bailey believes he can do anything: “Oh, there are plenty of jobs around for somebody that likes to travel. Look at this. There . . . Venezuela oil fields –– wanted, man with construction experience. Here’s the Yukon, right here –– wanted, man with engineering experience.” All of which he has exactly none, since he’s been running the Bailey Building and Loan since his father died.
- Sure, that journalism hiring scenario is plausible. I can’t count the number of staff positions I’ve received because I wrote one compelling story. And I’d be very curious to know how much they’d pay Lela for that freelance story, because I was seeing offers as low as $5 for a 500-word article.
- How long until these two gorgeous kids are sleeping together?
- Those GH people; they really wrote the crap out of that scene, didn’t they?