Nepotism is a bitch.
It’s rife within the Journalism industry, and it’s not unusual to find the son, daughter or nephew of a prolific writer, columnist or editor comfortably occupying a staffer’s position at an eyebrow-raisingly young age.
It’s a move that can only be described as the changing of the guard, and fairplay to them…making good use of mummy and daddy’s name and connections, but it begs the question…if you don’t have any of these powerful traits, what hope do you, Mr Unconnected, have?
It’s been an annoying week. After stopping/cutting down on various shift work, I decided that I had to earnestly get back in the print game…so after publishing a blog post last week about the delights of working for free, and silently vowing never to re-visit my intern days, I’ve been left with no choice but to do a 180.
My dilemma is this; do I take two steps backwards and go back to what I was doing, going from placement to placement with my fingers crossed that a staffer loses both their hands in a freak accident and I’m duly rewarded with their job, or do I sit and home, get distracted by FB and ‘appply for jobs?’
The whole applying for jobs thing has become the most depressing and time-consuming task and one that fills me with dread when a lowly paid trainee position or entry-level role appears on one of the many sites I trawl daily.
The depressing element is obvious; thinking, hoping and imagining what the outcome will be; having the initial doubt that job is not what you want to do but it’s a way in, a foot on the ladder.
The time-consuming part is the waiting. Waiting for the acknowledgement of the application; waiting for a call back for an interview (if you’re lucky); waiting for the Editor or one of his assistants to mug you off with a generic email, ‘detailing’ why you’ve not got the job…
So it’s not very positive thinking, I know. But last week I had five rejections emails, with three detailing my ‘lack of experience’. Feeling slightly miffed (read-angry) I called one of the Editor’s back and challenged him. This was his patronising response: “It’s the name of the game unfortunately, maybe you should think about looking at your experience before applying next time…”
Where’s a jewel-encrusted BlackBerry when you need one?
I know my CV is tight; I’ve done as much work that’s humanly possible, but like so many others, I have rent to pay, bills coming out of my ears, a credit card/overdraft that NEVER seems to go down, no matter how much I pay off and various other bills and amenities that require my cashish.
Sat at my computer with cake as my companion, I got numbers for as many newspapers, radio stations, online publications and magazines that fit my skills and experience.
After being mugged off by various HR staff and receptionists, I found out this; some of the biggest national/regional newspapers have waiting lists stretching to 18 months, whilst others can’t bear the fact of having an intern and actually having to speak/engage/look at, so politely declined my offer of making tea for a week and typing up press releases.
Others quizzed my ethnicity and played the ‘work place diversity’ card (little do they know that I fall into this category). This really annoyed me; just because you are of an ethnic minority, should people take pity on you and offer you a chance that’s available for most but exclusive to so many?
I’ve never played the race card, and I’m happy that I’ve not used my evident supply of melanin to ‘get ahead’; you’ve yet to see me at a typically black publication, rocking up with the ‘Afeesha’s, Lakeesha’s and Shaniquas’…fetching Super-Malt and reviewing the latest bashment releases…
I don’t want to come off like I’m moaning, cos I’m really not. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but one thing I’m sure of is that we live in an unmeritocratic society; it’s not enough to put your life on hold for three-five years of training and education; you’ve got to literally get down on your knees and show these Oxbridge-educated kingmakers that you are willing to do anything. But as I’ve found, working for free isn’t enough.
Is this for me any more? I left university two years ago yesterday, and in that time, I envisaged doing my senior reporter exams, edging towards a daily paper and stepping closer to my dream of being an investigative reporter for a certain reputable and independent free sheet across the pond…
Oh dear. Another foolish dream screwed up and chucked in the bin.
Anyway, I’ve gotta dash. Peaches Geldof’s just got an article published in American style bible, Nylon, and I’ve heard it’s a must-read…
♫ The Jacksons – Show Me The Way To Go