Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"I'm keeping my options open..."

If I had a dime every time I heard that line uttered by a career-less recent journalism school graduate, I might have enough money to buy a taco truck, drive up and down the Beltway selling heart-attack inducing bacon-wrapped hotdogs to unsuspecting federal gov't employees.

Okay, so maybe I have thought about another line of work. So what? I know, I know. I said not too long ago that I was tired of listening to my colleagues whine about the journalism industry. And honestly, I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

After reviewing a good deal of what I've blogged about these last three years, I've realized why the whining makes me cringe. I've long held the belief that journalism as a trade is done well when the journalist is learned and inspired by the craft...motivated by innovation...and persevering in his or her approach to pursuing their passions.

But enough with the esoteric graduate thesis.

As I batten down the hatches, in Baltimore, MD for a summer internship with the Associated Press, I feel I'm as ready as I'll ever be to decide whether keeping my options open is a good idea.

For one, I've prepared a great deal for this moment. Most often, journalism school graduates who have troubles finding work post-graduation experience this because they didn't prepare while they were in school. Honestly, had I been in my senior year and looking for my first internship I would have been at a serious disadvantage. Internships mean a lot, but they alone aren't eveything.

I'll never understand why I ever had to sell being involved with journalism networking organizations to aspiring journalists. The National Association of Black Journalists, along with the Bay Area Black Journalists Association, has been instrumental in developing and expanding my network and industry contacts. And honestly, many of these people have turned out to be great friends to have.

I've always interpreted "keeping my options open" to mean throwing away all of my hard work, just so I can be miserable in someone's public relations firm. Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic. (The paycheck would be nice, for sure. And student loan repayment will kick in faster than I can say "bacon-wrapped-butter-basted hotdog on a bun.")

But fears of a dying industry have not deterred me from pursuing goals I set for myself long before college. Perhaps I'll feel differently as this summer comes to an end. Or maybe not. I'd like to think I won't ever need to implement Plan B: Aaron's Taco Truck.

And while I won't completely reject keeping my eyes open for another line of's unlikely you'll hear that "I'm keeping my options open." Hopefully, I've prepared enough so that I don't have to.

(Besides, if we (journalists) all left...who's going to support to the coffee and booze industries? ... Joking.)

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 9:45 AM | link

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