MARCH RADNESS

I’ve been absent from a post in a while, but that was because I had the best week in a long time!

Yes kids, I am employed now. In journalism! Therefore, we must doubly rejoice! By the end of the month, I’ll be working at a TV station in San Diego where I will spend most of my time writing stories for their Web site. I’ll also be writing for their newscast and working on some multimedia (hopefully)! This is even more exciting because I have yet to see an SD news site with robust multimedia offerings (other than just video, but more like interactive infographics and such) and we can take the lead. It will be awesome.

So this means I’m packing up and leaving the rainy Northwest for a golden state of mind. But the best part is that I’ll be driving away from my hometown/everything I know and a city full of the finest microbrews in a new car! I just got a 2010 KIA Soul (titanium color) and it’s been fun to drive. It’s cute (according to my grandpa) and has pretty much everything I could need (Sirius, Bluetooth and a sunroof among so many things).

It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks. They’re getting their money’s worth of me in Smoothieland. In other coolness, I’m delighted to see these videos circling my Facebook News Feed:

Now if I can only get my bracket filled out, I’ll be all set.

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You don’t lose as long as you learn

I just had the most stressful and exhausting day straight full of traveling, interviews and tests (going full on from about 3 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Oh man. I’ve never experienced anything like it. My shoulder is incredibly sore (tension, maybe?). I can imagine that’s how work can get, but wow. But I still can’t complain.

Now that I’m done whining about it, the tough stuff makes life not boring. The lows and highs are what make the roller coaster interesting.

Of course, there are so many things I could have said or done differently, but I feel like I stood confidently behind whatever answers I gave.

It’s easier to remember the bad things over the good. Why else do wounds come with scars? Why don’t we have anything to remember the good things that happen to us? Regardless, you’ve just got to do the best you can in whatever circumstances you’re facing.

Now it’s over and done and everything is committed to something higher than me. I can’t take back anything I said or retake anymore tests from yesterday and nothing is going to keep me from enjoying my today.

Right now I’m reminded that you’re supposed to rest after working (six days shall you labor, but you shall rest on the seventh day and all that). So I’m resting. I’m not going to let yesterday’s events stress me out any longer.

My life just took a turn for the first

I never had it this busy or this good in so long.

My job situation is looking better than it has in a long time. All I can say is I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful network. Maybe not jumping into a company right after school was actually a good idea. I’ve had time to reevaluate and reflect on what I really truly want in a job and how to get there. Obviously, I want and need a job. Those college loans, though not terrible, are still looming. And until I get one, I know it’s out there.

Jess in time (portfolio/clip repository) has been back in action, reloaded, updated and ready to go: I put it in a grid style (the designer in me LOVES this) with a header and I included more than just j-clips, because I’ve got to market myself as something more than just a journalist. I have the basic journalism skills plus more (in my case, creativity and Web skills). I’ve also tagged my clips for more organization, but lately the tagged posts keep changing and Tumblr seems like it’s acting up.

The creative process never ceases, so I redid my resume yet again and have received great feedback! Most people who have seen it like it, but I did have some corporate HR people that found it confusing and hard to read. I’m blessed to have a career coach as a family friend, so she looked over my cover letter and resume and passed the resume over to one of her friends in HR. He wasn’t impressed. I get that. He does HR for hospitals. He don’t care if your resume looks pretty, he just wants to make sure you’re qualified enough to operate on and stick needles in people. But the newsies somehow get it, which is why I think my life would be unfulfilled if I wasn’t working in news in some way.

I also got a Formspring! I actually think it’s part of a fascinating social experiment. If anonymity was guaranteed, would people be as much more candid in their questions as they are with their words on online forums? Those of you who have to moderate reader comments know what I’m talking about.

Ask me anything and receive fast, timely, relevant and  accurate answers (or if not, a close jess-timate, haha). And go.

Resume redesign, or crisis begets creativity

What does it take to get a good job in news (or media in general)? That’s the $4000 question swimming in my head right now.

I will even make my resume look remotely like a newspaper–complete with flag, skyboxes, sidebars, datelines–designed with copy editing principles in mind (and also inspired by Plaid’s awesome Merry Newsinator, but a bit less merry).

This started out as something to relieve the stress that has been simmering since I finished my internship in September.

Working on it was a delightful break from the monotony of checking emails, reading job boards and mining my address book for any contacts I have not yet exhausted.

As much as I hate being in this situation, I believe crisis begets the best kind of creativity, which is something I learned from this trash artist that we interviewed for our in-depth reporting project on the closing of a county’s landfill. She said that much of the best art she’s seen comes from some trauma that the artist experiences. To me, crisis forces you to stretch yourself and ask questions like “What have I not tried yet? Why not?”

Doing this also made me realize that I want to be doing something creative with my life (and getting paid for it). I know I don’t have any formal design training (i.e., a degree in graphic design or experience other than designing for personal sites and laying out dummy pages) and I don’t want to automatically call myself a designer just because I know how to use Photoshop or InDesign, but I just love it.

Or it could be just that I like big type and I cannot lie. You other type nerds can’t deny that when type is on your screen in all caps and 72 px, you get sprung.

Which leads me to further refine my ideal job: some marriage of reporting/writing and creativity/design, such as an online multimedia producer, marketing specialist, or some publication’s layout editor.

On the upside, I’m still counting my blessings. I saw the sunrise today and I took a picture, but even that doesn’t do it justice. It had  these colors:

Another sunrise is another day to get where I need to go. It’s like the rest of my life is waiting for me to get my act together and start living.

Lately the weather has been so bipolar and consequently so have I

I’ve fallen off the face of the earth temporarily. Lately, the job search has finally taken a toll on me.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Words can’t even begin to cover the storm of frustration I’ve been fighting. Where is my job?

I have the skills set. I can do what the job entails. The only problem is I don’t have the X amount of experience that is supposedly required. Then how will I get experience if no one hires me? You want the quality work of your media organization to continue? Then invest in the future!

At the same time, I’ve been learning that what my resume contains or lacks doesn’t define me as a person or my self-worth, and I can’t give up or let myself be discouraged. Because for me, defeat begins the minute despair sets in. It’s when you stop trying. It’s when the dream dies. I hate that I’ve been so close to that.

So now, my new plan is to keep myself as busy as possible–whether it’s making smoothies and vegetable soup from scratch, doing dishes, cleaning the house, teaching my grandpa how to use a computer, etc.

I can’t have any more of those idle, listless days where I have the opportunity to sit and stew over what’s [not] happening in my life, because when has thinking about something made my situation better or done anything productive for me? I must have thought myself out of happiness and peace a thousand times and never once into it.

I’m just going to be and not think (within reason, obviously not an invitation to make bad decisions).

Speaking of good decisions, I went to the Blazers-Jazz game at the Rose Garden last night and cheered on the Blazers (yay for free tickets which had pretty decent seats from my boss) with my friend Christopher–who was actually enjoying the music and the advertisements more so than the game.

Portland lost, but it was still good to see him on so many levels because we’re kind of in the same boat. We’re both degree-holding (homeboy already has a masters degree at 22), working minimum wage, working a job that does not use our degrees, looking for a permanent position, living back at the parents’ house, toting around emotional baggage and the list could go on.

Moral of the story: I appreciate any and all encouragement from people, but it was nice to get encouragement from someone who at this point in time, could truly relate to my situation.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Waiting around is painful. It literally sets aside time to overanalyze every little thing, remember the mistakes you made and replay them in endless loops inside your head. Sorry Jenny Lewis, but all the immediate unknowns are NOT better than knowing this tired and lonely fate. With certain things (jobs, serious relationships, etc), in my life I’ve concluded that any definite answer is favorable over room for possibility.

But in the midst of this uncertainty, some things have become clearer to me.

  1. Optimism is always an option. Really. Everyday, regardless of whatever situation you are facing, you can choose to be happy or you can choose to be pissed. Choose to be happy.
  2. I am more certain of the path I am taking. As I have time to truly consider my current life goals and aspirations, which I didn’t have while I was in college, I am convinced I want to enter the online field.
  3. I will miss actually reading what’s in my Google Reader. Right now, I get to think and really churn around ideas in my mind, but once I have a job that will soak it all up.
  4. I am truly, truly blessed. As much as I don’t like my situation right now, I must admit that I have it better than what many people have. Living at home irks me, but I am grateful I don’t have to pay for rent or food or anything like that. I miss my college friends (who, except one, are all on the east side of the country), but I am grateful for my mentors who have advised, counseled and supported me since high school. I don’t have a job that uses my journalism or history degree, but while I’m waiting I have a job that still earns money (although minimum wage, Washington’s $8.55 is better than the national average–$7.25 or Georgia’s–$5.15). I don’t have health insurance, but I have a healthy body. The list could go on.

There’s a time and a place for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. As my other boss reminded me, “the right thing will happen.” It’s not that opportunities aren’t out there. It’s when the right one will come along. For right now, I’m applying myself to as much as I can and I know the right one is there waiting for me. I just realized how this sounds like the search for “the one.”

But really, Sometimes you don’t fall for the first one that comes along, you have to kiss a few frogs to get to the prince and all that inspirational fluff. In other words, seek, knock and I will find.

I hiked up Multnomah Falls and up Larch Mountain over the weekend and my limbs are still sore.

As a sign of the times, my other job is going social media. I get to make a Facebook page and a Twitter account for my other job and I get to update them. I am so excited.

This is harder than I expected

Okay, so in retrospect (and after answering every “what are you doing post-college?” question), taking that risk doesn’t seem like a good idea right now. I’m on the tail end of my internship with nothing to do looming on the horizon now (right where I was afraid I would end up right before I graduated). This especially hurts as my framed degree is sitting on my desk staring me in the face.

But since when have the best things (especially in love, stocks and jobs) come without a risk? And having nothing lined up? Maybe that means freedom to jump something good that comes along. For once, I need to be able to trust myself and have confidence in what I can offer and what I can do. That’s what I keep telling myself. Constantly.

PS: I’m ready.