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Finding the next step in a sea of unemployment

October 9, 2012

At the end of August, I quit my job. I had been with the news organization for nearly 5 years – starting as an intern, leaving as a manager. Along the way, I was, first and foremost, a reporter, but also a web editor, a writer and an anchor.

Now I just need one…

It was the job I went to school two years for. It was how I racked up over $20,000 in student debt. (This after a full economics degree as well.)

It is all I have known for the last 7 years.

So, what’s next?

The question often comes up, “What do you want to do?”

I hum. I haw. I come up with a list. But the list is all the things I don’t want to do.

I have no idea what I’m going to do next.

I do see a couple options:

1. Get another media job – This would be the easiest thing to do, as I have experience, education and a good track record. I thoroughly enjoy being a reporter but would need an organization focused at a market more my speed.

2. Get into PR/Communications – This is where a lot of media folks end up. I really like the idea of doing this for a company I’m passionate about, where I can use my social media expertise to bring awareness to campaigns and issues I believe in.

3. Get into _______________ (Market research? Polling?) – I have trouble defining this job but I figure organizations need people like me. As someone with an economics degree, I love research and data and trends. The reporter in me relishes investigating things. Having worked in an exceptionally fast paced environment, I’m quick on my feet and believe in accuracy in even the most hectic of situations. Despite the fact I’m a numbers nerd at heart, seven years of journalism has taught me how to write.

And so I search…

If there is one thing I could tell potential employers, it’s this:
They see on my resume all the social media accolades (awards, achievements, conference talks and my teaching gig at the Vancouver Film School) and want me to tweet for them. I like social media and appreciate it as a tool to spread a message. I regularly tweet, blog (mostly on The West Cider) and am one of many addicted to Facebook. However the idea of *just* doing social media bores me.

You see, I saw a need at my former job to get the organization on board social media. I took on a leadership role, I pushed for it, I developed a strategy and managed a team that implemented it. I am self taught. I did such a good job of learning it, I now pass that knowledge onto students.

My adeptness at social media should be less about hashtags and character counts and more about my ability to pick up whatever skills are needed and absolutely excel at them. In five years, I had five different positions while managing the online content. I want new challenges, I need them.

But if I stray from media or from communications, how do I ask an employer to take a chance on me? Or do I demand it?

In the meantime, I’m going to Iceland next week.

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One comment

  1. Iceland sounds like a perfect thing to do in the meantime:)



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