My career has been a few years in the making.
Coming out of high school I kind of saw myself doing a degree and then just getting a job. From a small town that seemed like the answer to escaping.
So imagine my confusion when my degree path became deadweight. It seemed like I wasn't passionate about anything in university. Science classes? No thanks. For each credit I had to achieve I felt that my soul was being chipped away more and more.
That's when I started taking writing seriously — but however graceful I attempted to appear my timing was really poor, and that's because newspapers had started to suffer. Even in my career's infancy I could see that a job in print would evaporate in a year or two.
At that time college programs started to catch on and claimed to take a bit of a digital media route. But the truth is that Twitter was still in its early days — we were still adapting so how could we know what to expect? It was difficult for traditional journalists (and still is) to see newspapers crashing; having to look at their passion as a dying art. Jobs nosedived into the abyss of uncertainty.
I freaked out. Radio and TV seemed like the best bet but I was just fumbling. I wouldn't realize until a few years later that these platforms were fading out. We'd just depended on them for so long that it hadn't quite hit us yet.
After a while in radio and TV I was emotionally wiped out. It seemed like the industry was full of cold and unfriendly people...this was really difficult for me to cope with. In retrospect, I needed a mentor, but everyone was just trying to save themselves.
And so I left. I wasn't happy.
Finishing my degree in communications was the break I needed because it would help me avoid one of those awkward gaps on my resume. But when I got a good look at the industry it seemed like there wasn't a lot of room for creativity or fresh thinking. In one job I found myself being scolded for not making the CEO's latte correctly, wiping the windows with newspaper between each spilled cup.
So what does a millennial do when they feel completely lost? Well, they go back to school or they travel. So I went to Australia.
I met some really eye-opening people who reminded me that I have something. They believed in me and that was scary. I had completely lost awareness as to what I am capable of. I was producing my own shit to my own standards and people were consuming it. I stopped asking other people for permission to be happy and I started to believe in myself. I just didn't know if I could find a job when I returned to Vancouver.
But I did.
I was hired as a writer for a digital media platform here in Vancouver that's become national. It's my natural inclination to mention this because my job encompasses a lot of what I do in my life right now.
I get a lot of questions about what I do and I kind of understand that. Vancouver's media pool seems to grow sparser every day as we question radio and TV. Some newspapers have slowly begun to build their own online platforms but they could be too late. It's evident to me now more than ever that digital media is the right industry if you're looking to write.
I can't attest to other markets but I do know that this writing thing has gotten tough - ask anyone around you. Most of the people I went to school with now work in communications which is what I considered when I felt myself burning out. I don't think there's anything wrong with that but I do think it's indicative of a larger problem.
And what I really mean here is that I wish people's dreams were more achievable because I never want anyone to feel the same way I did when I cried in an earth and ocean sciences class at age 17. Some people grow out of that but others never really escape. I feel for them.