Apr 24, 2008 - 10:18 AM
When I started to go to school to study journalism, I told myself that I wasn't going to make any money doing this profession. I said I was fine with not making much money, working random hours and moving to some remote part of the country to get experience. I accepted that I would never be rich.
"I don't care about money very much anyways," I told myself. "I'm not like that."
Then I graduated. I realized what the "real world" paid and I started to have doubts. I started wondering how I was going to pay all my bills with a job that paid less than the one I had in school. My college degree could do nothing for me--journalism jobs across the board were low-paying or being cut altogether.
After an extended internship in Spokane, Washington (which sadly, paid more than my current job now), I was offered my current job with a daily newspaper in Eureka, California. Now, California is just an expensive place to live. It gets cheaper when you leave the Bay Area, but cost of living doesn't always equate with income in this state. AND, the gas here is always higher than the Bay's.
I couldn't decide. Disappoint my parents, who watched me work my ass off for six years to finally graduate with a degree (not to mention that whole "we came to America and worked crappy jobs to give you a better life" feelings I get when I look at them) , or give up on a goal I've been working toward since high school?
Despite what the public may think about mainstream journalism, I believe that it plays an important role in our society, especially the smaller papers that focus on hyper local news. I know it has some set backs and constraints, but I felt like I needed to experience it for myself before I could pass judgment.
So, I took the job. I've been here for almost five months. I am super broke. There are days when I get really upset at myself for not having handled my money better. I am really just living off my credit card. When I do get paid, I stretch them measly dollars among my rent, car and credit card bills. I do the whole cup-a-noodles thing. My company is also experiencing budget cuts, so while I am lucky to not see any layoffs, the cuts also means no raises for a few months.
But, I think I can safely say it's probably the best job I've ever had in my life. During one day at work I can feel challenged, humbled and empowered all at once. So, I'll keep adding to my debt a little while longer and wait for the budget cut restraints to loosen up (if that ever happens). We'll see what happens. For now, I'll just keep on keepin' on.
Donna Tam is the managing editor of Oh Dang! She most likely makes less money than you.