Written six months ago
Working, unpaid, from home. A writer typing in a darkened room is not the kind of journalist I want to be.
Take a new internship, unpaid work, absolutely everything you can. Once you’re in, use that foot in the door to network, ask for advice and shadow all the professionals you know. Learn everything about the industry and ask for more responsibility. Leave with a legacy beyond just a good worker.
The standard advice for those new to the media, marketing and arts, more or less.
And, that’s all very well, except I found my breaking point. A short-term position for ‘exposure’ just working, unpaid, from home.
The last unpaid internship generously offered to ‘save me money’ by staying at home rather than commute: “We’ll just email you vague instructions every day to do as much labour-intensive work as possible for us, and if our website’s buzzing we might pay you a scrap later, and we won’t reply or send you back any feedback because we’re busy. Cool?
I get scared of doing nothing with my life, talents and education; and then I do nothing, because I’m scared. Writing alone in a room is lonely; that’s why I hate journalism. It’s unfair to judge it on that, but what else am I supposed to do? Unpaid work out of the office is my introduction. I’m 25 and my career is just a hobby.
Another thing – you may moan about the dreary cubicle with distracting colleagues and boring roles. But ‘boring’ is another word for safe. ‘Distracting’ another word for social. And ‘dreary’ another word for real life. And I want to take that. Now.
A writer typing in a darkened room is not the kind of journalist I want to be. Working, unpaid, from home.