I tend to obsess.

Lately I obsess about the state of the journalism job market, and it seems to come though in nearly every facet of my life.  Even in job interviews.  Let me explain.

I recently applied for a job in Boston where I’d be doing short news pieces for a news wire company.  I applied to their job postings five separate times, and on the fifth try I got an email with the dates of recruiting sessions.  You can imagine my elation.  I familiarized myself with this company to the point where I could probably tell the editors things they didn’t even know about it.  Just before my interview, I got an email from them telling me to be ready for a series of tests that they administer to all recruiting prospects.  Fine.  I’m a decent test taker.

The day of, the editors gave me two 10-minute exams.  First was a logic test, to test “my quick thinking ability.”  Easy.  The second was current events, to test something theoretically valuable, I’m not sure what.  Maybe how well I retain what I read?  It was a little harder than the logic test.  The interview itself went well.  The editors seemed to like me, and I told them repeatedly how awesome I am and how great their company would be if I worked there.  But then I had to do a writing test.

I had just over an hour to write three news briefs, with the first one based on short source articles that they provided me with.  I wrote the other ones first, because I am a horrendously slow reader, and I figured I’d complete more of the test that way.  Then I moved on to the source articles.  The first was titled something like “Changing economy poses challenges for job seekers.”  The second was “Manufacturing sector adds some jobs.”  The third was about how people graduating college with a four-year degree were more likely to get jobs, but not much more likely than anyone else.  I used these sources to write an article in which I proved with solid factual evidence that college graduates with a degree in journalism had almost no hope of getting a job in their field.  I then submitted this piece to the news wire company.

I’m not sure why I did it.  I know I was feeling pretty hopeless about my job search,  and I didn’t have that much time to think of other angles for my article — it just came to mind and I wrote it.  I guess the other reason could be that I was looking for a way to find some humor in my situation, and there was something funny to me about the meta-moment: A journalist applying for a job, writing a news article about hopeful journalists being unable to find work.  I just hope the editors have a sense of humor.