To call the industry of journalism tumultuous would be an understatement.  In the past year, newspapers that have been print institutions in their cities are no longer producing printed versions and there has been talk of completely shutting down long-running papers in other major cities. As an up-and-coming journalist times are tough. We’re forced to look in other industries for jobs. These are just stopgaps while we wait for openings in journalism careers.

I’ve gone into two different industries to put money in my pocket.  Education and every post-graduate’s favorite, retail (groan with me now). Let me talk about education first. I like it. People assume I am/want to be a teacher when I say I work in education. I get this reaction as if it’s completely obvious from my demeanor that I was meant to stand in front of a classroom, filling bright, young minds with knowledge. People always say, “Oh yeah, I can see you teaching,” or, “You’d be a great English teacher.”

Let me be clear, I hate teaching. I have no desire to “mold the next generation of writers.” I’ve worked with enough teachers to know that they generally are cynical and pessimistic about the job they are doing and the kids they teach. Now, tutoring, on the other hand, is much more fun and rewarding.

As a tutor I get to buck the educational system. I am a support to a teacher in classroom but I’m not the authority figure like the teacher. I can be silly and insulting, and generally interact with kids at their level but still command respect because I know what I’m talking about and don’t lecture them. If I’m able to get results working with kids in this manner, why would I give that up? I’m already teaching — and I’m good at it.

Retail is a completely different story. I could spend an entire post talking about it, but it seems unnecessary to punish our readers. If you’ve worked retail, which almost everyone has, you understand immediately the pain and mental torture it involves. For people with advanced degrees it’s not just the long hours standing or the annoying customers, what it really comes to is that you know you are more qualified than two thirds of the people you work with, supervisors included, but you’re still only making minimum wage!

To quote Gage, “What the hell? What the HELL?

All of my friends have horror stories from working in retail. A personal favorite is the supervisor who is younger than you and decided to keep working at “fill in the blank” retail store instead of go to college. Now, they’re 23 and have been working at the same retail store for seven years and all they do is give the older and college grad employees a hard time and act like they have the best job in the world.

You’re mid-level management at the Gap. Your discount is slightly better than mine, get over yourself!

It’s rough out there in the job market, no one denies that. If you’re lucky, you get a job in the field of your study. If you’re hustling, you just get a job. Hopefully, you can find one in an alternate field that doesn’t make you want to burn the place down every time you go to work.

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