Okay, so the working girl thing is a bit of a lie, insofar as someone is not paying me to do things for them. Ladies and gentlemen, as I round the corner aproaching my twenty-ninth year, I might be the world’s oldest intern. If you haven’t heard me complain about the job market before, you might be in for a real treat. First off, I have a BA in English and Literature from a liberal arts college. Apparently that makes me ill-suited for most jobs:
In fact, when I saw Avenue Q in 2003/2004, I nearly pissed myself with laughter and terror. Here I am now, seven years out of college and unemployed. Entry-level jobs doing content or copy writing, editing, and things relevant to my degree and interests require 4+ years of experience in the field, which of course you can’t get without getting the job first. To my unending laughter, I was told on a content writing interview that this blog counts as content writing experience (finally, this blog pays dividends for something other than my ego). But I didn’t get that job.
I haven’t gotten any job I’ve applied or interviewed for.
In an act of desperation, I began applying to internships with emails that started something like, “Hey, I know people don’t like to give internships to non-students, BUT–” Because let’s face it: College credit is the only way to make what is ostensible working for free make sense. However, as I’m already spending 24 hours a day doing things for free, I faced up to an ugly reality. Writing content for free for someone else will look way better on my curriculum vitae than, “I sit on my couch in Arcadia sweatpants, drinking gin and watching The Vampire Diaries while I blog about The Walking Dead.”
Surprisingly, this method has borne fruit. I am the proud owner of an internship two days a week. If it were a paying job, I’d be utterly in love with it already. As it stands, having to pay for the train to get to/from this place and therefore technically paying to work, I just like it a lot. The people are nice and the work is interesting, and when all’s said and done I get to walk 3 miles a day, eyeball strangers on SEPTA, do some writing, edit some copy, edit some pictures, and do some website data entry. There’s even a bonus of occasional arts and crafts, and I’ve been getting a hilarious refresher in long-forgotten jargon like ‘title case’ while debating what my love of the Oxford comma says about me.
Regardless of how I’m enjoying myself, though, what are the odds that this experience will actually make me more employable? Short of a Master’s and 4 years’ experience, is anything going to net me a job in writing or publishing? None of my fellow graduates with whom I’m still in contact are employed in our field. Did college fail us, or are we failing life? I’m qualified to work for free; really, who isn’t? If I couldn’t get a job where someone didn’t have to take the risk of paying me, I’d probably need to opt out on this whole life thing.
Speaking of work done for free, a photography trade shoot I did with gorgeous model Lady Lazarus has yielded a magazine cover/feature, in addition to a Zivity set. Our collaboration can be found as one of two alternating covers for Goomah Magazine right now (the other cover features a Scott Church photo of Nyxon).*
*Links may not be safe for work, and if you’re reading this at work anyway, shame on you for mocking me with your gainful employment.
I guess this is proof-positive that my learn-by-experience training in photography is doing more for me than my learn-by-college training in English and literature. And guess which one I’m still paying for! Regardless of what happens with my gainful employment in the writing field, it looks like my spring will be filled to bursting with freelance photography clients. I’ve got some product photography lined up, a startup clothing company as a new client, and a bunch more model shoots for Zivity scheduled (and I’ve got a couple free trial codes if you want to check it out!). If you care to keep tabs on these things, here’s a pile of NSFW links for your perusal:
- Synthetic Shadows @ Facebook
- Synthetic Shadows @ Twitter
- Syntheticshadows.com (redesign in progress)
- Synthetic Shadows @ Zivity
- Synthetic Shadows @ ModelMayhem
- Me @ Instagram
- Synthetic Shadows @ Tumblr