Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Real World is NOT What They Said

When I was in college, my professors kept telling me what the real world would be like. Competitive, hard work, always fighting for my place in the world.

I graduated with my degree in Communications (which is college-speak for "Congrats! You have no marketable skills without a higher degree.") and went out into the world. It was not what they said. At all. Here's how.

1. I was told the market would be competitive. I went to a local newspaper and to freelance for them. I was hired as a full-time reporter weeks later without even trying. No competition.

2. I thought I would *love* what I did. I thought I would write news stories that would change the world. After a few months of what seemed like nothing but county council meetings and chasing ambulances, I was beginning to hate the world of hard news. I did love the lifestyle pieces, but they were not as often as I wanted.

3. My professors sang my writing praises all the time. I thought surely my editors would do the same. Not so. I was publicly chastised for using quotes the publisher didn't like. Yay, reporting!

4. When I became a photographer, I thought work would fall into my lap and was shocked when it did not. I got business, but not much.

5. I was sorely disappointed to not be hired as a wedding photographer because Uncle Bob had a nice camera and offered to do photos for free. Nobody, in all my training, ever said I would be passed over for a loud, balding uncle/friend/cousin with a camera.

6. Now that I've been a stay-at-home-mom for many years, I never thought I would have a hard time getting hired for a job again. I've seen all the reports about moms returning to the workplace, but I never thought it would happen to *me*. I thought I would be hired immediately.

7. In my attempts to become an author, again, I was never told I would have to be my own marketer. I know how to write, not market myself. Honestly, I can market others easily enough, but trying to toot my own horn isn't that easy.

So there are a few things about the real world that took me by surprise. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was nonetheless.


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