A new blog series which will run until our new guest blogger, who writes on the FleetStreetBlues site, and types really really fast, finds a job or gets too busy to blog. A weeks ago, this update came from FleetStreetBlues:
“A regular FleetStreetBlues contributor, without any warning, just got her marching orders this afternoon. ‘Global downturn… blah blah… smaller issues… blah blah… no advertising… blah blah… nothing we could do.’
“We’ve been writing about it for long enough – redundancies, cut-backs, journalists forced out of the profession they love – so it shouldn’t really come as a shock, but it does.
“And while we know all the things to do – networking, proactive job hunting, polishing your CV – being made redundant brings a whole new set of questions you never even considered. Like when updating the employment section of your CV… What’s a nice way of saying you just got fired?”
The FSB Redundant Journalist will cross-post her updates here. Journalism.co.uk welcomes her to this temporary blogging spot, and wishes her the best of luck in the job hunt. Here’s day one, two and three: more to come.
DAY ONE: I’ve been unemployed for ten days.
It’s Bank Holiday Monday and thankfully, the sun is not shining. This is because I don’t have the luxury of being employed and enjoying such benefits as bank holidays.Technically every day of unemployment is a holiday, but the major downside is that my other half is breathing down my neck to get a new job so I have no choice but to get on with applying. My dreams of being a lady who lunches are yet to be fulfilled. During this recession at least.
Like everyone else, we’ve got our bills to pay, which means that in an industry where a suitable, good new job comes by once in a blue moon, I have had to cast my net further afield.
At first, the thought of going to the dark side, of PR, appalled me. My stomach churned at the thought of proactive PR in particular. But after nearly two weeks of job hunting, I must confess – those jobs are starting to look rather appealing. And it’s not just the pay.
It took me a couple of days to figure out what else I was qualified for, having wanted to be a journalist for most of my life and having work experience in little else, and to find out where to look for alternative jobs, having lived on Gorkana and Journalism.co.uk [Good call. Ed.] for the past three years. But it seems that if nothing else, I’d make a great office assistant.
Don’t mock too much – admin assistants get paid even better than journalists in a lot of cases, and if you’re looking for a stop-gap job to bring home the bacon while you keep an eye out for that lucrative journalism job, why not do something that requires little brain effort, therefore allowing you to save your energy for those applications for jobs you actually would want?
DAY TWO: So last week, I wowed the world with my WPM.’Are you sure that’s your typing speed?’
‘Er, I think so…I did those online typing speed tests.’
‘But are you sure? Most people are 70 words per minute, but 90 words per minute would be super-duper fast (yes, her exact phrase) – legal secretary fast.’
‘Come in and we’ll register you and while we’re at it, we’ll test your typing speed.’
So that’s how I ended up at general recruitment agency number one. And ok, I didn’t wow ‘the world’, but I managed to surprise myself and the agency by proving that I have a touch-typing wpm of 95.
DAY THREE: There’s an emotional curve to redundancy. After I got over the initial shock of being made redundant, the next emotion was anger at the unfairness of the situation, quite closely followed by depression.
I was just a few days into the depression stage, however, when a little spark of hope landed my way – in the form of a freelance commission. On a subject I knew nothing about, but journalism work nonetheless.
Although I’d been unemployed for about just a week by this stage, it’s hard to describe quite how happy I was to be calling people up to interview them for the article.
Mundane as this may seem once you’ve got a journalism job, it also seemed the most natural thing for me to do (after all, it’s what I’ve been doing on a daily basis for the past two years) and it made one thing really clear to me – I’ll never be able to give up journalism for ever. Or at least it will be hard to give up without a fight.