I’ve always endeavored to greet each new year with a fresh slate of optimism and self-assurance when it comes to landing an editorial job that would significantly enhance my ability to maintain my savings account.
In all honesty, I’m searching for what I had a decade ago, when I juggled a full-time job with writing gigs that added up to a robust monthly bonus.
It was the lucrative period of online engagement with the strong possibilities of what the future could bring if things were taking off in such a promising way.
The voracious experimentation birthed the worst of the bunch like the viral toxicity of xoJane, and thriving portals like the now-defunct Clutch magazine, that specifically catered to the ravenous demographic of Black women, who deserved the honor of being seen and heard.
As a dedicated writer with the ambitious mandate to finally reach the place where I could make a decent living doing what I love, it wasn’t hard to conjure up the image of my employment at a company that would pay well for my editorial skills.
If I could bring home almost a grand a month as a part-time writer, imagine what I could garner with more hours of work.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take very long for the inconsistencies to show up, as the trademarked model for online journalism began to buckle from the pressure of sustaining maddening requirements of click-worthy content, that inevitably exposes the impossible feat of one-of-kind publishing.
This steady decline of what was supposed to be the sturdy pillars of the new frontier, for an industry that misguidedly bet too soon, was evident almost immediately, through the sobering death announcements of reputable publications that couldn’t even afford deferring the worst with staff reductions.
I had the displeasure of watching my hopes and dreams slowly vanish as my short-term gigs educated me about the motives behind polluting the web with recycled content at high speed.
Journalism school didn’t prepare my generation for the reliance on click-bait, and the overnight scheduling of previously blasted breaking news with the aid of social flow.
We rapidly accepted the risky and profitable status of being more concerned about the arrangements of tweets, and less bothered about the accuracy and coherency of the actual article.
It’s mainly based on the fact that most people aren’t willing to commit their time to reading an entire article, when they can have more fun participating in viral threads, that fails to capture the essence of the point that nobody gets if judging the headline is the last stop.
There was also the traitorous task of adjusting to the growing hostility of the job market, and how job seekers who are too old to be budding influencers, are callously shamed for demanding the bare minimum, when negotiating for modest positions that quite frankly anyone with attention-seeking traits can successfully fulfill.
I have been very open about the combativeness of job hunting due to the cavalier attitude of clueless employers, when it comes to the lack of urgency and decorum.
A lot of it has to do with the overall forecast and dismal predictions for ambitious writers, who are great at what they do, but have a challenging time finding a company that wants to invest in talent for the long haul.
Job seekers have to contend with the too few prospects that run the gamut of constantly taking pay cuts and the compulsory onsite detail that isn’t worth the morning commute.
I have to admit that it takes a lot of self-discipline and self-affirmations to accommodate the emotional toll of searching for what you can’t find.
And even when you do have the miraculous correspondence with a human resources manager, who represents a highly-regarded branding company, that needs an associate writer with a seasoned background, you have to be prepared for the email a day before the phone interview, that vaguely explains why you’re no longer being considered.
Job agencies have been stripped of the once-formidable influence, as helpless recruiters continue to be the bearer of bad news. The months-long wait for a phone screening ends in defeat when “pending” turns to “closed” or “not accepted.”
The mind fuck of convincing yourself that your thankless role as a masochist who is tolerant of the never-ending streak of bad luck, during the unbearable hours of job searching, has finally worn off.
I am no longer blinded to the brutal truth of how I’m not as marketable as I once was, back when most things made sense. This also applies to a couple of my friends who are stationed in other industries, and stuck in dead end jobs with no end in sight,
I’m immune to the deep disappointments and the enduring fear of the unknown as it pertains to the proof of my inability to be viable in ways that don’t discard my dignity and grace, as a mid-lifer who can’t support herself or provide assistance to loved ones.
The truth is that our evolving society is testing our resilience, and the more I get screwed over, the clearer my vision gets.
Why not repurpose the emotional duress into the unexpected change in direction, that fuels the drive for a different mode of expression that will reduce your victimhood, and empower the creative entrepreneurship that would’ve otherwise stayed dormant.
The dream passed down from my boomer parents was to find the perfect scenario of working for other people for a passable salary. You stay there for as long as you can, preferably for the rest of your active years.
Those expectations don’t compute anymore, and I’m emotionally sound enough to take it.