People that haven’t seen you in a while love to ask that question. And when nothing is up, you hate getting that question. But when you have stuff going on, you’re chomping at the bit, mentally reciting what you’ll say when it comes up. And when it does, you confidently rattle off everything from your amazing new job, to the gorgeous girl you’re seeing. And that’s kind of what’s going on now. Over the summer, I let the blog wither because I wasn’t quite ready to answer that question. But now I am. So here’s what new.
I won’t make excuses as to why I haven’t written anything in the past four or five months, but just after my last post in March I went on a relentless job search. And with 8% unemployment, 13% black unemployment and over 14% underemployment, searching for a job became my job. After countless résumés sent and four of my worst performances in job interviews I still had nothing. There wasn’t much out there. And frankly, at this point, I would have welcomed a little underemployment. That’s when I made the decision that I’d rather do yet another unpaid internship, than work some job I know wouldn’t lead to a career. Money isn’t everything, after all. At least this way, I could continue weighing what little options I had as the thought of graduation breathed steadily and annoyingly down the back of my neck.
So one day while I was coming home from my midday classes, I passed an ad agency. Of course, I didn’t know it was an ad agency at the time, I just thought it looked really cool from the outside. There was greenery lining the outside, and metal gears hanging on the brick walls and the floor-to-ceiling windows just screamed “transparency.”
When I got home I Googled it, found out what it was, what they do and started plotting a way to get my foot in the door. I had writing/journalism experience and thought I could ask to do some free work as maybe a copywriter or researcher, just for the experience. So I emailed them: “Will Work For Free.” Because who doesn’t need a little free help? I waited a couple weeks. Nothing. But I thought advertising could be something I could do and on top of that, I loved watching Mad Men. So with the help of Google Places, I found every ad agency in the city to let them know I was available to do anything they needed — for free. And out of about ten agencies large and small, I got a call back from one. The woman on the other end said she’d love for me to come in the following week. Ecstatic, I said to myself, “This is it!”
And indeed, it was.
On Monday, I showed up early and waited until 8:30 to walk in, going to the wrong door. The woman on the phone, who’s name was also on the building, took me on a tour and let me settle in the library. Expecting grunt work, she gave me the assignment of coming up with a headline for an ad they were doing for one of their larger clients. It was a completely new process, and I was hooked.
But there was a small problem.
I still wasn’t making any money. But a possible solution to this problem came a few days later in the form of another phone call. A large company stationed about five minutes away (who has since moved) called me up about the résumé I’d given them a few months back. This was a great opportunity to gain some experience in finance (one of my majors) and get paid at the same time! But the issue with this gig was the fact that it was full time, which didn’t leave any time for the ad agency and this brand new writing process I had fallen in love with.
Without much hesitation, I gracefully declined, citing my new (unpaid) internship as the reason. And as luck would have it, the end of that week marked the beginning of my employment.
Three months later, I’m working for a great agency doing search marketing, brand strategy and of course, copywriting.