It’s no secret that I’ve been unhappy with my job/financial situation. I’ve become despondent and bordering on a feeling of absolute hopelessness. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been out in Los Angeles researching a book I’m writing, visiting new & old pals, and checking out the journo job scene. So far, the writing and visiting have been a success. The job search? Well, it’s too early to tell. I don’t know yet–I need more time.
My hosts are incredible people. Their generosity is world-class and has kept me going, kept me positive. What they have provided me with over the past couple of weeks has given me hope and re-upped my faith that there are folks in this world who will help AND want to really see you succeed.
I’m from Illinois and currently live in Chicago. The city has been my home for the past 8 or so years. I love Chicago. I love the structure of it, how it’s a manageable city. I love the resiliency of the residents–how they celebrate the city and are diehard loyalists. What I don’t like is how fucking tough it’s been for me professionally. How incredibly provincial Chicago is. Ever since I moved back to the area in 2000, it’s been a struggle. I’ve always felt the city didn’t ‘get’ me–I always felt out of place no matter how hard I tried to fit in. I always felt like I was the adopted child who ‘had’ to be loved by her sibling Chicago because she was told to love me. But, as soon as my parents’ backs were turned, the taunting, pushing and teasing continued–each time with more pain and humiliation. When I tattled, I got slapped down and unfortunately, that’s still going on today.
Now, I know I’m not perfect. I have a big mouth. I’m opinionated. I’m constantly saying and doing really stupid things. Who doesn’t do that from time to time? If you don’t fuck up big every once in awhile, you ain’t really living. You aren’t experiencing pain and joy. I will continue to fail, but I will turn those failures into successes somehow. But it doesn’t look like those successes are going to happen for me in Chicago.
However, I’m intelligent, hard-working, a fast learner and perfectly capable of reporting, writing and editing. I’ve the life experience. I have the necessary wit and thick skin to work in any newsroom (thanks to years and years of working in the film business–the best newsroom training ever). I also have the timing of a moron–I got into the business just as journalism was tanking. I got into it just in time to witness the death rattle.
Brilliant timing yet again.
What did this do to my resolve? Well, it made me work harder and take big chances. When those old tricks proved worthless, what did I do? I expanded my job search. Fast-forward a few months and here I am, sitting in a lovely home, tucked in the hills of Glendale, plotting my next move.
With each passing day, it becomes more and more apparent that me finding employment in Chicago is doubtful. Folks send me job leads for jobs I’ve already applied for (that have been subsequently reposted) and I delete them. Why bother? Emails to colleagues/working journo friends acquiring about a job at their publication go unanswered or better yet “Don’t bother applying here, Julia, you’re un-hireable.”
So, I’ve started to concentrate on finding work in either LA or other cities. Before this trip, looking for work in other cities was a hobby, now it’s a concrete plan, a job. There are too many out of work and much more qualified journalists in Chicago. Their skillsets are stronger and their connections better. My attitude about Chicago has soured tremendously and it’s started to sour my personal relationships as well, and I can’t have that at my age. That’s soul poison, so it’s best that I cut bait and move on.
So, while I am sad about this realization of once again leaving Chicago for the West Coast, I’m also excited. I look forward to hopefully showing my family LA–how big, bright and imperfect it is. But I’ll hopefully show them it’s filled with promise, wonder, really bad traffic and sassy mockingbirds. That’s gotta count for something, correct?