The ups and downs of being a professional
I really don’t see myself a student any more. The big media moguls (in all of their infinite wisdom) have destroyed the reputation of the student with countless smear campaigns and false representations. Granted, some of it is true, but the fact remains that the surprisingly large portion of us who are left wearing a stigma can’t help but feel a little at odds with the world. 201MC was this year’s unofficial work experience period, a time when we are left to our own devices for, well a very long time. It’s over now, we’re finishing the year with a wonderfully vague group assignment, whilst I continue to push with my ‘self guided placement’, Cyclone. I don’t see the point in waiting until I graduate to start looking for work in the media, as a matter of fact that would be idiotic. I hope to have a substantial portfolio of connections and work history compiled before I throw the silly square hat in the air (do they even do that or is it urban myth?), so it’s nothing more than a continuation of what I’m already doing, bar the lectures.
It makes sense in my mind to treat everything I do outside of studies as my career now. Whether I’m producing video content for a record label’s promotion or writing an article for a friend’s project, if I call myself a student, I’m dooming myself to the realm of public ignorance. I’ve found that the people I’ve been producing for turn people down on the basis that they are a student, without so much as a second thought. I’ve been lucky so far, swiping work and connections, and proving my worth in the process, but it’s an uphill battle, one which I have to live as both a student and a self-employed producer.
God forbid the two ever meet.
You could say this makes life a little bit more complicated, but I guess it’s character building, I’m learning the tricks of the trade whilst I embark on my career a little earlier than expected. I’m doing things whilst I still don’t have to worry so much about money, and things of that nature. Of course I still worry about nature, I don’t have a lot of it, but at least as a student I get support. This isn’t a sympathy post, I’m just trying to highlight the difficulties of media work from my recent experiences: Not only do you have to ‘be in the know’ to be in the know, you can’t be a student, but if you aren’t a student you have to charge for what you do to support yourself, and no-one wants to know about you either way, unless of course you’ve got a portfolio the size of Jamaica and the funds to back it. It always comes down to money. I think 201MC has taught me that fate smiles upon the rich, not the talented, and without trying to sound like a pessimist, I see why people are so eager to jump onto the corporate band wagon, it’s so safe and comfortable.
Except it isn’t.
Cyclone is showing me what can be done when like-minded individuals put their heads together and decide to stand by fair trade ethics and community spirit. I’m amazed at the response I’ve been getting since it all kicked off a couple of months ago, I know there’s still a long way to go, but I like to think this is a career in the making. I still haven’t learned from all of my mistakes, I’m still my own worse enemy. Having sacrificed the entire of my Easter break to keep working on my project, and not remembering the last time I took a break, my body is at its absolute limit. The stress has made me weak at times, with the emotional continuity of a flickering light-bulb, I think people around me have noticed the cracks a little, I’m definitely not as healthy as I was before this period of ‘professional experience’. I was talking to one of my newly gained contacts, and after a very helpful feedback session about the work we’d done together I explained that I had been doing it (recently anyway) independently, running the business side as well as the production, and I’ve had to learn both trades in a couple of months. She sympathised, having embarked upon a similar path. She advised me to be careful about who I trust, but more importantly to listen to myself. When you need to take a break, you have to take a break, if the people you work with don’t understand that then you shouldn’t be working with them in the first place.
I guess I’ll take a break soon, I’ll ‘reward myself’ with more hours in the morning and a little more social time. I’ll be worse off without it. That being said, I’ve got a lot to sort out before the semester is out. With my exchange coming around pretty quickly I need to think about planning some contingencies for those who will be working on Cyclone whilst I’m in Sweden. I’m telling myself I’ll take a break, but I know I’ll be bringing my work with me.