As a recent graduate with a healthy (or actually, unhealthy) amount of student loans piling up, finding a full-time job, in media, with some semblance of financial security is damn near impossible.
Going to job interview after job interview, I’ve come to realize that it’s either; change who you are to fit the city (and subsequently the world), or stick with your integrity and principles and be broke.
Aside from the fact that no one wants to hire a journalist who cares about objectivity and holding people and corporations accountable; entering a giant, bustling city such as downtown Toronto really changes one’s perspective on life and the outlook on their futures.
As I head downtown to my newest job interview located at no more than a 5 minute walk from Union station, I am inundated with the city, it’s people, the scenery, and the stature that comes with it all. Aesthetic figures are walking everywhere in their business suits or blouses and the architecture along with the skyline is simply outstanding. Combine that with the hustle bustle of the city and it really captures an urban kid’s attention.
I can’t help but want to be a part of this atmosphere; to join this game where everyone has to dress up and rush to work at the same time, and leave for home at the same time. Go to lunch with a bunch of suits and ride in Tesla’s or Mustangs. To climb the ‘corporate ladder’ and be able to one day sit at the ‘big kids” table. To be able to join the suits on the streets and be invited to those exclusive, esoteric meetings/parties. I long for the city but hate it’s philosophy.
It’s like the popular girls in the movie Mean Girls, you absolutely hate what those girls stand for (materialistic, shallow and appearance-oriented) but when they invite you to a party or into their posse, you can’t help but jump at the opportunity.
And that’s exactly how I feel when I go downtown. I hate everything that the city stands for: conformity, materialism, capitalism, and the idea that appearances rule everything. But when I enter into the city for a job interview, I can’t help but wish and hope that the firm wants me just as bad as I want to be a part of them.
It’s a vicious duality between maintaining character and making a living. Should I sacrifice my beliefs and values to enter a firm that will pay me a decent wage? Or should I stick by my philosophies and hope that I encounter a firm or CEO that embraces what I believe in?
All my life I have railed against those who are fake, or lack integrity. But is this what the next stage of life has to offer? The balance between survival and integrity? From Thomas More to fictional characters like Ned Stark, should I die for my cause or conform to live another day?
I am truly torn as to what I have to do, and maybe someone out there is dealing with the same issues that I am. How do YOU deal with this contradictory dilemma? And what are your thoughts on how I should respond? Should I even aspire to be like Thomas More and Ned Stark, martyrs of their beliefs?