I don’t know about you, but I have had quite the interesting year. I went from living with my mom and working at a grocery store to getting my first job in the far north of Alberta. In between I did a three-month internship at a campus radio station in the north of France. Now as 2012 comes to an end (and did not end in a Mayan apocalypse) I just have to wonder: what’s next?
In January I was pretty down since I was spending most of my weeks filling groceries bags and enduring grumpy customers saying their bags were too heavy. I was beginning to understand why the characters in “Clerks” hate anyone who comes into their store.
The rest of the week I would spend at the job office, being encouraged by the understandably chirpy job counsellor who kept telling me my job was right around the corner. It’s nice to be encouraged, but after five months, you get tired of the cheerleading.
Yet it paid off as the people at the agency pointed me to an ad for an internship at Radio R2R in Rouen, France. Since one of the reasons why no one in the media industry was hiring me was lack of experience, this seemed like the perfect solution.
It worked out pretty well. The trip gave me three months of experience, it allowed me to interview important people such as the future minister of foreign affairs and I got to visit a few nice towns during my days off.
After another month at the job office spent sending out resumes and going through a few phone interviews, I finally got my first official job as a journalist. By late September I was leaving Quebec City and heading for Fairview, Alberta, to work at the Fairview Post, which is owned by Sun Media.
Of course I would have preferred something closer to home so that it wouldn’t take an entire day for me to fly home, but you can’t be picky about your first job.
It’s like Michael Gambon said in “Layer Cake”: “You’re born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son.”
Very few of us ever get to that rarefied atmosphere, but I do feel the need to keep on climbing.
Fairview is a small market; there is no denying that. I was hired as a multimedia journalist, but since I work on the weekends I do mostly coverage of local hockey games. This would have been fine if I had ambitions to be a sports reporter, but even though I was born in Canada, my passion lies elsewhere. The times when I felt the most home in terms of work were when I was covering the Toronto Comic Con or attending the Toronto International Film Festival while I was at Sheridan College.
To better illustrate my point, when I interview hockey coaches, I can get them talking for an average of four minutes. However, when I interviewed Ian Clay, a former Fairview resident now working in Los Angeles as a filmmaker, we talked for thirty minutes. Slight difference.
The weather in Alberta has not been kind to me so far. I was overjoyed to finally buy my first car. It makes you feel like an actual adult; you know what I mean? Unfortunately, it snowed in early October, causing me to skid off the ice and break a headlight. Little did I know it takes months for Hyundai to order parts for repairs, so the car was not ready for pickup until early December. By then I had the winter tires installed so I was confident to hit the road.
The car was repaired in Grande Prairie; a bigger city located 102 km from Fairview. As I drove on the highway towards Fairview, I must have hit a patch of black ice because the car once again skidded off the road and landed upside down in the snow. I was all right, but I do believe the headlight was once again broken. It’s been three weeks and the insurance company has yet to approve my claim. At this rate, I will have spent more time in a rental car than in the car I am financing.
On the plus side, walking away unscathed from the scene of an accident does a lot for you self-esteem. Once the disappointment of breaking my car wore off, I did get a bit of a Chuck Norris feeling in my stomach. That said, I am never going above the speed limit ever again, not even by five kilometres.
The year ended with me taking three plane trips to Quebec City. I was only there for six days, but I had enough time to do the important things: have a great Christmas, see my grandmother, go to the movies with my mother and my brother, celebrate my mom’s birthday and eat enough sugar to kill a diabetic. For once the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” had a deeper meaning for me.
As 2013 begins, I have a full-time job, a stronger resume, and hopefully I will also have a repaired car. I still write movie reviews on my blog and for Examiner.com, so hopefully that will help steer my career in a direction where I have more to offer.
No offense to sports reporter but this is definitely not my news beat. I have learned that when it comes to hockey, it is a lot more fun to occasionally watch it from the comfort of your couch. When you are in the actual arena, you have to endure noisy fans, a cold temperature, and a distinctive smell of armpit and feet. If you watch it on TV, you can do it with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other so you can switch channels when Don Cherry shows up. In fact, if they are playing “Goon” on another channel, I will probably watch that instead.
Still, given all of the tragedies that have been in the news this year, I count myself lucky to be alive and kicking, with a paying job. Come on 2013; show me what you got.