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Experience

November 15, 2009

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I have been living in the safe world of academia for over four months now.  It is a place intended to be a positive environment for experimentation and growth.

Emotions more associated with the “real world” were stirred up this week.

Syracuse University is one of several universities that participates in a program called News 21.  It is part of the Carnegie-Knight initiative structured around a class in the spring and an internship in the summer. The opportunity sounded interesting so I inquired only to find out that it is high competitive – few openings that are filled from multiple departments.

The process and outcome from this week are less interesting than the dynamics that were infused into the social environment here.  Suddenly, it felt like secrecy and competition were in the air.  Who was going to apply?  How were they preparing their applications?  Who got an interview?   Why was that person selected?

I was caught off guard at a bit.   I have come here to compete against myself.  I have set high standards for the colleagues I have managed in the past and I now place those standards on my own work.   At some point,  the idea of  competition becomes counterproductive.   Yet, it is all around us all the time.    I have been a bit removed from the pressures of New York City and having to interview for jobs –  constantly being judged on so many factors.   I felt empowered by choosing not to care what others think of me here….this is something that has pulled me down over the last few years.   Maybe we can never escape the idea of  competition and maybe my hope that all of us can excel and be successful is naive……..maybe the big bad world isn’t that accommodating.

I am left pondering how my 12 years of photo editing experience was quickly dismissed during my interview (in favor of my shooting experience).   I wonder (as the media industry continues to go through these monumental changes)  how I will be received when I start the job hunt again late next year.   Do employers really care about experience?  Experience in the real sense of the word – diverse and complex….layered and sophisticated…..tested experience.   I am fearing it is all about just having the immediate skills to do the job at hand and a willingness to work for little money.

What do you think?

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One comment

  1. I think you should get the most out of the time you’re there. This is a middle period where you are transitioning from a life that “was,” that had been wrapped in a form of identity, to one that “will be,” yet to be determined, which will have another impact on your identity. It is your path, and you should do an evalution of what you enjoy. If you dislike aspects of this competition, then don’t go for it. Focus on certain aspects of the career that you want, that’s where you should be focusing. I’m doing a lot of that thinking myself these days, so I’m with you, bro.



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