Here is where my troubles with the Boomer mindset started. Many Boomer editors (all that I came in contact with) said you had to have “hard news” experience (i.e. covering murders, court cases, etc) in order to get a job as an entertainment journalist. I do not have the stomach for that kind of work. I was a good entertainment journalist. But this did not matter. I needed hard news experience. I still think this is ridiculous, because entertainment reporting and murder coverage are two different animals.
I still would apply for newspaper entertainment writing jobs. I even got an interview at the Cedar Rapids Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for an entertainment writing job. They had me critique their entertainment section as part of the interview. They used all my ideas and then hired a Boomer with “hard news” experience.
In 1993, the web was not what it is today. And I could not afford a computer on $5/hour. If it were 2008, I would have just started blogging. But there were no blogs then.
So the first thing I learned in 1993 was that a set of rules were in place. If they didn’t make sense – oh well. And you couldn’t get the cool job unless you suffered first – talent was not really all that important.
The second thing I learned in 1993 was that working in an office was a lot like going to high school. And this startled me. I had just come out of four years at a really cool Big 10 school where “you could be you” and people were very accepting. The work world was very “political” (which in high school we called being in a “clique”), you were treated like a child (big brother was constantly looking over your shoulder), and you were judged on behavior-related issues rather than outcomes (at work that meant time at the desk, in high school that meant sitting quietly while your teacher pontificated).
Even though I did not know I was a member of Generation X at the time, this is where the framework for my stealth behavior at work started. This is where I started to learn how to take a beating and how I could quietly get what I wanted. But it was only the start. It took me years before I was actually able to be a successful stealth operator.
My regular readers do not have to worry that I will be writing blog entries about my career for each year since 1993. My plan is to pick a few significant years – and 1993 was one of them.