When you’re a child, you have all kinds of ideas of what you want to be when you grow up. I definitely said I wanted to be a vet because my mom thought of becoming one when she was younger. When I was a teenager, I started thinking about more creative jobs. In my graduation yearbook, it actually wrote that I want to study interior design or photography. Well, that didn’t quite work out. I’m one of these people who are interested in so many things and it has always been hard for me to choose something. In general, I just don’t like being tied to something and the thought of doing the same thing for the rest of my life truly scares me. Of course, choosing a job doesn’t mean that you have to stay with it forever, but in terms of studying and job training, you do have to choose a direction, at some point.
I ended up studying American Studies, something hardly anyone ever understood. I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to people what exactly I’m doing and what I can do with my degree. At some point, I answered with: I want to be a journalist. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that it’s the only thing I could imagine doing for the rest of my life. I’ve always loved writing and photography so much, so it’s pretty much the only thing that makes sense. And since I hardly know a journalist who actually studied journalism, I was good with my field of study. One of them once told me that you can always learn techniques and computer programs, but you need to have something you’re passionate about to produce content. Also, I think that nobody can really teach you talent. Either you’re good writer or you’re not.
The problem with journalism is that lots and lots of people want to work in the media industry. Unless you know people in higher positions, it is super hard to get in. I know that because I’ve been unemployed for over a year, despite having done everything required for a position as a journalist. In Germany, you need A-levels, preferably a Master’s degree, job experience, language skills, photography skills and a whole lot of other things which apparently are super important for the job. I pretty much fulfilled every single one of them and still didn’t get a job. It’s the most frustrating thing I ever had to go through. I started doubting myself so many times. I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision and thought about doing something else. The problem was that I don’t really have the qualifications for anything else, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything other that write. So I continued trying.
This year, I finally started my first real job in journalism. It’s a trainee position to officially become an editor. It’s actually nonsense, since you pretty much do the same work as anyone else except that you get paid less, but for most positions in Germany, you need this official training. It’s just the way it goes and I’m glad that I’m finally working toward my future goals. And trust me, I have many plans for the future.
There are lots of reasons why I decided to become a journalist. It took me a while to figure out what kind of genre I want to work in, but after a few internships, I figured out which direction is right for me. I want to do serious journalism because for me, it’s important to write about important and real things. I want to meet people and tell their stories. I want to do something that matters. This realization took a while because for some reason, I always thought I wasn’t serious enough and that I’m better off writing gossip or girls-stuff. If someone would’ve told me a few years ago that I would someday prefer writing about politics over celebrities or whatever else I was once interested in, I would’ve never believed it. Well, screw all of those thoughts because I am totally interested in serious topics, I always have an opinion and I’m never afraid to share it. So that’s what I’m doing: working toward serious journalism. And all the other things, I can always cover through blogging.
So why do I want to be a journalist, work in a super tough field with lots of competition, crazy hours and shitty payment? Because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I need to be creative and writing means everything to me and I can do photography, as well. I want to meet all kinds of different people and the job is versatile which is good because I’m interested in so many different things and get bored very easily. It makes me so proud when I see my work in a newspaper and I think the whole media machine is just very important. And what is most important: so far, this job always let me be myself. No matter where I worked, I was able to just wear my clothes, I never had any problems with my tattoos and my bubbly and open-minded personality actually works pretty well. And nobody ever judged me for always using a pink highlighter or having a planner with a Disney princess on it. Because the thing is, it’s the skills that should matter and nothing else. And not to forget, I can listen to music while working, which totally brings me into my zone.
Journalism makes me happy and I have so many plans for the future and where I want to go. I’m actually excited because there are so many opportunities. And since I already know how damn hard it is to get in, that a rocky road can’t shock me, anymore.