In the span of 10 months, it is amazing how much can change, and also stay the same.
A year earlier I was a student in that same crowd, looking to soak up some information, or possibly even meet someone who might consider me for that all-important first job. This time, I was sitting at the front of the room, hoping to share some information that could help a student in his or her young career.
My panel was titled “Redesigning Your Reality,” focusing on the changing media industry and what current students should do to prepare for the evolving workplace. The six-person panel shared stories and experiences from our careers—some people on the panel had much more established careers than me—and the clear theme was the need to be flexible and creative in pursuing your passion.
The message I tried to convey to students was that they should view the changes/challengers/uncertainties in the media world as opportunities, rather than hindrances. With the evolution in journalism, young professionals have the chance to create their careers, rather than wait for it to arrive.
That ultimate career goal, or dream job, may not exist right now. But that doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Maybe, you just have to create it.
A few students said they found value in that point, but honestly, I think most of them already knew that. I had spent the day talking with fellow panelists, my old professors and their students, and almost none of them gave off the old school thinking that is still prevalent in today’s newsrooms.
In most cases, they get it.
One of the most valuable aspects of the conference for me was having the chance to sit back and listen. I listened to the other panels, and also listened to the students. I listened to questions and presentations, considering how my thinking has changed since I started my first “job” in June.
As I sat there, I kept thinking that while our business is changing, the one constant is that there are people—some in the workplace, some soon to be–committed to changing with it.
That is good news.