If you graduated with a liberal arts degree and live near New York City, there is a good chance you work in the media industry. Junior-level media jobs may have a low barrier to entry, but if you are successful, you could set the tone for an organization or its practices. Even as a production assistant, media buyer, or writer, you could have a global impact with the right skills and connections.
Perhaps you work for a large media organization in Midtown–or maybe a startup downtown in SoHo’s Silicon Alley. While media companies are generally known for relaxed dress and exciting projects, grueling hours are frequently tacked on. Who better to work long hours than young 20-somethings with no familial commitments?
We live in a time where media is considered obscenely trendy. By its very nature, media is meant to be trendy–a story must delivered in a timely, entertaining, and easy-to-digest fashion. Our abundance of communicative technology enhances the presence of media’s impact. Growing up in a decade that champions individuality and social sharing makes everyone–especially millennials–content creators.
BuzzFeed is the prime example of what happens when you let young adults born in the late 80’s and early 90’s produce work for an Internet enterprise. But what happens when we outgrow those profitable listicles about cats or whiny nostalgia posts? After all, we’re the flaky generation–will we stick it out or jump ship?
Unfortunately, that is the uncertainty we face as new media practitioners. Our job is dependent on captive audiences that demand interesting, authentic work. It also doesn’t help that we can easily create new channels (ie: websites or parody Twitter accounts) as fast as we can send Snapchat selfies.
Despite the potential for glamorous media jobs 10-15 years down the line, we don’t have the immediate job security of a finance or engineering job. At a moment’s notice our job could be cut or account could be put up for review. So long to free catered lunches, tickets to sporting events, and tech-sponsored open bars.
Creative media isn’t an exact science. We have to constantly reinvent projects, generate ideas, and update practices to keep pace with a changing world. If we don’t meet standards, someone else with fresh ideas will replace us. Sometimes we might feel marginalized as our friends who work for banks can drop bills at bars without flinching. However, I have faith in our ingenuity to take media production to the next level…one tweet, film, or blog at a time.