Its the worst of times and the best of times.
Digital Awards winner David Dunkley Gyimah reports on creating your own job, which ultimately will have employers tapping you, as well as working with new companies, not in the traditional sense of paper-handling intern, but in influencing their digital media strategy.
This screw back corollary proves one thing, we've been here before, and cyclically, we'll come back again.
If you're a university grad it's cold comfort; if you're different in other ways, including ethnicity (Yep still!!) it can be an up hill struggle finding work.
You and Yours BBC Radio 4's consumer programme about youth and university unemployment made for grim listening yesterday but it wasn't too long ago that I remember upping sticks to South Africa to find work to avoid a UK recession.
In South Africa, I found work - back from the BBC in London, from the very departments that previously said "No thank you".
Lesson 1. It's not personal
How to find work
One of my bug bears, for those that know me is the paucity of industry-wide creative thinking in exploiting and creating new economies.
As a fellow Artist in Residence put it to me which led to him launching New Deal of the Mind, we'll get ourselves out of this recession by mining our rich creative talents.
The Did You Know, series takes poetic license when it says the following, but broadly speaking, SEO, Twitter, Videojournalism, were either absent or non-existent in 2004.
"The Top 10 in-demand jobs for 2010, did not exist in 2004"
There are broadly two streams of jobs on offer Traditional industries ( that mop up huge numbers and keep the economy going) Vs Emergent (experiment with new ideas, and drive the new economy before they themselves become traditional)
At my keynote talk to the UK chief executives in sport last week , I spoke about the hidden employee; the one you never knew you needed, because there is, as yet, no job description.
The New Journalist
Here IS their description:
- Web savvy -well versed within the ecosystem of Net and various apps and websites
- Read widely and want to understand processes e.g. Why does that work?
- Has an understanding of audiences and behaviours on the web e.g. why text walls don't work in blogs etc.
- Has an affinity for technology - e.g. open up word press; they don't understand, take out a book and then spend hours ( well spent) trying to understand.
- Know how to write for the web - they blog. What makes a good article?
- Ask lots of questions and feeds back lots of ideas. They share and consume.
- They are both creative journalist and entrepreneurs. They'll do before asking.
Are you a new journalist?
If that's you or inching towards you, then I have been singing your praises and I'm thrilled to say there was a great meeting of minds, a singing from the same hymn sheet with various CEOs from my talk.
A couple have already sought new relationships with universities; you'll find on this video towards the end a delegate tells me he's taken it on board.
And others have been asking about the new journalist, the one who does all the above or wants to and can add new value to traditional and emergent companies.
Yes, it's not easy; that much I know and appreciate, and this is not something you turn overnight, but I have been fortunate enough to 'mentor' some people who have proved. "You can set your own agenda".
The question is who do want to work for and how badly do you want it? Because if you're a new journalist and have not started some of the above of your own volition, you're leaving yourself to greater competition in the market place.
What was it, please correct me, Radio 1: The number of young people wanting to work in the media - some 20,000. The number of jobs available in trad media on rotation ( people leaving for others to take their place) 2000.
Five tips for new journalists
- Study the present and what might constitute the future of the web, journalism and comms.
- Study those that have power and the ability to employ, and strike a relationship.
- Prove you're a cut above the rest by exploiting the web. Like you, many of us e.g. Rob Chiu started from zero knowledge. He inspires me. I might have developed viewmagazine.tv but I know I am no where near the talents of others I have come across.
- Shift your job seeking focus from the end of your course, when everyone else is looking to a nearer time line
- Seek out the emergent and traditional. If a job doesn't exist, it's waiting to be made, but be sure in your mind, it's not about finding a job, but what value you bring to your new employee
This is a numbers game and you create your own luck, not now, but then.