It's been a long standing belief that the hardest time to find a job in this business is in December. November sweeps have just ended, the holidays are coming up, people are taking vacations, the staff is a skeleton crew for a few weeks.
Naturally, if you're a News Director, you want the contracts for your people to end in November because it makes it that much harder for them to leave.
It used to be that no one got hired during sweeps, but that seems to have changed. I had three clients gets jobs this month, and the same happened last year.
Still, it pains me when I hear from people with contracts that run out on November 30th. You may say, "Well, that's probably because that's when they started, right?"
Uh, no. Once again, grasshopper, these aren't the droids you're looking for.
Here's the latest Jedi Mind Trick from those ne'er-do-wells who come up with these devious tactics. People are getting hired in the middle of summer yet getting contracts that run for very odd lengths of time. Like two years and four months. Curiously, these odd contracts all seem to magically end on the last day of November.
Since most News Directors like their new people to start before sweeps, this hampers their efforts to hire you. The end result is that you've gotten interest on your tape, but the timing is off. You end up being stuck, perhaps signing another contract (which will no doubt end on the same date) with a station you want to leave.
Beware of contracts with unusual lengths, and always pay attention to the end date. While the end of February or May sweeps is not a problem, the end of November is. If you sign one of these, you could be staying a lot longer than the length of the contract simply because of the timing.