Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rush to judgment

Okay, back from a very long vacation (miss me?) after which I returned to an exploding email inbox and a very angry cat who is seriously ticked off at me. ("So, you go away for weeks and then expect me to jump into your lap and purr when you call? Fuhgeddaboudit.")

We've heard the term "dog days of August" but in television news June may as well be known as the "month of mistakes." That's because it's the beginning of the longest job hunting season of the year, situated right after May sweeps. No more sweeps till November, so there's plenty of time for the revolving door to spin.

The mistakes I'm referring to are the ones made when accepting a new job, and, in many cases, that first job. In the case of new grads, this is particularly true.

Tell me if you've felt this way. You're either stuck in the ninth circle of television news hell or just got that diploma and cannot wait to get your life started. You're ready to jump at the first offer and don't care what it is.

News Directors know this.

More people get stuck in bad situations with bad contracts during the summer because they're simply too eager to take the leap. NDs prey on new grads in particular because they're still wearing rose colored glasses and naive enough to think everyone in the real world is a nice person with only their best interests at heart. They know the last thing a new grad wants to do is move back home and hang out in mom's basement for months waiting to cash that first paycheck while the student loan lurks nearby. So they throw the worst possible offer out there, knowing you'll take it.

This is the time for patience.

When you get an offer, any offer, you must take the time to step back and take a good look at it. If there's a contract, get a lawyer to read it. Talk to the people who used to work at the station. Do your research on the News Director and the company.

It's just like dating. It's better to be in no relationship than a bad one.

When you rush to judgment, you often make mistakes. Nothing feels better than getting that first job or a better job, but nothing feels worse than the realization that you've made a huge mistake and are stuck for two years.

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