This week, the New York Times profiled twins from Ohio who graduated from Rutgers with journalism degrees. They're 24, and can't get jobs in New York. How do you think this went? It went like this: they quoted Deadspin.
Opening the questionably titled "Jobs Wanted, Any Jobs At All," we learn that Kristy and Katie Barry are from Ohio, have applied for 100 jobs, and haven't had an interview in a year. They're "not wishing on milkwood seeds." They have $39K in student loans to repay. Are they doing everything wrong?
Besides sending Buckeyes out to prospective employers, emailing, Craiglisting, attempting to network in a softball league, an improv class, Facebook, and hanging out with people who are both sleeping in a museum as part of an exhibition (!!!) and spending $600 on an aptitude test to figure out what they're good at to start an online business? No. Forgivable things. Because big dreams require big chances.
Their dream is to work together in sports reporting or have a TV show, but they are flexible. They talk of teaching piano, or inventing, say, a lipstick-case microphone...The other day, a brainstorm hit. They would devise a blog called Twin Town, write about their lives and invite guest material, somehow woo advertisers.
Julia Allison's culpability aside, the Metro desk's just having a field day, now. The girls live with their brother and a friend on the Upper West Side. They've held down bartending jobs and dogwalking jobs. Except, "held down" might be overstating the case:
She works as a bartender, three nights a week, at Dive 75 on West 75th Street, making about $800 a week. Katie had been working at another bar, but was fired in June after landing in Cancun to begin a vacation. Her boss said she played the music too loud.
Forget the Cancun vaycay. $800 a week is $3200/month. There are writers working seven days a week who net about that. Ahem. Many young New Yorkers skim their taxes, but (read below) they don't: she's netting around $2200, presumably. Her rent on the Upper West Side in a pad split between her sister, her brother, and a friend is $725 (discomfort of a 2Br/1B aside, a great deal). That's $1475. Minus a monthly Metrocard, $80 for a smartphone bill, $30 for utilities (split between four, an over-estimation), and $200 for groceries (which, again: generous) leaves $1,083. And that student loan! Let's pretend Rutgers are Pound o' Flesh Shylocks. $500 a month. Fuckit, let's say you get mugged for $100 a week. That leaves you $183, and four days a week to bitch about not having a job. But instead, you're living like Oliver Twist?
A guy who manages a tomato-canning plant gives them canned tomatoes, olive oil and coconut milk. An accountant ex-boyfriend of Kristy's does their taxes. He also sends gifts, like a CD to learn Russian, although Kristy has never expressed even tepid interest in learning Russian. They, in turn, rake the leaves at his New Jersey home and wash his car.
Assuming this is true, "Will the guy who manages the tomato canning plant and keeps Kristy and Katy in free tomatoes, olive oil, and coconut milk get fired for stealing?" asks Lindsay Robertson at Daily Intel. "The Times actually used his name!" I don't see that in the article now, but how many managers of tomato-canning plants with loss-prevention blips out there can there be? So now the girls may be costing other people jobs.
Whoops. These girls need some advice. What would fellow Midwesterner Michael Moore have to say to them? Funny you should ask. They ran into him. With the reporter. They ran into Michael Moore with the reporter. I won't ruin that moment for you, but needless to say, he imparts some Yoda-like wisdom that ends with this:
He said, "Thank you very much and good luck."
Good luck, indeed. It's not like they're reinforcing every ridiculous stereotype about Midwesterners, jetsetting to Cancun, and letting the Times profile your starry-eyed misadventures. Maybe it's just not where you're at, but where you're from. And I'm not talking about Ohio. Let Gawker Employment Services help guide the way. You should start by hitting up that reporter for a connect.
This went out ten days ago:
Subject: [j2007] CAREERS - NYTimes, ProPublica, Chron of Higher Ed, NY
Post and more
To: J school class of 2007
We'd like to share some noteworthy openings for your perusal. Most
have time-sensitive deadlines.
1. The New York Times Syndicate is looking for a full-time Editorial
Assistant to replace Megan Goth, '08, who has left. The Syndicate has
hired a string of J-School grads in the past few years. This wing of
the Times is more magazine-like in structure and duties; the EA job is
a magazine-editor-track job rather than a writing job. This is from
Patti Sonntag, who is the Managing Editor of The New York Times
Syndicate: "The NYT Syndicate distributes news and features to more
than 2,000 newspapers and other media in about 80 countries. Our star
columnists include Christopher Hitchens, Jack Welch and Mikhail
Gorbachev. We also maintain partnerships with numerous magazines,
including Harvard Business Review, The Economist and Prospect. We're
looking for an editorial assistant who aspires to a career as an
editor. While there is a significant clerical component to the job,
we consider our EAs to be editors-in-training, responsible for
maintaining news wires and editing columns. Other duties include
providing support to partner newspapers and magazines, answering
salespeople's queries about rights to articles, and assisting the
photo editors. EAs are often granted considerable responsibilities if
they demonstrate consistent attention to detail, abilities as a copy
editor and line editor, and a general commitment to excellence. EAs
are paid on an hourly basis. Fluency in Spanish is a plus, as is
knowledge of Excel, Photoshop, InDesign and other programs. Start date
is Nov. 1. Please submit a cover letter and resume asap to Patti
Sonntag, managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org . //
Hey! And there are more where those came from (I've put them in our comments). Maybe it's not their fault after all.
Then again, in the last graf was this:
They had had a meeting with Deadspin, a sports blog, but no real jobs there, just the suggestion to join an Australian football team and write about it.
You should really just take the good ideas when you get them.