Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to School? Yes and No.

Last week, all the kiddos went back to school.  So did I, but not in the way you might think.  But it did inspire me on two fronts.

Primarily (please pardon the pun), the enthusiasm of all of the kids and staff is such a positive thing to be around.  I work for two area school systems, in their television departments.  I don't teach kids, I don't even have interns.  But I produce programs for the school systems' PEG channels, on an assignment basis.  So obviously, I'm more busy during the school year, then the summers.  When I get that first call, that first assignment of the new school's exciting.  One of the school systems that I work for has a separate building that houses our department, so I'm not in an actual school and there's no kids there.  So September 3 feels a lot like August 3.  But at the other school system, our department is adjacent to the TV production class.  And there's lots of kids.  They're all excited to see their old friends, to make new ones, and they're still excited about all of the stuff they're going to learn in the upcoming year to set them on their way to what they hope could be a successful career.  I identify with them even more this year.  I've picked up four new clients in the last month, all with work starting in September.  I'm excited about where these opportunities will take me.

And on the second front....about what I think you originally thought I meant. (Did you follow that?)  No, I have no intention of going back to school to further my education.  I have no desire to get a graduate degree.  To be frank, I don't understand why anyone in our industry would go after a graduate degree, unless they wanted to teach, and it was needed by their future employer.  Too many times, I've heard peers complain about not being able to find work, and they're assuming that if they get a graduate degree, that the work will follow.  No.  No, it won't.  Employers hire people based on their skills and experience.  They don't hire people based on their degree.  I promise you that.  An undergraduate degree is great.  There are fabulous programs out there that will teach you everything you need to know to get that first job.  That first job will get your your second, because you'll have gotten additional on-the-job training, and work experience.  That counts for SOOO much. Don't de-value it.  Another scenario:  you got an undergraduate degree, but have been having trouble getting a full-time job in the industry, and you're waiting tables instead.  How do you move into the industry from here?  You get the experience and skills you need, any way you can, whenever you can.  You're making money doing SOMETHING, so that's great.  Get some experience at the public access station.  Participate in a 48-hour film project.  Take some pro-bono work for a good cause and experience.  Then SELL this stuff on your resume.  Don't even mention the waiting tables thing on your resume.  Your resume needs to reflect the kind of work you WANT to do, not whatever the hell you're doing to pay the bills. 

The only time I go back to school these days is to do TV work, and make money. 

I do want to mention however, that "continuing education" is a whole different thing.  Taking classes to learn new software is fantastic when you can afford it.  If money's limited, visit

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