Once upon a time, when adults asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I eagerly responded, “I want to work for a glossy magazine!”.
When I was a senior in high school, I won $100 for an essay about how, one day, I would have my own magazine and call it “Laryssa”. Heck, if Oprah and Martha could do it, why couldn’t I do it too?
If you ask me now what I want to be when I “grow up”, I wouldn’t have a good answer. Right now, I just want a full-time job, one that pays me enough to allow me to move out of my parents’ house. In general, what I want to be is a writer, editor, and creative go-to girl, but I probably won’t be those things at a glossy magazine. So I do those things in my spare time.
What I find most amazing is how quickly the publishing industry has changed over the past five years. When I graduated high school and entered college as a communications major, I could not imagine the death of print and the slow evolution of major publishing houses like Condé Nast, a company that I thought would be my ideal employer (a few days ago, they cut 180 jobs by closing several magazines).
Young professionals who pursue careers in the technology sector realize that they will constantly have to update their skill sets to remain employed. But people in media? Well, they went to school, learned how to write and communicate well, honed their creativity, and paid their dues as interns, working their way to top editorial positions.
Now, I think the publishing industry is more volatile than the tech industry. In many ways, the former depends on the latter.
Sure, I could probably find a job in interactive/digital media, which is booming. But I don’t think anyone has really found a solid business model for non-print publications. I happen to like online magazines and newspapers, and I’m glad that good writing will find a new, non-glossy, home. But I never said, “Mommy, I want to be a blogger when I grow up.”