In life, does our careers ever go as planned? What’s your plan B?
What is your plan C? Are you prepared for the curve balls life will throw at you?
I was invited to participate in a webinar sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists entitled “What’s Your Plan B? How to Prepare for Career Transitions.” I began to think what advice would I have to give.
As I sit and write this at 11pm Sunday, #OGirlMedia has been a thing since February 2017. In that short time, I’ve interviewed a Hall of Fame Basketball Coach, a hip hop legend (coming soon!), made my TV debut, had a poem performed by Hollywood/Theatre actresses covered stories in Texas & New York and most of all I’ve been happy. I have 30 blog post and counting! On this #OGM journey I’ve received numerous affirmations from strangers that I am on the right path. I have SOMETHING! People are now starting to contact me with story ideas! That means so much to me because they trust my skills to tell their story.
How did I get here?
Painfully. I graduated college in the fall of 2008. I took the advice of everyone around me, and created www.oliviadsanders.com! I sent my reel to stations and applied online for entry level reporter jobs. I never heard back from anyone. In 2010, following more career advice, I started a grad school program to further my journalism skills in hopes of finding a job. That did not go well and after the first semester I was looking for work. Through networking I auditioned for the multimedia department of a major New York newspaper. I worked on a breaking news story during my audition! I could not believe it! They published it on their website! I got hired for a part time videographer position with another station in New York! I was on a roll! Shortly after this, like weeks later I found out I was pregnant, moved back to my hometown and started working at a local station. That gig didn’t last long because my son was born three months early. BLINK! BLINK! And just like that my short journalism career was OVER.
Becoming a Mom, I managed to work with my brother’s Congressional campaign in 2012. I helped record and edit his radio ads that aired in the DFW market. In 2013, I tried applying to journalism jobs AGAIN. I updated my reel in Arkansas. I was ready to get back on the horse! But I couldn’t find a job in journalism to pay the bills, so I fell back on my Spanish degree and taught 8th grade. That led to another failed job and more unhappiness professionally. I was fired for being a single Mom in 2015. With no job, funds running low, I made the painful decision to move my son with family while I tried to get on my feet.
Media has always been my first love.
I graduated from the High School for Finance and Communications. I was recording voice-overs in English and Spanish while in high school. My lack of job options blew my mind.
I’ve been running from my passion, trying to earn a paycheck to live hand to mouth.
It’s now 2017 and I’ve never had another journalism job since my son was born in October of 2011. Career breaks can be devastating! During this break I attended numerous Journalism networking events that led nowhere.
2016, I was working at a TV network’s gift shop in New York City. I had access to seeing how they operate from a very low level. I’d previously worked for this TV network and interned for them in their broadcast news department. I wanted to get my foot BACK in the door anyway I could. It didn’t lead anywhere. But I learned so much about how employees should be treated and valued no matter the job titles. My work uniform automatically put me in a different category than the TV workers. Most of them never interacted with me outside of my job. But lunch breaks gave me access to listen in on lunch meetings with producers and sometimes talent. I heard their thought processes in planning coverage. I also realized a diverse voice wasn’t always apart of their conversations. So many faces didn’t look like mine yet they were shaping news coverage. I LOVED this access.
A New Beginning……
HOWEVER, Out of the frustration of working there, I started #OGirlMedia. Divinely inspired from God, #OGirlMedia is my dream job! It’s telling the stories of voiceless people who aren’t represented always. I want to touch on taboo topics. I want to make people think. I am opening up my life in a way, I haven’t done on social media. I’m not here for shock value or to be the latest celeb best friend. With immense passion, I want to visually and creatively tell stories. I am not putting myself in a box when it comes to the types of stories I choose to tell. I can go into communities that make some people uncomfortable and get the story.
At this point in my life I’m taking my own advice and following my passion. I’m not asking for your opinion or advice. Following the advice of others have not gotten me what I wanted in terms of my career. I’m creating media on my terms. Some doors have opened and I’m trusting God for more! I am not supposed to have a career trajectory like anyone else. I have never held a journalism job for a year. Yet, you’re reading my media website. It has taken resilience, determination and a tenacious spirit to still be here in journalism 14 years after I started college.
When I was at my lowest, looking for an opportunity a News Director’s advice to me was I needed to find someone who would “…take a chance on you.” Another journalist told me I needed to attend more #NABJ conferences. I’ve received totally inadequate advice over the years that didn’t serve my situation. I did say it has been a painful journey to get to where I am today.
My logo for #OGIRLMEDIA is purposeful. Believe it or not, I don’t have the type of hair accepted in broadcast news. My decision to be natural probably held me back somewhat. However, I am committed to having natural hair. My logo is in your face! You see my beautiful locs shaped into an “O”! My wonderful smile greets you! I had to put myself in my logo. I am the face of my brand, my movement, my moment, #OGIRLMEDIA.
Join Me Today!
Tumblr (I need to update this!)
I don’t have a Plan B at this point. #OGIRLMEDIA will work. I truly believe God has been preparing me for this brand my entire life.
Talk to me in the comments!
Tell me what’s your plan B?
What plans worked for you?
What plans didn’t work?