In Good Company

Slate, where I began my first journalism internship almost exactly three years ago, laid off four staff members yesterday: Jack Shafer, Tim Noah, June Thomas and Juliet Lapidos. While I worked with all four of them in some capacity during my time at Slate, I spent the most time with Shafer.

There’s certainly a lot to say about him (see here, here and here), but I’m not going to say any of that. I met Shafer as a 21-year-old at her first journalism internship in the big, scary city of Washington, D.C., during the 2008 presidential election. I was young, impressionable. And an impression he certainly did make.

A few days after I started, he invited me for coffee by asking, “Do your parents let you drink coffee?”

They did, even though I didn’t. He bought me tea instead. At Slate in those days (god, how old do I sound?), it was all about coffee, Chop’t salads and the occasional Krispy Kreme box brought in by John Dickerson after a long stretch on the campaign trail.

Shafer and I worked together on a few projects that usually involved me doing some sort of LexisNexis research on an obscure term, but it was his presence in editorial meetings that I remember most. Never one to give up without a fight and always willing to play devil’s advocate, he’s the kind of guy you need in a newsroom full of opinionated journalists. I think it was even him who dubbed me Slate’s “office hipster” during one. Continue reading “In Good Company”

How to Handle Unemployment

It’s been a month since I returned to the U.S. and almost three months since I decided to quit my job. Earlier today, I wrote my 44th cover letter. I also discovered The GOOD Guide to Hustlin’. While I thoroughly enjoyed the completely relevant “How to Move Back Home and Keep Your Dignity” installment, the “How to Know When to Quit Your Job” article was inspiring.

Mostly, it reminded me that I am not alone. It also reminded me that I have control over this period of unemployment—and that’s important. I was not fired. I was not downsized. I was not bought out. I’m very lucky to be able to say that. I chose to leave my job and move back to the States.

Like Kareem, I am taking this time to figure out the next step in my career. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just wanting any job and applying for every job that remotely interests me. But that’s not the point. This article helped me remember that me that:

And you have to remind yourself that the goal isn’t to just get any other job.

I will find a job—a great job—but these things take time. Time to do things I couldn’t do if I had a full-time job—like speaking to my friend’s high school journalism students.