|Brad Belote is the digital content|
director at KY3 Inc. in Springfield, Mo.
He graduated from the Missouri School
of Journalism in 1997 with a degree in
Dear newly-minted graduate (now or later), nothing is going to turn out the way you think it will.
When you leave the hallowed halls of the School of Journalism, you’re likely leaving confident that you know what you want to do, where you want to go and how you’ll get there. After all, you’re now armed with the journalism seal of approval: a degree from Mizzou.
I don’t want to discount its value. Membership in that Mafia has its privileges. And you’ll always to stay connected to that special place. (Some day, you’ll realize just how short a time you spent there and pine to go back.)
But at the end of the day, it’s your life and your story that you are now fully responsible for. There is no one right way to write this story. Allow me a moment to share the lessons I’ve learned producing mine:
The grass isn’t always greener. I had never been in or heard much about Springfield, Missouri, until I got a job here. I had no intention of being here very long. I scored a job before graduation but had my sights set on something bigger. I didn’t know what; I didn’t know where, but I had no reason to believe it would be in market #74.
I flirted with opportunities elsewhere but in the end, I asked myself, “Have I learned everything I possibly can here? Is there more room for me to grow? Are there more mountains to climb?” I was spoiled to be working in such a fantastic place with fantastic people. They kept opening doors for me and I kept earning the right to go through them.
Choose wisely. There is a lot to be said for choosing the right company, the right boss and the right co-workers. Never compromise those things when looking for a job. The media world is a shaky place right now; companies are struggling to find their way in the universe. Find out how the company and its management behaved in 2008-2009 when the world nearly fell off a cliff. That will tell you a lot about whether you want to work there.
Ask for help and receive it well. There is no shame in stopping and asking for directions. A good mentor or coach is invaluable as you navigate your career and your life. I haven’t done it often enough and on reflection, see where I missed opportunities to make better decisions. Google doesn’t know everything so meet people, make connections and lean on them whenever you can.
And my final advice, I borrow from Howard Stern: Enjoy, even when you’re not enjoying. There are billions of people who only dream of the lives we have. In the big picture, we don’t have much to complain about. Smile, laugh, sing, dance, and get over it.
BJ ’97 Broadcast
Digital content director at KY3 Inc. in Springfield, Mo.
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Editor's note: If you're a Mizzou journalism alum who would like to contribute to the Letters Home series, send us an email at email@example.com with your letter, your name, your sequence and graduation year, your current job and contact information.