Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moving Time!

This is going to be one of those quick posts because it is 5 a.m and I haven't actually slept in my bed yet. I'm done packing and I leave for New York in 4 hours. Can you believe it? I can't. Today was my last day of work at McKeldin Library and it went by pretty fast. People brought food, we partied (as only librarians can) and I got a cool Testudo beer glass and an awesome sweater no one has claimed in the two years I've been at the library. I'd say a good day all in all.

But on to the awesomeness...I start at SPIN Magazine on Monday. Yes, this Monday and yes, that SPIN Magazine. Now there are pros and cons to this and I'm sure I'll catch flack for taking an unpaid internship, but sometimes you've gotta do, what you've gotta do. It's a great opportunity and aside from being paid zilch I'm extremely excited, but confident. I had to complete a writing test last week in less than 24 hours and it was an annoyingly vague assignment, but I did it. I'm going to include it below since I'm so proud of it and no one will probably ever read it between SPIN's pages.

Ahhh! I'm moving! :) I don't know when or if it will ever fully set in. The car is packed with an obscene amount of my stuff and I'm ready to go. My only hope is that I don't have to move again for at least two years. I'm so tired of moving from place to place. I'm ready to settle in for a while and just enjoy as my life unfolds.

Here's the piece I wrote for SPIN. The assignment was to write about the band I thought was most important to right now and why. I think I did a pretty good job. :)

Kings of the World

By Adaora Otiji

Summer is all about concerts, fun and freedom. The season wouldn’t be complete without the sweat that comes from moving, intoxicated, to your favorite band as they own the stage and make every cent you paid for your ticket worthwhile.

In the past few months many bands have graced stages across the U.S., but the one that captivates SPIN has fast become Nashville’s Kings of Leon. It seems almost impossible to escape the repetitive croon of “Use Somebody,” as the Kings command radio airwaves and sell out amphitheatres around the world. The band’s unavoidable and unforgettable electric indie sound has helped them to gain a fervent and ever growing concert fan base.

Until their 2008 album, Only by the Night, Kings of Leon received praise in Europe, but failed to reach the same success in the U.S. The album catapulted the quartet to stardom, winning their first Grammy for the single “Sex On Fire,” two BRIT Awards for “Best International Group” and “Best International Album,” and an NME award for “Album of the Year,” all in 2009 alone.

Kings of Leon haven’t slowed since their 2003 debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, and the summer has brought a plethora of possibilities for the band. The fuel of “Sex On Fire’s” static guitar rhythm and raspy vocals has landed them sold out headlining tours, a spot on Saturday Night Live and, most recently, a stop on their North American tour at Chicago’s Lollapalooza alongside music legends Jane’s Addiction and Depeche Mode.

After years of working to be noticed, accepted and respected in the U.S., the Kings of Leon finally have it all, for now, while the world waits with bated breath for another amazing album.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The End of an Era

Hello all,

I haven't written lately because for some reason my musings have been mainly about life, not employment, per se. It's all just setting in. The fact that I'm actually moving is progressively hitting me harder everyday. Especially when I look at my closet...and my dresser...and my shoes... If anyone ever asked me if I am a materialistic person I would say no, but if you walked into my room someone might suggest driving me to a shopaholics anonymous meeting.

Anyway, finally, really leaving the nest has caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about my childhood and my friends and always ends with "Oh God! I am so old." It feels like the end of an era and how fitting that today is my last day with Esme, my car. She's so much more than that though. My car represents my first real step into adulthood. My little Mazda was my first car and I paid for it on my own, so seeing it go is painful, but necessary to move onto the next phase of my life. Like cutting the umbilical cord, as graphic an image as that is.

After this evening I can finally start packing. I have my huge suitcases and I'm ready to go. :)

The only recent development I can share with you about my job hunt is that I am continuously applying for jobs and I recently had an interview at SPIN magazine. I really liked the office. It was right in the middle of Canal Street in New York. I have no news to report on that except that I realized after the interview I am not an articulate person by any stretch of the imagination and I subsequently realized that this is why I write. I can't edit myself when I'm rambling verbally instead of on paper.

I'm not sure how many of you are unemployed and watch TVlike I do, but the trailer for "Post Grad" looks pretty good. For some reason it makes me happy to see Alexis Bledel playing my, and pretty much everyone's, role in her movie. I'm seriously wondering if they're going to make the ending a fairytale where Bledel gets a great job or if it will end realistically with a tired, frustrated and jobless college graduate.

One last thing, In an effort to turn you on to the woes of others besides myself I've added an application to the blog. It's a newsreel on the lower right hand side of the page listing current articles related to unemployed college grads. Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Data, Data Everywhere

Apparently data is where it's at. An article published in the New York Times claimed that being a statistician will be the "it" career in ten years. As it is now those who have the gift of data analysis make $125,000 on average.

I can't help but feel that I've missed the boat. My most painful class during my last semester was all about analyzing data for media use. Granted I sucked at everything that it entailed, I completely wrote statistics off as a viable career, not just for me, but at all. More power to those who have a gift for numbers, but it isn't me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blame College for Your Employment Woes...

A woman who became a college graduate in April is placing blame where it is apparently due...her college. Trina Thompson, a 27-year-old New York woman, has filed a lawsuit against her Alma Mater because she can't find a job.

The entire situation seems a little drastic to me, but I do think Thompson has a pretty strong grievance: her so called "career center" hasn't done their job in helping to assist her. As someone who found little to no use for the "career center" at my university I can completely relate. Granted, Maryland is currently in a deficit and the University of Maryland has seem major cuts in the last few months, but I feel like one woman in no way constitutes a "career center."

I've never been one to blame my problems on others, but this may become a fad if she follows through...and wins. The last thing our economy needs is a trend of young, lazy college graduates blaming schools instead on putting their nose to the grindstone and sticking this crappy economy out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So, tell me about yourself…

*I wrote this post a few days ago, but I've waited to publish it because I hadn't given my notice at my steady, financially secure job, which I'm quitting to pursue life in the big city. Moving without a job may be stupid, but it would be even worse to blab before actually resigning and lose said steady job. So this was all in the interest of covering my ass.*

My life has been a series of interviews for the past few weeks. Whether it’s a job, an apartment or the third degree on what I want on my hot dog. I’m constantly talking about my likes and dislikes, selling myself to get what I want. I have to admit, I’m getting good too, but I’ll be glad when the press is over and I can once again be the one asking the questions.

The last few days in New York have been some of the most interesting of my life. I’ve been quacked at, hit on by a drunk man at night, in a bad neighborhood, whilst he took swigs from a bottle of Jack Daniels, and met lots of interesting people (they can't all be negative, although, being quacked at was absolutely hilarious).

I’m on the verge of being employed (though don’t tell the people whose apartments I’m looking at). I’ve spent the better part of this week in my future home, New York City, and more notably interviewing for a position with Entertainment Weekly, the latter of which I’m very excited about to say the least. I’m hoping to be the top choice, but then again, who isn’t? Either way, Maryland will be a distant memory by the end of next month when I become apart of the hustle and bustle of New York.

Constantly being on display the way I have been takes a lot out of you and as I scribble this on my little notepad to post later, I’m sitting on the C train to Manhattan hoping that I’ve sold myself enough. Maybe just enough to give me the kick start I need for a real life where I write about what I love in a gorgeous office by day and feast on Ramen noodles by night.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Good things happen in New York City...

I’m not going to waste the time of the four (or gasp—maybe even five—people who read my blog) with apologies for not writing. I’ve been avoiding it, just like I’ve been avoiding everything for fear of failure up until about a week or two ago. I was skimping on my writing and becoming really good friends with my comfortable bedding and Abby on NCIS, but no more! (Well, maybe less.)

I had what I’m sure most recent grads looking for a job in this market have had or will have at some point, an existential crisis. I doubted my abilities as a writer and a journalist for about two weeks and I completely fell off the map. I stopped writing. I checked my e-mails, but didn’t respond to them and basically kept to myself about any aspiration I may have had in the past or currently had for the future. As I’m sure most will tell you from experience, you have to keep on chugging, and I did. And now I’m fine. I’m so fine in fact, that I have had a shit-eating grin on my face almost regularly for the last few days.

In a rare punishment and pleasure I spent the last nine days traveling with my family, four of those were spent in New York City. When I arrived I felt uncertain, but sure about the good things that would happen to me in this city, but I never imagined I’d leave with such confidence in my ability to grow up and make a career and a living for myself. Ultimately, New York gave me the hope that it would all work out. Something countless people have said to me in the last few months, but meant nothing until a few days ago.

I happened to be in the city on a day when Mediabistro was hosting a seminar on “Landing your first job in media.” So, I come bearing gifts for all those questions you never quite knew the answers to.

  • Sadly, the most important thing when you’re trying to get a job is who you know. Therefore, Networking is the most important thing you can do for your career.
    • “Put yourself before your resume.” That’s what panelist and Men’s Health Associate Editor Jason Feifer said is the most important aspect of this delicate dance you have to do to make your way. “Don’t just shove your business card at someone and say ‘call me if you’ve got something.’ You have to invest time in getting to know the person.”
    • Utilize sites like LinkedIn. They make it easy for you to network and the site will even set up the introduction for you.
  • So when you actually get around to applying for a position that person who you might just know through someone else you met over a cocktail will be able to put a face to your name or you’ll at least have a personal reference so you “float to the top,” as was continuously repeated throughout the two hour panel.
    • Always PDF. Some people may not be able to open word docs and the formatting won’t get screwed up either.
    • To Whom It May Concern should never grace your cover letter. Find out who you’re writing to, even if it’s the hiring supervisor.
    • Follow directions when you send in your resume. If the advertisement asks you to write “InStyle EA” in the subject- Do it!
    • Follow up. When all is said and done, you can get lost in the shuffle. Sending an e-mail a few days later to make sure your application was received can really help your chances and help you “float to the top.”
  • When you get the interview (positive thinking here) sending a Thank You Note can make or break your chances.
    • Create a personal connection with your interviewer. Don’t just send a bland “thanks for your time” waste of inbox space. If you want to make it count recall something unique about your interview—something that makes you stand out. According to the panel sending this life changing letter is best within 48 hours.

My vigorous note taking aside, the one thing all of these panelists seemed to have in common regardless of their medium is that they all said they entered the market during a recession. Whether it was after 9/11 or a few years before, for all of them circumstances were never easy. I personally don’t think they ever will be, but the important thing is that it’s doable. This, ladies and gents, is the source of my calm heartbeat and shit-eating grin. :D

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And So It Begins

I am now officially an alumna of the University of Maryland. It's been a week. A very exhausting week. Funny, considering I don't have anything horribly mentally challenging to do anymore except read a book of theories on life by Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran (graduation gift from mother).

Yep, life has definitely slowed down since taking that 20-foot walk across a stage to receive a "lithograph" documenting my four-year achievement. The most excitement I've had since graduation is recovering from my much-needed tonsillectomy on Friday. After two years of trying to convince incompetent doctors that my tonsils were indeed infected I finally found one who agreed with me. So now I have become the definition of laziness, complete with a bell for any beck and call I may have.

I'm finally feeling up to stepping up my game and rejoining the world. I've managed to secure an internship with during the summer, which has it's pros and cons. The most massive con being no pay, but the fact that the site gets 50,000 hits a day and that it's all via telecommuting make it somewhat reasonable. Plus, there's the chance that they may hire me after a few months, but we'll see what happens.

In scouting job sites I came across advice archives on For those of you who don't know, Ed2010 is a site for aspiring magazine journalists who want to be editors by the year 2010. I remember going to my first meeting during freshman year four years ago and thinking, "yeah, like that's gonna happen," but I feel like I could definitely accomplish that in a reasonable amount of time. It may not be by Jan. 1, 2010, but I definitely think sometime during next year is a possibility.

I digress... in the letter submitted on Ed2010 a California native asked Ed if finding an entry level job with a magazine was doable and his response shocked me a bit. Apparently if you want to get a good start in magazines, then New York is the place to be since most mags have one or two people on site in CA cities for correspondence. So with that, I'm starting to be practical and open my search a bit more to New York. It's not that I don't like the city, but people there are a bit too angry for my taste and after our last massive snow storm here in Maryland while scrapping my windshield off with frostbitten fingers I decided that I was ready for warm weather.

Here's hoping. At this point, anything that comfortably gets me out of my parent's house in a reasonable amount of time (that time limit being 6 months) and doing something I enjoy seems like a tall order, but once again, I think it's doable. Positive thinking is desperately needed right now.

I apologize for the ramblings of this inaugural blog post, I'll be more focused in the future when I'm not drugged up on Percocet.