Working My Way Up [Blog] – Generation Justice

By Pauly Denetclaw:

“You are not going to have it all figured out by the time you’re 25.”

“You have to do well in the same standard as everyone else.”

“Be patient, always be patient.”

These are all quotes from Doug Mitchell who has worked at NPR for almost 25 years – that’s longer than I’ve been alive, just to give a little perspective. Hearing about his career was a reminder that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I’m really not going to have it figured out by the time I’m 25, regardless of my “life plan”. I need to accept this reality and move on.

The only thing I know for sure is that I want to work at NPR. So, having the great opportunity to talk with someone who does was great. I got a lot of amazing advice and came to some realizations about the direction of my journalism career. I’m so glad Doug worked with us at Generation Justice to make this possible. It was really awesome to have a one-on-one conversation with him. I know I appreciated it. 

Doug taught me that a career at a national media outlet isn’t going to be handed to me, especially because I’m a woman of color. I’ll be starting from the bottom and working really hard to get to the top. I’m going to be the new intern, who is setting up tables, fetching coffee and being low on the totem pole. I’m prepared to handle the long journey. It’s the reality for young journalists seeking a career in a competitive news outlet.

However, I will be the best intern who works the hardest. I’ll work long days and be smiling in the morning handing my boss a coffee. I’ll absorb every bit of knowledge when it comes to being great in this career. I will prove that I belong in this field because I’m passionate and driven. I hold myself to a higher standard than everyone else.

One other piece of advice he told us was to remain patient and remember that nothing happens overnight. This will be the hardest piece of advice to follow. I’m very impatient and I want things to happen now. I have to remind myself that all great things take time. I will continue to work hard and remain patient.

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