Pay It Forward

My first “Notes From The Newsroom” surprisingly did not take place in the newsroom per se. However, it is centered around the journalists so that counts right?

[Note: All names and workplaces, and schools have been excluded to protect the privacy of all parties involved.]

A friend recently sent me a text saying:

“Do you want to hear something funny?….This girl emailed me at my work email and she says dear Ms.Williams…and she is asking me for freelance work or if she can shadow and says she’s attached her resume. So I’m looking at this email mind you this girl is 21 now and about to be a senior this year at [ college ]. She wants to be a journalist. So this girl sends me an email with a billion typos, not capitalizing the city of Atlanta and spelling stuff all wrong and not sending me the resume she said she attached. I’m like is she for real?! ”

My immediate response after laughing at how dramatic my friend was in her text message was, “You should give her some advice.”

And to that suggestion I received a very interesting response which I think not only journalists but everyone in the workforce struggle with at some point in their career.

My friend said she would indeed give her advice, but at the same time, this industry is so competitive should she do anything at all?

I took this question to imply that since we are in this competitive industry if she does not help this young girl isn’t that just one less person she has to worry about competing with? In all honesty that is a fair question, you do have to be on your A game at all times, and especially at 21, a college senior you should be able to format an email in a way acceptable manner. So is it really up to her to teach this girl what it is assumed she should already know?

My response read as such:

“Honestly. That’s up to you. I personally never had that mind set. If a job is for me then I’ll have it. I don’t worry about other people competing with me. Somewhere along the line someone offered you help. Pay it forward.”

I believe this wholeheartedly. There have been times when I did not necessarily bring my “A-game” or perhaps was not prepared for certain circumstances due to my own ignorance or lacking of knowledge on how to handle the situation. Yet, there was someone to pull me to the side, and be frank and honest with me to let me know what I can do to improve. Of course this doesn’t always happen, I’m sure a few of my resumes have been tossed in the trash or I was immediately dismissed for an error. Yet, I’ve been blessed to have a number of people take an interest in me and wish to see me go further, that they took the time out to discuss with me steps to become better. I cherish those moments, and can only hope that if I was able to help someone in the same manner, they would do the same for the next in need.

Pay it forward.

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