The Aimless Twenty-Something Life: A Postgrad’s Tale of Travel & Taking Control

In May 2011, I was sitting across from four editors in the startlingly modern private boardroom of the Chronicle Herald newspaper in west end Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’d prepared for this job interview all week. The Herald isn’t an especially well-regarded publication (it’s locally nicknamed “The Chronically Horrid”), but holds the distinction of being one of Canada’s oldest daily papers, and the largest of the nation’s few remaining independent ones. I would love to work there.

Beard trimmed and tie clip neatly in place, I played up my strengths and lied about my weaknesses for about 20 minutes. It was all very innocuous. Truth be told, I was happy enough just sitting there—as a 22-year-old journalism major on the cusp of graduation, a job straight out of school is considered the Holy Grail. J-schoolers are told often the tall tales of glorious predecessors who’ve moved on to full-time gigs at the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the CBC. This is what we believed we were working for. This was the goal.

As the interview wrapped up, one of my hypothetical employers brought up the topic of my other hypothetical futures. I replied candidly, but uncertainly: if I don’t get this job, actually, I might just move to South Korea and teach English.

The editor’s mouth twisted into an almost patronizing smile, and he wished me good luck.

Downstairs, I was showed to the door by the assistant newsroom editor, a hefty and serious man with a receding hairline and Italian name lifted from the cast of The Godfather. I asked him, out of curiosity, how he’d judge seeing “English Teacher in South Korea” on a resume. “It wouldn’t help,” he told me frankly, propping the door open. “But it wouldn’t hurt either. To be honest, you should probably just go. You’re young. Have fun.”

I inferred (correctly) from his parting words that the job wasn’t mine. The following week, for lack of any better autumn prospects, I emailed my teaching application.

Mt.-Seunghak

“Given the amount my generations complains, or at least gets flak for complaining, about how few jobs there are, I was, and still am, seriously astonished at how few recent university graduates decide to travel straight out of college.” 

Read the rest on BootsnAll — my first for one of the web’s biggest travel websites.

THE FIRE IN THE KITCHEN

COSTAS HALAVREZOS WAS ASKED to keep his retirement a secret from nearly everyone he knew. So he didn’t tell almost any of his CBC Radio co-workers, some of whom thought he’d never leave. He didn’t tell his band mates, who jammed with him the night before his announcement. And he didn’t tell his 19-year-old daughter, Maria—until he sent her a text. “I’ve decided to retire,” it read. “My last day is September 17.” She was in the middle of class, and her jaw dropped.

“Generally speaking, whatever fucking stupid ideas hatched by the most powerful people in Toronto—and trust me, if you don’t like these two ideas, we can come up with some fuckin’ stupider ideas—that’s the rule.”

This one’s a bit longer. My journalism Honours project. It feels truncated to me even at 2,000 words, but there it is. A cover story for the King’s Journalism Review.

HALIFAX, NEW JERSEY: A PREVIEW

FOR THOSE FAMILIAR with MTV’s hit reality TV show, Jersey Shore, you’re certainly also familiar with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. The Sitch happened to be in Halifax last night, and I had the pleasure of briefly meeting both the man and his abs.

Here’s a radio piece I did today for CBC Radio-1’s Nova Scotia-wide program, Mainstreet. I write traffic reports for them most days, but today I did something different. Hopefully this will lead to more in the future.

(It’s a YouTube link because there’s no way I’m shelling out twenty bucks to pay for five more gigs of WordPress storage. Sorry, WP.)

Here’s some verbatim quotes from the night, to give you a taste of what it was like:

“They’re just a bunch of regular dudes. That’ll be me up on the screen next week.”

– Security guard to the VIP room

———-

“Mike is just one guy. The Situation is great and all, but the real Situation is everybody here.” He points at a girl: “That’s the Situation.” And another: “That’s the Situation.” His brother nods; Max continues: “This club is the Situation.”

– Max, a solider with the Canadian Forces and proud guido

———-

“There’s no reason you wouldn’t want to be The Situation. Quote me on that: there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to be The Situation.”

– Colin Hunt, A.K.A the only male who paid $85 plus tax to get a VIP ticket to party with Sitch himself

Stay tuned for the full article in the September 2010 issue of The Watch.