Today a year ago, I started my busking project. I learned a lot and enjoyed the experience. I've particularly had a good time connecting with the huge community of journalists, musicians and music-lovers on Twitter. They've definitely made life a lot more fun.
Did I think, though, that I'd still be in the same leaky boat job-wise a year later? I honestly didn't.
The other day I got a standard rejection letter from the BBC for a job I'd forgotten I'd applied for. But at least they bothered to write back, most places don't.
The media industries are still in the throes of re-organizing themselves, but I've been starting to sense that maybe some big shops may have cut back a little too much and there might be some spots opening up where there's a need for experience, rather than just enthusiasm. I certainly hope that's the case, since any decent organization that's building for the future rather than just protecting its past needs a mix of both.
One thing I have noticed recently though, is that people generally - and not just in journalism - seem significantly more disillusioned with their personal work lives. When I overhear conversations on subway platforms, in the pub or at dinner parties, there seems to be a deeper, more profound dissatisfaction than just the usual bitching about the boss.
I went for a job interview a few weeks ago at the invitation of a former colleague. (The new position was subsequently taken off the table because they weren't quite as ready to expand as they thought, so it turned out a wash, but it was good interview experience).
But a few days beforehand, we met for a drink and the harder he tried to sell me on the company, the more I knew he was trying to rationalize his own situation. I used to do the same at one of my old shops. People know times are tough, they know they're often stuck in jobs they probably wouldn't choose, and they know that, for the immediate future at least, anything still might happen. And usually that's anything bad.
Another former colleague - who had also tried to get me an 'in' with his editor which ended up a one-way conversation - saw his job disappear in a 'restructuring', only to reappear, he told me, with a slightly different title and occupied by someone he'd helped train, at a lower salary. Hardly an unusual development these days. He has a wide range of skills though and subsequently did OK, hooking up pretty soon after with a big competitor - ironically the one media company that always seems to be hiring but the one that out of principle I won't work for.
My bottom line is I never forget how fortunate I am to be able to have a conscience. But it's time to move on and maybe try to do something worthwhile that may have nothing to do with journalism. I still believe I have some talents that could help make a difference to the right people.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, an old boss of mine just couldn't take it any more and walked away. I'd done the same, but for him that step was always going to be much less of a no-brainer. I met up with him soon after, and the thing we shared was, overwhelmingly, relief.
Now we're both out of work, but most likely with different approaches as to why.
Anyway. Enough doom and gloom. Here's a listicle of '25 Great Songs About Work' I did a while ago. Back to music tomorrow.