After the glory of a major-mag editorship, an editor worries: Will she be forgotten?
This week's Bitch Box:
In a few days, my contract with Wired magazine will end. It's not a big shock, it's really no one's fault — in fact, I've known about it since the day I was hired. Actually, when I was hired as the magazine's music editor, I was told the position would last only six months, so I should be happy that it has lasted nearly a year.
But I'm horribly unhappy.
As I told a fellow Wired editor a few weeks back, I feel (and have been acting) like a soap star who knows she is going to be killed off soon but doesn't want to go. Though the position has been a part-time, contract job, it has opened numerous doors for me and, at least in my mind, I'd finally earned the respect I had worked so hard to get over the years.
When I started in journalism, I worked for free, writing numerous features strictly out of the love I had for music (and sometimes the musicians I interviewed!). I'd hound record-label publicists to return my calls, beg managers to give me just five minutes to speak with a certain artist, and practically camp outside of music editors' offices hoping to get a break. Over the years, I got many small breaks and various paying gigs, but the editorship at Wired was bigger than anything I could have imagined. Within a week, my phone was ringing off the hook, my mailbox was overstuffed with CD packages, and managers who never even acknowledged me were begging me to interview their artists. It's not that I was excited about that kind of power — it was just so nice not to have to work so hard (and on such a cheap rate) to get a story. Believe me, I'm not the lucky type — I'm the type who's had to work for every grade she's ever gotten, so obtaining this position was a huge accomplishment for me. I relished every moment of it.
Now that the job is coming to an end, I feel a sense of panic: With the dark and uncertain job(less) market looming ahead, where will I go from here? I could probably get a small gig somewhere, but will I have to go back to the constant phone-calling and ass-kissing I had to endure in my pre-Wired days? I'm not as young and willing-to-do-anything as I used to be. Will my new email address be overlooked simply because there is no "wiredmag.com" after the "@"? And, as naive, stupid, or pretentious as this might sound, will people in the industry forget about me?
My biggest fear is that I will have to change careers in order to make money. I'm also worried that editors see me only as a music writer/editor and won't consider me for other editorial positions. It's not uncommon for ex–soap opera actresses to never work again — they're typecast and no one wants them, except maybe for late-night infomercials on workout products or face creams.
Thighmaster, anyone? —Clare Kleinedler