The craft

So here I sit, poised to leap to my next as-yet-undiscovered job as my contract with the federal government is set to expire. And I’ve been thinking a lot about careers, crafts and just how I wound up working in this wonderfully broadly-defined industry we lovingly call communications.

It is a strange little field; despite the fact that many people go to school to study ‘communications’ the link between the academic discipline and the career path is, in my experience, virtually non-existent. Job postings call for people with a background in journalism (check!), marketing, writing and editing (check!) or public relations (small check!) – rarely in communications itself.

And so, in thinking about my own answer, which I will post below a convenient cut, I got to wondering how other people fell into their lines of work, communications-related or otherwise.  Please, post in the comments section or send me an email and I will add your story to those I hope to collect here.

The aforementioned cut!

I studied journalism at the (once) prestigious Carleton School of Journalism in Ottawa but after a few brief forays into the craft I realized corporate journalism was not my calling. Throughout university and for a few years after I was in a band that was just successful enough to keep the rock star dream so, in the search for supplemental income, I took a job as a media monitor and analyst for a small consulting firm in Ottawa, working 4-8 in the morning.

The job furthered my love-hate relationship with the corporate media and I launched Megalomedia, my media critic blog (now archived at this site). Around this point I also hooked up with the fine folks at Maisonneuve Magazine and began contributing to their MediaScout column.

Once the band finally called it quits, and I realized that man can not live as media cynic alone, I started looking for a job that would combine my long-standing interest in Canadian politics with the writing, editing and analysis skills I developed at school and refined by blogging. I landed an entry-level gig as a researcher and writer with a small government relations consulting firm in Ottawa. Since it was a small firm (I was one of three consultants and the only one who didn’t co-own the company), my skills were put to use and I became the “Communications Specialist,” eventually allowing the company to take on communications-specific contracts.

Thus my current career path was defined. I used that position as leverage to land a job as an in-house communications officer with an NGO before jumping to the public service on the soon-to-be-expired contract I mentioned above!

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