Love, Loss And Where I Worked: My Journey As A Journalist In NYC


Photo: Mandi Woodruff/Business Insider

Name: Mandi WoodruffAge: 25

Hometown: Locust Grove, Ga.

Alma Mater: University of Georgia

No, really. We were willing to do ANYTHING.

Too bad I got turned down for the one internship I wanted.

Who got it?

A student a whole year behind me who was also a good friend. That kind of sucked.

A week after I booked my flight...THIS turned up in my email.

So I said screw it. I'd go to another country to find the right job if I had.

Errrrrrrrrrr......What now?

I took a giant the opposite direction.

I took my mediocre Spanish, a few hundred bucks, and a suitcase and moved to Santiago.

I started a 4-month internship at the Santiago Times.

Paycheck? None.

My main beat: Women's issues.

And I found plenty of time for adventuring...

And then the money ran out. Verrrrry quickly.

I returned to the states right before Christmas with $16 to my name and no friggin' idea what to do with myself.

I took a job at the same paper that offered me a gig before I moved to Chile.

I enjoyed it just about as much as this dude >

Then I learned the power of a 'Thank You' card.

NYC finally came calling.

It was official – I was gonna make it after all.

And then the worst happened...

I did four VITAL things during my unemployment

1. I did not freak out.

2. I found time to volunteer and network--the natural way.

3. I didn't drive myself insane applying for every job under the sun.

4. I never stopped writing.

The Bike Writer...

It wasn't about money. It was about keeping myself fresh and my byline out there.

Finally, a break came my way

I scored a job--my first ever foray into online-only media.

Too bad the new gig came with a $10K pay cut

Also...I kind of hated it. A lot.

The new job search began.

It was a dead end from the start.

I watched my friends slowly leave media and enter into advertising, PR, publishing, and leave the city altogether in some cases.

Remember those Thank You cards?

Someone from Reader's Digest certainly had -- THREE years after I'd interned there.

I was saved

A month later, I quit.

So...what did I know about personal finance?

Apart from the fact that my own finances were basically in shambles...

Not much.

Everyday, those tool I learned as a blogger come in handy

Turns out people dig real stories–especially when most of us are struggling to make ends meet

It's traditional reporting – with a twist that's all our own

What I've learned so far:

To tune out the naysayers--and that includes the media!

To never settle for less than what I've earned

That this is the only time in my life I can screw up as much as I want and get away with it--for the most part

The best path is usually the one that scares the hell out of you

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