Growing Up Is Hard: “We’re looking for someone with a little more experience”

I am just going to take a moment to tell you a little bit about my career journey & aspirations.

The Beginning

For a very long time I imagined that I would attempt to make a career out of performance. A lovely dream but that is all it was, a virtually unattainable dream. Not to worry, I still get my fair share of recreational performance opportunities with choir. While I had decided not to pursue the life of a starving artist, I couldn’t let go of the idea of working in and around the arts. I loved to share with people about the value of the arts. So how could I make a job out of that? Go in to artistic administration, that’s how! Upon completing my undergraduate degree I enrolled in a post-graduate program that specialized in what is called “arts management”. I spent a year studying volunteer management, marketing, communications, finance, board relations, fund raising, event coordination, and more, all in relation to the artistic industry in Canada. My program also included an internship. Here I learned so many practical, on hand skills. I really felt prepared to enter the work force when I finished the program.

The Middle

The good thing about working in the arts is that not very many people are in the field. The bad thing about working in the arts is that there are even less jobs than people. Still, I managed to secure myself a comfortable entry level position in the fund raising department of an opera company.Fund raising, or development (the fancy word for fund raising), is one area that always seems to need more people. Because the fund raisers bring in the money and the arts will always need more money. I’d like to clarify that by fund raiser I do not mean that I knock on peoples doors and ask for spare change, no, I work in an office and manage the accounts of people who donate on an annual basis. There’s more to it than that but I don’t want to get too complicated as it’s not the point. The point is that I am learning a lot, I’m gaining experience and I do enjoy my job. BUT this is just the starting point, this isn’t my be all, end all. I have come to discover that I love, and I mean LOVE event planning and coordination. Events are a very special aspect of fund raising. Events are risky because you have to put money into them and hope that you will raise enough money to cover your expenses and still turn a profit. But that is also what makes them so exciting! Mostly I enjoy the act of seeing something through, beginning to end. It starts with the planning, then to the inception, then the day-of coordination, and its all to raise money for something that I am super passionate about, the arts! I suppose I could be any type of event planner but I like the idea of doing things for a worthy cause.

The Unfinished Ending

In my office there are two women who make up the Events team. One of them, the secondary, is about take a year long maternity leave. So I decided to apply for her contract. In one sense taking a contract when I have a full time position is kind of dumb, because in a year I’d be unemployed. But it was a risk I decided to take because the experience would be worth it. So I spiffed up my resume and completed an interview. All in all I think it went well. However, I didn’t get the job. Not a huge deal, as I still have my full time position, but it was still rather disappointing. Mostly I was bothered by the reason they gave me, “We’re looking for someone with a little more experience”. I find this reason absolutely infuriating. I’m not saying its a bad reason, it is just so wildly frustrating! How am I to gain experience if no one will hire me for the job which will give me experience? It is a cruel cycle. Sure, this is just one hiccup on my journey to success, there will be other opportunities and you can bet that I will be first in line to take them. I know that perseverance and hard work will win out in the end, but that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow today.


7 thoughts on “Growing Up Is Hard: “We’re looking for someone with a little more experience”

  1. That’s rough :-/ it always seems to be that way though. Sometimes they just know they don’t want to have to train someone… Even though you know you probably wouldn’t require much training at all. Bummer! Maybe you could work on a side project to get more experience. I run a flower stand on Easter and Mother’s Day weekends and I actually hate the planning for it. I find it very stressful, but it does give me lots of experience.


    • I agree, not wanting to train me was probably a huge contributing factor. I think the positive to my applying is that now the events manager knows that I am interested. Hopefully I will be able to take on some event related work without actually being in the position. I strongly believe at jumping at every opportunity. So I’ll take on more as it becomes available. That is neat that you run a flower stand! Where do you set it up? What type of planning goes into it?


      • I set up about 6 stands around the Reading, PA area. They are mostly at business locations at busy intersections. I have to get permission from the property owners and the townships. I also have to get sellers lined up, managers for the routes, and coordinate the pick up/drop off on Friday & Sunday and also the tent set up & breakdown. Getting the whole plan to run on schedule on the weekend-of is rough too. It’s a lot of work!! haha


  2. I really enjoyed reading this ,Alex. It’s a pity you didn’t get the Events job, and I agree that the reason they gave is totally infuriating. But that answer has been used to decline applicants in many professions. In teaching, newly qualified teachers have been given that reason for being turned down the most basic teaching responsibilities. The question is just the same as yours – how on earth do they get the experience if they don’t get a job to learn.


    • Thanks, Mille. It is a cruel and vicious cycle. I mean the obvious answer is volunteer and intern but that also means so income. Which is not an option for many people. So you get all these over qualified people working in minimum wage positions. Society is not a nice place for people entering the work force.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree with you. I feel sorry for all young people in that position. It was interesting to hear of your experiences over there in Canada and to see that things are just the same as they are in Britain.


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