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Career Aspirations

Many of us went to school to follow our dreams while others chose not to. Regardless, people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences find ways to make a living doing what they love.

While some are following their dream careers in the arts, others find this impractical and suggest finding a "steady" job such as in the business field. No matter which path you choose, it won't always be easy. Any profession you pick will be difficult to pursue, and there will always be others vying for the same career choice.

But there’s nothing wrong with going after what you want. If you’re determined to follow your dreams then you’re going in the right direction. Starting your career can be difficult and frustrating. Scouring the internet and applying to positions is easy enough, but then getting contacted back, and more importantly approved, by the employers can seem impossible during your process.

In this article, I will share with you my journey of what led me to my current occupations. Plus I will offer you some career advice I learned in hopes of helping you in the long run.


From wanting to become a police officer to a painter/sketcher, I had various career interests as a child. And while those were my first dreams of work, my first real choice was to become a pharmacist.

Pharmacy seemed to be a good choice as I enjoyed science (at the time) and it seemed to be a realistic or "steady" role. However, as I started high school and learned more about pharmacy, I changed my mind. In 10th grade, I enrolled in chemistry honors with the hope that it related to the pharmacy field, but I found that the class would be overwhelming for me. This caused me to doubt that dream. I thought hard about the risks of being a pharmacist and realized that it wasn't for me.

After losing interest in pharmacy, I knew time was running out for me to find a career and a school to go to. Even though I was in my second year of high school and graduation was two years away, I didn’t want to waste time with finding my next calling. Although I had to wait for my final year of high school to apply for college and declare my major, at least I’ll know what my career aspirations will be once I fill out my college application.

In the meantime, photography and music were career choices I nearly considered following, but I decided against that too. Photography is a hobby of mine, but the role wasn’t stable enough for me. Not many photographers, experienced or inexperienced, make good money. With music, it is necessary to know the material extensively and always be prepared. I, again, felt inundated. So after more searching, I decided to declare my major in film at UNLV.

In college, I learned so much about film. While studying film, I was surrounded by passionate students. I admired them for already having that dream path laid out for them: they’re going after what they love doing. However, I felt intimidated by them due to the fact that I didn’t share their level of enthusiasm for film. Rather, it’s more of “I like filmmaking and want to know more about how to create them, moderately.” As intimidated as I felt being surrounded by them, I was still able to work in the most healthy, collaborative teams and learn from them. During my second semester at UNLV, I declared my minor in Journalism and Media Studies. While learning journalism, I was surrounded by more professional personalities and studied topics such as news writing and podcasting. Journalism felt practical so I leaned into it more, but things didn't go as planned.

The Main Conflict

I really thought I would find success in obtaining a position in the media industry rather than in film. I know it’s hard to get employment in the film industry, but now I’m aware it’s also complicated to get a job in the journalism field. As a result, my main conflict is finding my next gig or job.

But before I completed my collegiate studies and approached my main conflict, I started interning at my college’s radio station, Public Radio KUNV 91.5 FM. Through them, I learned much about how a radio station operates (i.e., producing radio promos, shadowing talent while they’re on the air, etc.). After graduation, I became a production assistant by working with the art and lighting/sound departments for a documentary that’s produced by a local art collective. Next, I interned for UNLV’s video production company, and in between that, I was a craft services assistant for a feature film. Now, I help write blogs for the Love Yourself Foundation.

With the roles I earned and learned, I’m grateful that I got a taste of what film and journalism gave me. I didn’t expect that I would get jobs relating to both fields, but I don’t have a problem with this outcome.

The trouble is when I applied for jobs, I mostly got rejected. I found that looking on sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed could help me find my next position, but a lot of the job posts left me uninterested. Additionally, I noticed that a lot of the employers on both sites mostly cater to folks who are more advanced than me (as a newcomer) since I have little to no experience in my field(s). I understand it’s competitive out there and some experienced workers feel intimidated by newcomers since they might succeed them. However, the newcomers have to survive too. It's rough in the job market, especially as it has not fully recovered since COVID-19. Either way, it feels like no one’s giving the newcomers a chance.

Where I’ve Been

I came to realize that what I do in my career is different from others. Besides filmmaking and journalism, I’m an audio editor/producer who works on audio production projects (i.e., podcasts, audio interviews, spoken word, etc.). So far, I’ve been doing this for three years and it feels like this is the career for me (hopefully).

I also found that learning a lot of things outside of my concentration is beneficial to me as I believe in versatility. This is an advantage to me because it allows me to be familiar with different skills within the media industry. For example, if someone needs me to handle cameras but needs another person to handle microphones but that person doesn’t know how, then I can do that or teach that person how to use the microphones. Not a lot of people are as flexible in their skills so this is a great quality to have when applying to positions.

Currently, the struggles in finding a job remain. I deeply abhor the fact that I’m living in uncertainty, career-wise. There are times when I’d be happy knowing that I have everything, but then I’m disappointed because I keep thinking about that ONE thing that I’m missing, which is progress in my career. But I do know one thing, my faith and the universe are supporting me in my dreams and the timing will get better.

As I wait for my next career milestone, I’m starting to accept the notion that if I didn’t deal with these constant career shifts, I wouldn’t have found my current passions. I don’t think I’d be happy being a pharmacist or a musician if I still followed those dreams right now. I’m glad I listened to my heart and made the right decision with a career in the media world. I’m happy with where I’m at and look to stay persistent in finding my next projects. So for now, I will keep applying for jobs and continue to practice my skills in filmmaking, writing, audio production, and graphic design in hopes that someone will like what they see/hear and hire me. And I will continue to be hopeful as I sense something will come to me soon.

Unity For A Better Future

We all have different career paths, but this doesn't mean we can't help boost each other up to success. For some, it can be difficult to help others out and see them succeed when you haven't reached that point yet. But we must put aside our egos and differences in order to do the right thing. Remember, everyone has a right to live their lives the way they want to. Whether it’s sending someone a job post that you feel is perfect for them or recommending them to a potential employer, helping out the people around you can be an easy task that will be well appreciated. After all, the connections we make are essential for finding our place in the world, as networking is for finding your next job.

Think about the people who helped you get to where you’re at right now. The help we get along the way gives us hope for a positive and successful future, especially when we are struggling with moving forward in our careers. Hope in the career force is slim but if we band together, things will get better for each of us. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Don’t forget to thank the people who helped you get to where you are now. To the people who supported me as I continue my journey, thank you.

If you’re at that point where you live in a period of doubt, think about why you chose to pursue this career choice in the first place. Don’t stop applying for jobs and networking with others. I know patience is hard but at many points in our lives, we will have to wait. Be happy that you came this far to where you’re at. It may not be a big accomplishment to you but if you think about it, you’re closer to where you're heading.

As much as it’s great to follow your path at the same time as everyone else, this isn’t always the case. I know people who graduated college and started working almost right away, and I know people who also graduated but have yet to find a job in their career. If you’re worried about being far behind, just remember that you have your own life while they have theirs. I’ve been told this message a lot and I’m passing this on to you. Maybe one of the reasons you’re not working yet is because it’s not your time. That’s the sad truth, but on the bright side, your time will soon come to shine.

I sincerely wish the best for you. I really hope that you will find peace, happiness, and prosperity in your career. May the good luck arrive at your doorstep real soon. Take care.

About the Author:

Ashley Lee is an alumna of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Film with a minor in Journalism and Media Studies. She is a freelance filmmaker and journalist who enjoys traveling, audio production, volunteering at local nonprofits, writing, photography, and spending time with her family. Lee is also a co-host of a local Las Vegas podcast.

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