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Back on Thursday, I went uptown and met a guy on the advice of someone I met through the SPI program. I had no idea I would walk out a) far better off than SPI could leave me and b) drunk.

The guy’s been married for twenty-two or twenty-three years (he doesn’t seem to remember which) and he was staring at girls out the window the whole time. I mean, sure, he managed to drop some of the finest magazine knowledge that will ever grace my lowly and undeserving ears (see below), but his eyes were out the window the entire time. He literally said, “I love women. Sometimes I just wish it was me and the rest of the world was women.”

I almost shat myself on the spot. Not only is this guy the future me, but he wouldn’t let me pay for my Newcastles. He finally cut me off after four.

He was also one of the few people I have met in the last two months who has heard of both Holy Cross and The Woodlands. Not only had he heard of them, but he said Holy Cross was a school that he “always thought would have been nice to go to,” and, in addition to having heard of The Woodlands, he had also been there a couple of times.

Now get this: He brings up a friend of mine, we’ll say she’s named “Madison,” and as soon as I get out of the subway, I run into her. Absolutely insane–apparently, he brought her to the same bar and got her just as drunk. I can’t wait to grow up to be him.

I’m going to share some of his advice, partly because it’s brilliant, partly because I want to make sure I can remember it all.

He said you should take the first job you get. If you go anywhere else, they’ll want to know that you were employed and that you were capable. Who cares if you were sorting mail–you were there and you got to see how everything worked.

Don’t ever tell anyone you want to work somewhere else. Ever. If your boss hears about it, you will never get another raise and you will never be trusted again. You want to be where you are working. Why else would you be there?

Even if you end up in editorial, talk to the people in advertising. They actually live the stereotypically exciting lifestyle with expense accounts on their fingertips. They’re people people and if you can show that editorial is interested too or if you get to hang out with people people, you’ve done your job for the day. If you’re going to be Editor-in-Chief, you’re going to need to understand the advertising side anyway–that’s most of the job. Sure, you make a lot of final calls on articles and design, but if you can’t afford it, your magazine is in the shitter.

Always, always, always have ideas. When you’re told to come to a meeting with ideas, bring ideas. When you’re told to come to a meeting, come with ideas. When you’re going to photocopy a document, go with ideas. If you ever want to work for a magazine and stay employed at a magazine, have ideas. Ideas are the currency of magazine publishers. There’s a lot of vertical movement in this industry, but only if you have ideas.

Networking is essential, but you have to have the skills to back them up. If you can’t do anything right, make sure you can find people who can help you–networking comes full circle. For the love of God, follow up with people. If they tell you to let them know what happens, let them know your networking with them helped you and you’re grateful. It doesn’t have to be a hand written note, but that certainly helps.

You’re only as good as your word. Always do anything above and beyond what is required of you–unless it will put you in jail.


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