Don’t do this. You won’t make any money!

I think I heard the phrase 1,496 times when I was in J-School at the University of Florida. Professors liked to talk about it. I heard it on my internships. I heard it when people came to talk to my class. I think I heard it in my sleep.

“Don’t do this you won’t make any money!!!!!!!!!”

So is this true and what does that mean?

I will preface this by saying “money” or “a lot of money” is very different from person to person. I had an engineering major as a roommate in college. I think she started at 90k right out of school. Will you make that? Not a chance! But you can make that at some point. I think that’s the beauty of TV News. It’s possible to make money. It’s also possible to make a career of making 40k. When you start moving up in the biz you will come up with a number you would like to reach to be comfortable. That’s different for each of us. Try to get to that number and don’t worry about the rest.

So to answer the first question…is it true? I would lean towards no. I think you can make a comfortable living if you make the right moves and you are patient.

However…It takes a long time. So are you willing to wait that long? I think that’s the question. It’s important that you understand what it means to make peanuts for the first several years of your professional life.

I once took a toilet paper roll from the bathroom at my first station because I only had $.65 in my bank account at the time and I…you know…kind of needed to have some of that at home. I still feel guilty about it even though I replaced the roll when I got paid two days later. It just goes to show how desperate times can be. I was a college graduate and I didn’t even have a dollar. How embarrassing! But here I am 13 years later to tell you it does get better and, even with the tough times, you can still hold on to the passion you had when you started.

So how do you live through the years of not being able to afford a decent pizza or good beer or an extra roll of TP?

  1. Learn to live on a budget. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING! This is important. Figure out how much “life” will cost you. Rent, electricity, cable, gas (I forgot to budget gas one time-Dumb), internet, cell phone bill, food etc. Once you have added all that up figure out how much you have left. My first job left me at $78 a month for “other”…THAT was not fun. But you have to stick to it.
  2. Once you have the budget and the number for “other” figured out, learn to get creative. Clip coupons. Learn how to make food that involves rice (it’s kind of cheap). Find fun ways to enjoy yourself that don’t cost much like having movie nights with friends at home. Playing board games. Having a spaghetti night (it’s kind of cheap). Buy cheap wine and read a book.
  3. Do not mess with credit cards unless absolutely necessary. No. You don’t need the expensive pair of heels just because you are an anchor. Find an outlet. Find a DSW or a TJ Maxx. Save the credit cards for emergencies like your car breaking down or you breaking your leg while trying to get a “great shot” of the guy walking out of the courtroom.

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