SEVERAL months ago, I was invited to give a talk to mass communication diploma students at a private college in Penang.
Among the many things I wanted to share with them were my experiences as a journalist and how it was like to work in a news organisation where deadlines had to be met every day.
I was nervous on the day of the talk. After being introduced by their lecturer, the enthusiastic applause by wide-eyed youths helped settle me down.
The students sat upright and were attentive during my presentation, giving me the impression that they were interested aboutbecoming journalists.
Besides news writing, I told them about the challenges all media practitioners had to face to pursue stories.
I also explained that journalism was not the typical ‘nine-to-five job’ but one that offered different scenarios each day.
The students were excited about the prospect of meeting people from all walks of life, including politicians and celebrities.
A Q&A session followed.
“Is it really as chaotic as how it was portrayed in The Newsroom?” asked a student, referring to the American TV series about a fictional cable news network.
As I was undertaking my Master’s degree course then, many of the students asked how I juggled my time between work and studies.
After the talk ended, a girl came up to me and asked: “Err ... Miss Cavina, how much do you earn as a journalist? Can survive?”
I grinned and politely told her that it was not impossible to ‘survive’.
She reminded me of a similar question posed by several youngsters a few weeks back. One of them remarked that she ‘cannot accept’ a job that pays at least RM3,200.
It is fine to ask about wages when gathering information on job market prospects. But most youngsters I spoke to recently were quite straight-forward about how much they should be paid to start working.
These are fresh graduates who have yet to prove their capabilities at the workplace.
What happened to working hard first before making salary demands?
Or gaining work experience before moving to a better-paying job? Surely that’s important too.
Perhaps the younger generation these days are just being realistic about their future, considering the rising cost of living.
However, the problem lies in the fact that most youngsters choose to have lavish lifestyles instead of saving for the future.
At the end of the day, no starting salary will be enough to support their spendthrift habit.