Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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New reporter takes long way to Regional News

by Jade Bolack

July 26, 2012

I once yelled at my boyfriend when he told me that not everyone finds their dream job. I told him not to break my heart.

I took the long way to this job, to achieve this dream: through five years (and counting) in the Army Reserve, five years in college, eight months in technical writing and eight months cashiering.

But I made it. I woke up July 9 living my dream, honestly content with my life yet so ready to continue growing.

Like all dreams that come true in reality, this wasn't an overnight success. It was bank accounts nearly in the red, sleepless nights and endless prayer.

Most of all, it was a desperate search for something I knew was out there: an entry-level reporting position at a newspaper that would give me a chance. I just had to find it.

With my college graduation still months ahead of me, I pasted together my portfolio. This exciting stage of my life, I like to call "wild disillusionment." I didn't know the real world was so heartless.

I received my first rejection letter in November 2010.

After some tears and some wine, I sent it out again and tried to harden my heart. Each time I did this, my cover letter became slightly more like a form letter, devoid of emotion and personalization.

Every week that went by that I didn't hear back from anyone, I cried less.

For eight months after graduation, I rewrote technical manuals for military vehicles. It was a deviation from my dream, but a writing job, so I liked it. For a while. I liked it even less when I was laid off.

After that, I applied for nearly any job in the country that concerned reporting.

Yet, for eight months, I heard nothing back except the occasional emailed response, "We have found someone that better matches our criteria."

During that time, I was what economists like to call "under-employed." I call it "broke." I had three different cashiering jobs, two at the same time. Those paychecks and my military pay kept my bills from overwhelming me.

I don't know what drove me to apply for this job, in an area I've never visited, on a lake when I can't swim, near a state I've been taught to hate through team rivalry.

Something made me read the entire job posting, and nod to myself that I matched their criteria.

So, I applied May 18. And with my new hardened heart, I kind of forgot about it. Ok, I really forgot, completely.

Two weeks later, Editor John Halverson called. "Are you still interested?" he asked on my voice mail.

The celebration began then. I had an interview. Just the first step, yes, but a step up when I hadn't moved in months.

My life sped up from the day of the interview through my first day at work. It's hard to separate the dream from this reality because they are so very similar.

Now, I'm at board meetings, visiting radio shows, talking to more police officers than have pulled me over in my whole life and trying to not get lost on the way to Fontana.

And I love it.

A 2010 UW-Oshkosh graduate with a journalism degree, Jade will be covering the Fontana, Walworth and Williams Bay area,