The person I ran into is a little more than a year older than me, so he's definitely a millennial. We're a generation of many people who largely decided that we're going to do what makes us happy, regardless of money. I know plenty of people around my age (including myself) who are doing a job that makes them happy, whether that be in their career field or working as an entrepreneur.
That wasn't always me. I took a job for the money right out of college. I was a server at a chain restaurant, and I hated it. I hated it to my core. But at that point, it was a way to make money. For the first few months I worked there, I freelanced for a newspaper in Rankin County. Later, I quit working at one restaurant and went to another, which was even worse.
Things changed in March 2013 when I started my internship at the Jackson Free Press and became the editorial assistant a month later. I made some more job changes, but all the while, I was transitioning more and more into my job at the JFP. On Valentine's Day weekend in 2014, I quit food service for good.
It was a tough decision to make, but I knew it was the right one. Now, I did that partially for selfish reasons (I wanted to spend time with my then-boyfriend, and the restaurant wouldn't let me), but it turned into one of the best decisions I ever made. I got to completely own my role at the Jackson Free Press and BOOM Jackson, going from editorial assistant to assistant editor, and as of January 2017, managing editor.
Don't get me wrong. Like most people, I don't always love my job. There are a lot of deadlines to meet and stories to write and people to talk to. Every day, I meet challenges, and some seem insurmountable. Sometimes I get overwhelmed or have bad days, but despite the craziness that happens in the newsroom, I love my job and what I get to do. I love that I get to talk to people and tell their stories. I love that I get to help convince people that Jackson is better than they think. I've fallen in love with the city through working for these publications.
People who go into the journalism field often don't do so for the money, so that was never something I worried about. I was just happy to be doing something I loved. Like a lot of millennials and young people in general, I want to do something that's fulfilling.
Luckily, Jackson is filled with people like that who want to see the city improve, regardless of how strapped for cash it is. We are a community of do-it-yourselfers just trying to make the place where we live, work and play better.
I and others at BOOM Jackson and the Jackson Free Press do our part by putting out the JFP Daily, our weekly publication and this quarterly magazine you're holding in your hands. We strive to tell stories about people you know and love: your neighbors, your friends, people you see everyday.
While the "Welcome to Jackson" mural is quite literally a welcoming sign for the city, there's another mural that speaks to the people here who do what they love: Justin Ransburg's "I Believe in Jackson" mural on the side of a building in Spengler's Corner. He believes in Jackson. We believe in Jackson, and we are willing to work for what we believe.
For many of us, this isn't just a job. It's a way to showcase the good and shine a light on the bad in a city that we love and want to help.