Journalism School

• Brian Gilham • Essays

I always tell people I used to be a journalist.

That’s what they told us on the first day. From this point forward, we were all journalists. It was the first day of college and it felt empowering.

They also told us to say goodbye to our friends and family.

Long hours laying out pages. Constant interviews, both in person and on the phone. Lots of small towns with names like Colborne and Picton. I loved it. It was the first thing I remember being really good at.

My Mom framed the first article I was paid to write. It hangs on the wall in my home office.

Want to be a better programmer?

Talk to strangers. Learn how to be an expert on something in 15 minutes. Cold call. Be adaptable. Care about the micro and the macro, simultaneously. Be a jack of all trades. Ask good questions. Know when to let silence do the work for you. Own up to your mistakes and do better tomorrow.

I gave up on journalism when I realized paid jobs were scarce. But the lessons I learned made me who I am today.