Where are they now? Megan Johnson '07 is celebrity news journalist for the Boston Herald
Welcome to 300 The Fenway's latest installment of "Where are they now?", a feature that chronicles the amazing things Simmons College women are accomplishing after graduation.
Meet Megan Johnson from the Class of 2007. Megan graduated from Simmons with B.A. in English and minors in East Asian studies and history, and is now a writer for the Boston Herald's Insider Track. Since working at the Boston Herald, Megan has made her mark covering the Boston celebrity scene, and was featured in Stuff Magazine's "30 under 30 and Overachieving" list. We had the chance to chat with Megan and get a glimpse into her fast-paced career.
- What is a typical day like at your job?
- There really is no typical day at my job. I work for a column called the Inside Track, which follows celebrities, politicians, athletes, etc. Each day we have to come up with a column for the next day's newspaper. So every morning, we start with almost nothing.
Usually, I wake up and read my emails and all the sites where I get my news, I check Twitter for tips, and keep my eyes open for interesting stories. I'm in the office around noon, at which point I'm continuing to stalk Twitter and the internet for stories; interviewing subjects; fielding calls; doing random administrative stuff; and attempting to plan what our section is going to have in the paper the next day.
- What was the job application process like for you?
- My job application process was not traditional. I was unemployed for awhile before I started at the Boston Herald. I worked freelance and taught English as a Second Language, but I didn't have full time work for a long time. When I met the girl who had my job before me, I instantly thought, "That would be the perfect job for me!" We became friendly, and ultimately, when she was ready to leave, she got me an interview along with three other candidates.
I had been on so many job interviews since I graduated, but I remember the night before I came in for the interview, I was watching "Wall Street" where Charlie Sheen says, "Your life comes down to just a few moments. This is one of them." I just remember thinking that line as I walked into the Herald, where I previously had two other horrible job interviews (for other gigs). I was so focused; just so adamant that this job was mine. I presented my binder of all my published clips to my bosses, and just tried to act like myself. The day before I found out whether or not I got the job, I was so wrought with anxiety. When my boss called and said, "Are you sure you're willing to work this job for next to nothing?!" I said "yes, yes yes!"
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- I have so many favorite parts. I love to write, of course, so getting paid to do that is wonderful. But, being able to meet and interview notable people I look up to is a great experience. I love that every day is an adventure. Sometimes I think I'm going to have a slow day, and I end up chasing the Bruins around town as they carry the Stanley Cup in a baby carriage.
- How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?
- I didn't know if the Boston Herald was a good fit when I applied. I still think that to a certain extent, I'm a square peg in a round hole at the Herald. It was absolutely a bit of a culture shock for me when I came to work here. But, the topic of entertainment and celebrities was something I knew like the back of my hand. I don't think you really can know if a place is a good fit until you give it a shot.
- What was your favorite class you took at Simmons? Why?
- The short-term course I took in Japan with my fellow East Asian studies minors was a highlight. I also loved any of my literature classes, like "Critical Interpretation, the English novel through Austen," and even "Shakespeare", which I was terrified for.
- If you could come back and take one class at Simmons what would it be?
- I'd definitely love to take another English class, possibly one that I missed because it wasn't offered that semester. I just loved my English professors.
- How has it been transitioning into a young professional?
- My transition from college student to young professional could only be described as... a train wreck! I thought I was so ready to take on the world, and in reality, I just fell apart completely after graduation. I didn't have a job I loved and I think I was just so hurt and disappointed that my post-grad life didn't result in what I expected.
Of course, now, I'm grateful for those years. I can truly appreciate being happy. Now at age 27, I find life as a young professional very enjoyable. I'm still very close with my Simmons friends, and we really do our best to stay in touch. However, I wouldn't exactly say I've figured out how to manage the work/social life idea. I work a lot and sometimes I couldn't care less about going out on the weekends if it means I can take the chance to go to sleep early.
- How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?
- Academically, I was incredibly prepared because I utilized my time in school so well. I tried really hard to learn as much as possible at Simmons. The English department was so wonderful. Ultimately, they taught me how to write, which is what I do all day long at work. But, they also taught me to think critically, and how to analyze information and express myself eloquently. To this day, when I see an interesting episode of a TV show, I start to formulate a thesis statement in my head that would be fitting for an English paper.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
- Oh my gosh. Honestly, I don't know where I am going to be next year, let alone in 10 years. I made a vow to myself to live 100% in the present instead of dwelling on the past or solely focusing on the future. And I think that does me well.
- What advice would you give to the current Simmons undergrads?
- There are two things I've learned through my professional career that I think are incredibly important and often forgotten in the workplace:
Be a kind, friendly individual. I cannot tell you how much this matters in the workplace. The connections you make are what will lead you to the next level and bring new opportunities to you. One of the greatest thing a leader can have is good people skills.
Secondly, hard work conquers all. I believe hard work is more important than talent. I like to think I am where I am because of a little bit of luck, and a lot a bit of the blood, sweat and tears that I put into my chosen field.