A Shadower’s-eye View of Job Shadow Day

Allison Gates, junior, Forest Hills Eastern High School

One cannot simply learn from a classroom or a computer the insights and experiences that reside in a workforce, beyond the education bubble and removed from the nurtured opinions with which parents heavily equip their kids. I have no experience in the workforce, and thus grasped the one idea that has seemed continuous throughout my life: writing.

An opportunity arose recently that allowed me to follow journalism, which I was thrilled about. Initially nervous, definitely underprepared for something I could not prepare for, but thrilled nonetheless. A little hesitant I was, to walk through the building of my job shadow, but rest easy I did when I was greeted by my job shadow, a … me staring back at … me, the same enthusiasm for writing to encase our characterization.

Related: So, What’s Your Job Like? – Students Get a Glimpse at Groundhog Shadow Day

Soon, off we were to report, to seek, to learn. Anything I could I would do, as I have already learned from my shadowee, Morgan Jarema, that opportunities make for a story. Camera, pens, notepads — yes, we were ready. A plumbing fix? A story. An ambulance rundown? A story. A forensic filing? A story. It would seem like that would summarize my day. It would seem.

“It’s nothing like when we were in high school, except for changing classes,” Morgan explained, one of our conversations spurred during a car drive to another location.

When learning about students and why they chose the people to shadow that they did, you cannot help but wonder, “Why do they wear the uniform they do, get up early each morning and have their coffee” — or drink it all throughout the day — “and why does this job matter to them?” I pondered these questions as police officers explained where bullet wounds would injure but not kill them. In case you were wondering, with a proper shield, it’s the legs. Or why my shadowee continues to write news when there will be backlash?

Why does the worker work? “Ninety-nine percent of it’s getting thanks for giving people information they didn’t know,” my shadowee says, smiling. The grasp for knowledge is an endless thirst, one which I could only begin to comprehend at the end of my shadow day.

Meeting the other Kent ISD communications workers over a bowl of broccoli cheese soup in one of the conference rooms of the labyrinth of desks and rolling chairs and sticky notes, the discussion of job paths eased my mind. You may not find your designated, desired dream job at first, and it may not be the one you had in mind when asked what you wanted to be when you grew up.

But eventually, through the exploration of interests, a task that can only take time and experience, you find the job that piques your interest and feeds your hunger, and one can know there’s hope for the high schoolers and the college kids and the restless unemployed.

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SNN article: GSD 2017

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