More often than it should happen, readers write to me saying they're inspired to pursue my job when they finish school. This is a very bad thing. I'd say that if you really want to be an automotive journalist, mine is not the correct path to follow. I'm not a role model and definitely not a mentor. You're gonna get paid less than the dude that checks your receipt at Walmart. So forget all the movies you watch about big-time magazine editors who have pimp ass bachelor pads and roll limos to red carpet events. The only carpet I know is the brown one under my feet that our staff often passes out on. If you're going to work your way though four years (five or six if you're stupid) of journalism classes, then you're way overqualified for Super Street. Half the time, I don't even take notes. I rely on my memory, but lately that isn't so hot either. And when I do decide to break out the pen and pad, I can't even read my own chicken scratches.
The press trips are great because they treat you like royalty in most cases. But with the nice hotels and room service comes countless hours sitting at the dinner table listening to the mindless drabble of dudes who have been journalists for like 90 years or something. Talking about how they raced cars back in 1950 or some nonsense. The traveling is fun, but at times I miss my messy room with the worn-down mattress and bad internet connection. I'll often sit in my hotel room longing for my TiVo'd programs and a few games of NBA Live.
The races, carshows, and parties appear to be a blast. But people often forget that we're working at them. Waking up early and lugging camera gear around until the end of the night. And this is after catching a red eye with four connections the night before. It's pretty abusive on the body. I don't know how Nads can do it still considering he's five times my age. Even when I'm home I sleep roughly 6 hours a night. Sometimes less if my neighbors are being annoyingly loud. Then fight traffic and feel my blood pressure rise for around 4 hours to and from work or pretty much anywhere I drive to. When I'm not sick, I'll go to the gym as much as possible. But that wasn't happening for the past couple months when I had bronchitis, pneumonia, and whatever other lame illness you can name.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discourage you from becoming a magazine editor. The goods definitely outweigh the bads or else I would have been selling packaging supplies with my parents a long time ago. But don't be fooled into thinking that what we do here is all fun and games. It's not a cakewalk, that's for sure. We have deadlines to meet and big bosses to answer to just like everyone else. So if a Super Street editor is what you really aspire to be, then by all means go out and take journalism, photography, technical writing, and auto shop classes until your brain reaches max capacity. Oh, and don't forget to think up a stupid nickname for yourself. Send a resume, sour candy, and a hot blonde to improve your chances.
- Ricky Chu