Jodi Kantor relays five stories from her colleagues at the New York Times, which every job seeker can empathize with:
1. When David Kocieniewski, a business reporter, was a high school senior, he received a hat trick of thin envelopes from Harvard, Princeton and Brown. He attended SUNY Binghamton instead. Two Pulitzers later, he is teaching a college course — at Princeton.
2. Adam Nagourney was rejected from the Columbia Journalism School. He is now the Times’s Los Angeles bureau chief, after decades of political reporting.
3. When op-ed columnist Frank Bruni tried to get a start in journalism, he was interviewed or asked for writing tests by the Arizona Daily Star, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Los Angeles Times — none of which offered him a job. Five years later, while working for the Detroit Free Press, he recalled, “The Chicago Tribune flew me in, put me through a veritable 12 hours of meetings and interviews and writing tests, and two decades later, I’m still waiting for any word. Maybe I should go check today’s mail. Maybe it finally came.”
4. Amy Chozick was rejected from every women’s magazine job she applied for when she moved to New York after college. “An editor at Allure said she didn’t want to hire me because I wasn’t in a sorority,” she said. “A Condé Nast Traveler editor told me she wanted an editorial assistant who went to Harvard.” Chozick now covers Hillary Clinton.
5. In 1984, a Times editor told Walt Bogdanich that he lacked the “intellectual depth” or “ability to write about the subtleties of a complex issue” to work at the paper. Bogdanich has since won three Pulitzer Prizes.
6. When Megyn Kelly applied to Syracuse University’s communications program, it turned her down, so she majored in political science there instead. “Now they tell people I went there,” says Kelly, who hosts her own news show in primetime on Fox.
7. Robert Mankoff submitted cartoons to the New Yorker for two years — about five hundred in total — before he got one published. Today, he’s the magazine’s cartoon editor.