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Martina Castro

Quarter Life-Crisis Management - Working For A Living By Martina Castro

"Am I living it right?" -- The words of John Mayer, quintessential navel-gazing songwriter of my generation. His songs are a perfect soundtrack to the so-called quarter-life crisis, and at 25, I guess I'm officially living it. I started this column when I was a 19-yr-old scheming her way out of college and into the real world. I dreamt of a job at NPR, and wrote about it, along with a bunch of other stuff. Now here I am, six years later, on staff at one of the most well-respected journalism companies in the country, and yet still not far from my fantasy-filled days of ambition and self-reflection. Only the scenery has changed. I still have thoughts and questions...on journalism, the media, jobs, and life. I'll catch you up on how I got to where I am since my last column and we'll go from there.

My first taste of California and working at NPR's Day to Day in 2005 got me hooked. I moved back to Los Angeles for good in 2006 and have been here since. My day starts at 5am, and is a fast-paced race to 3 o'clock, with a lot of breaking news and creative energy in between. I've definitely learned by doing here, honing my producing skills while learning how to do it all really FAST. With only three hours every morning before the show airs, every minute counts. In the beginning I felt like I was never going to be good at it. There was so much to learn and I was so green, of course my typical over-achieving self felt like I had to be good at it right away. Eventually I did progress, and it felt amazing. It didn't come without stumbles though, and to some extent, I'd say the progress came thanks to them. I'm still learning to motivate myself by taking pride in how far I've gotten, rather than motivated by how far I feel like I have yet to go. The former is definitely more gratifying.

I work with an incredibly motivating group of people, who encourage me to think big, think new, and strive for that next generation radio sound. The entire company is on the brink of it, and still figuring out what it is as they go along. So it seems appropriate and fitting for me to return to this column of reflecting on what this next generation radio is exactly, or what I want it to be.

I think I may have some interesting things to share as we all journey into this next phase of media, this next generation, and mostly, I hope to hear what your thoughts and questions may be....are we living it right?

Thoughts? Write Us.

Martina Castro is a production assistant for NPR's "Day to Day" in Culver City, California. Oops, sorry, Los Angeles, California.

Next Generation Radio:
A series of week-long student training projects, designed to give students who are interested in radio and journalism the skills and opportunity to report and produce their own radio story.
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