In Chapter 5 of 13 in his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview, musician and writer Conrad Doucette reflects on his post-college years and big media and Internet job experience (MTV, Heavy.com, Fuse). Doucette advises recent college graduate job seekers to use their youth, curiosity, and energy as strengths. Media companies seek these attributes, not industry experience, when hiring recent college graduates. Doucette found his own direction post-college during months living in London. He spends the London months listening, not talking, learning the practical elements that motivate him, including media, big cities and industries that produced the things he loved. This, and an expired visa, then result in his move to New York City, where he lands his first Internet media job at Heavy.com.
Erik Michielsen: To what did you aspire as a college graduate and, compared to where you are now, what has changed?
Conrad Doucette: I did not know what I wanted to do, which I think is normal. But, I did know what my interests were, which in retrospect I’m pleasantly surprised with myself. I knew enough that I wanted to go find others and be somewhere where I could figure things out. When I graduated, I went to go live in London for eight months.
Erik Michielsen: How did it inform how you developed?
Conrad Doucette: I was an outsider right away, which is fine. I have no problem with that. It forces you to be on your toes more. I became more of an observer and listener than a talker. I saw what others were doing but realized I had to surround myself with certain elements to achieve what I want.
Erik Michielsen: What elements?
Practical elements. I enjoyed the media. I enjoyed big cities. I enjoyed being around the industries that produced the stuff I loved. When England kicked me out after my visa ran out – otherwise I would have happily stayed – I came back and moved to New York. I had a bunch of friends, bizarrely, from my Canadian high school living here. All of my closest friends were here. I got dropped running into New York life. It was through a high school friend that I started at my first full time job which is Heavy.com. Which is how I got involved in web.
Conrad Doucette: It’s funny, they say that connections are everything. I’m glad I had that connection. If there is one thing I could change about my post collegiate one or two years. … I felt the city was almost overwhelming. I was happy to be here. I don’t know how to go work at MTV. Now that I’ve worked at MTV on stuff and work at Fuse and other big media companies, I know it is a snap and I know we are always on the lookout for somewhat smart, definitely excited young people.