Everyone knows that media is not the most stable industry and that it’s hard to find an affordable apartment in New York. But surely somebody who is gainfully employed at a media organization with a recognizable name would not be denied an apartment just because the whole industry is shaky, right?
“Last week, I was denied an apartment because I have a full-time job in the media industry,” AOL.com frontpage editor Allie Compton wrote on HuffPost earlier this week.
Ms. Compton responded to a “For rent by owner” listing on Craigslist and saw one of those too-good-to-be true Brooklyn apartments. She showed up with all her financial information, W-2s, proof of employment in hand. Unfortunately, the proof of employment proved that she worked in media.
The owner of the apartment had some personal experience with the capricious world—both of her children had worked in the news industry at some point, and both of her children had been laid off from their news industry jobs, Ms. Compton recalled. After the prospective landlady’s daughter took a Newsweek buyout and her son’s entire department at The New York Times was eliminated, the sensible children changed their career paths to something more stable. (To what, we are not exactly sure, since while media might not be the most reliable place to bet on long-term employment, we don’t know if anything really is. If you do, shoot us an email!)
The owner of the apartment told Ms. Compton that she “’was ‘lucky’ to be at a media outlet that is ‘doing well.’”
But a subsequent email informed Ms. Compton that her application for the apartment had been denied.
“Your job is too shaky,” said the email. “Media is a low-paying industry.”
“After I received her email, in which she said my job was ‘shaky’ and that the media industry was low-paying, which was more of a fact than a reason, I cried,” Ms. Compton told The Observer. “I guess it hit me in a sore spot. All day long you read story after story about the ever-changing media landscape, the uncertainty of online publishing, and so on.”
But in the end, all worked out. Ms. Compton found a different, better apartment for the same price. And it was a learning experience!
“Needless to say, it came as a real shock, and made me think hard about how others view what I do for a living,” Ms. Compton said. “But never did I think it would be to my disadvantage to have a full-time job at a time like this.”