Career Development

Do The Math

Still sending out the applications and waiting to hear back from a) contests b) France and c) jobs. I did recently get in contact with the artists’ retreat, so I’m grateful that they have, and are considering, at least, my application. So, there’s still some hope left with that.

Job prospects are a little more daunting. I had a job call back this week from a temp agency on Long Island regarding a proofreading position. The pay would be good, I am willing to relocate in a heartbeat, and it was next to the neighborhood where I was born. Ultimately, it would have been perfect — a long term temp position in New York would mean I could gain experience in the publishing industry while getting one step closer in location. Alas, alack, when I called them for the interview, they lost my application. Then, when I sent it to them again, at their request, they said that they showed it to their supervisor, who determined that the company needed somone to start immediately, but they would keep my resume on file.

I’m not exactly going to be holding my breath. I’ve done that before and I’ve turned blue. Was I disappointed? Yes, of course. But there was a touch of relief in there too, much like with Emerson. The job was for proofreading direct mail advertisements — it’s a part of the publishing industry, which would be a great start, and I will take what I can get, of course, but I’m not heartbroken. Like I always say, I’ll just find another way. These setbacks just make me more determined to get there, to achieve my dream, and to determine my success.

So, I’m back to the resumes. Let’s equate this:

1 resume x 20 businesses per day [should] = A LOT of call backs.
1 resume x 20 businesses per day [actually] = 1 call back.

Discouraging, no? I’ll remain optimistic, however — maybe one of those phone calls will be “the one.”

However difficult it may be, I need to remind myself that it’s not personal. Jobs are hard to come by these days in all fields, nevermind one as competitive as publishing. There’s a recent article from the AP stating that 8.5 million people are currently unemployed, correlating nicely with our poor economy. When you figure in those numbers, it puts everything into perspective — I have a job, albeit a temporary one, but I’m still capable of paying the bills and treating myself to ice cream or a new book when the desire arises. I’m definitely not as far along as I wanted to be, but maybe I’m not so bad off then, either.

People say that things come to you when you’re not looking for it. I believe this, to a degree. I need to pursue my dream and get my resume out there, but I also have to be patient and not expect for things to happen overnight. Maybe in my next post I’ll come up with an analogy of how finding a job is like finding a guy — seems I’m not having luck with either of them.

1 thought on “Do The Math”

  1. Hi there,

    I read through a bit of your blog and I am touched. I recognize a good deal of similar thoughts/issues/processes between us. You want to write, you want to make a career out of it, but you’re not sure how to start, so you look for a job or a college to “jump start” you.

    I did this– I came to Hollywood, a young playwright, dreaming of making it big as a screenwriter. I’d never finished a screenplay but I found a job where I read scripts for a living. At times I really enjoyed it, because it felt creative. But although my job related to writing, I did not write. I never finished one screenplay. Or stageplay for that matter. I took action– I signed up for a screenwriting class at UCLA– but couldn’t even finish the 30-page assignment. But I kept thinking, “I am in the industry. I am getting paid. I am learning. I must be getting somewhere.. right?”

    But what I learned, and what I would like to offer you, to assuage some of the anxiety you may have about colleges and jobs and such, is this: No job or college is going to MAKE you write. No institution is going to legitimize you or “kickstart” your writing. The confidence to write, which is at least 80% of the battle, comes only from you, and you can start Right Now. You could score the most elite publishing job around, or get an MFA at the top program in the world, but it’s not going to make you any more or less a “real” writer than you are now. You don’t need to ask for permission, you don’t need anybody’s blessing. Just write. Do something to pay the bills, continue to pursue publishing and grad school– but write. Trust yourself that you have something to say and you know how to say it in your own voice.

    I know this is all pretty beat-up, hackneyed old advice, but I hope that it is useful to you, or your readers. I also think when you’re twentysomething and college educated and used to following the rules and fulfilling the requirements so you can progress to the next thing, you assume that the writing life will be the same way. But it’s not so much. You are much more free than you think you are. You can grab that apple of knowledge and bite it if you want to. You can write chapter one tonight if you want to.

    Plus, writing’s a great way to spend your nights during a recession, because it’s free, and even a Pabst blue ribbon drunk at the cheapest dive bar costs something.

    Good luck to you in your many endeavors. Confidence (and nepotism) will get you everything. Cheers!

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