Tag Archives: job hunting

When the Jenga Tower Stays Up

 

I’ve played a lot of Jenga games in my lifetime. Okay, so I’ve played about five games of actual Jenga, and the rest have been metaphorical.

For those of you who don’t know, Jenga is a game in which wooden blocks are stacked to make a tower. Every player has to remove a block during their turn and place it on top of the tower, which gets less and less structurally sound as the game goes on. The last person to remove and place a block successfully before the tower topples is the winner.

In life, Jenga can appear a lot of places. In college, for example, Jenga was everywhere, including the trashcan in my crowded dorm room, with Easy Mac containers and instant mashed potato bowls towering to impressive heights before scattering all over the asbestos tile floor.

Jenga also appeared in my studies. I carved out blocks–from my sleep, from my social life, from my sanity–and stacked them on top of an invisible pile of credentials, hoping to reach enough to get a job without toppling the tower.

After graduation, the tower became more and more unstable. I had removed over 44 blocks (applied to more than 44 jobs). I had cried enough tears to fill the 28 glasses that Michael Phelps could rest on his 28 medals if he ever decided to use them as coasters. I had dug and dug into myself to find the best blocks to present at the top.

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But after everything, I did it. I now work as a proofreader for a successful tax news organization in the D.C. area. My office is lovely, the company is ethical, my coworkers are great, and there’s dental. It’s a wonderful setup, and I am very grateful and blessed to be where I am today.

I wouldn’t be here without digging, though. In my search for more blocks, I found Writers Colony Press, the publisher of Stardust, AlwaysThe Longest Night Watch, and the upcoming The Longest Night Watch Volume 2, which will feature my first published science fiction story, “The Fringe Point.”

I also found aspects of me that I hadn’t before considered. Every interview that made me think about my weaknesses actually made me stronger in the process. Every time a prospective employer ghosted me, it taught me the value of being open and honest with your interactions, even when you may disappoint someone.

Bottom line: keep digging. Keep stacking. The respite comes just before you’re sure you’re going to fall.

 

I’m a Writer, Not a Trophy Wife

Blog Bucket List

Use McCoy’s catchphrase in a title. 

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

TISATAAFWPE: There Isn’t Such A Thing As A Free Writing Piece, Either.

As I wrestle the kracken known as the job market, there is one thing that I keep running into as a writer: “job” postings for writers that don’t offer compensation of any kind. Sometimes, it’s phrased in a particularly crafty way: “Exposure-centered compensation” or “Excellent portfolio-building opportunity.”

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Ahem. These “jobs” usually involve a writer putting in hours upon hours of work per week only to come up with empty pockets. We have bills to pay, too. “He who controls the Spice…” and all that.

No, not the charity stuff

There’s nothing wrong with doing charity work. I love it. See?

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When a writer chooses to write for free for a good cause, it’s like a doctor volunteering at a clinic. It’s an act of donating time instead of money to a cause that the writer cares about. My gripe isn’t with charity work; it’s with everyone thinking that their personal gain is a good cause.

Why is this even a thing?

There’s a perception that artists (including writers) don’t deserve payment. Don’t believe me? Huffington Post asked Wil Wheaton to reprint his blog post, and they said that they couldn’t “afford” to compensate him for his work. If Wil Wheaton, actor, writer, and well-known personality is being snubbed like this by a wildly successful publication, you can imagine how it is for us little guys who are just trying to find a way to pay our bills.

If it’s not possible in this country for people to walk into a hospital and receive life-saving treatments without the hospital knowing for sure that they’re going to get paid for their troubles, why is it possible for people to expect non-essential services like writing for free?

I said it. Writing is non-essential. If I am about to bleed out from a wound sustained in a car accident, a nice academic paper isn’t going to do anything for me. If I’m starving, a sonnet is grand, but where is the food that we need farmers to produce?

I’m not saying that writing isn’t of value. It’s communication. It’s advertising. It’s an expression of self and company identity. It’s a luxury.  Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  explains that once we’re fed, watered, and not getting eaten by the nearest predator, humans can begin to pursue the fun stuff: love; friendship; a career; inner peace; a Shake Weight; whatever. (The person who created this aesthetically pleasing graphic had not reached the level where one requires a proofreader or the proper spelling of “hierarchy.”)

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Photo Cred

If you can afford to need writing, you can afford to pay a writer. It’s an investment, whether the piece of writing is a novel, a radio spot script, a blog post, or something else. When you buy a novel, you get entertainment, personal insight, opened thought, and perhaps a common interest with another person. Your radio spot will get your business noticed. Your blog post will get you more hits.

The adage “You get what you pay for” is everywhere in our society. Why, then, are we expecting to get quality when we offer writers empty promises instead of the pay they deserve?

 

 

Three Weeks Later…

I’m sure you’ve been formulating images of what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.

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I promise, it isn’t what it looks like; it’s more like this:

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How, you ask?

1) Graduation(s)

2) Moving across the state

3) Job-hunting

4) Job interviews

5) Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always

6) Working on a new project

Clearly, I’ve been swamped.

Graduation(s)

On Saturday, the 14th of May, I graduated summa cum laude with an honors diploma and received a B.A. in English/Creative Writing with a minor in organizational communication. (Diploma to be delivered in roughly 6 weeks, I’m told.)

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(That nice-looking man is Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State president and the magical unicorn among university presidents. Seriously, that dude is awesome.)

It was lovely. It was crazy. It was like drowning in a dunk-tank of nostalgia. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I  received some amazing graduation gifts, but that’s a post for another time.

I also went to my pseudo-little-brother’s high school graduation, cried like a baby, and met up with several friends I hadn’t seen in 4 years. We laughed. We cried. We thanked God that we’re adults who have ascended beyond the boundaries, cliques, and stupid rules of our high school years.

Moving

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will leave you with three tips.

  1. Pack the Band-Aids last.
  2. Screwdrivers should never be used as pry bars.
  3. Also pack the toilet paper last.

Job-Hunting

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Shhhh… We’re only looking for the ones with nice benefits.

Job Interviews

I must be doing something right, because I have had a few interviews over the past couple of weeks. I might be weird, but… they’re fun! I love the opportunity to learn more about businesses and to get to talk to people.

Preparing for the release of Stardust, Always

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Remember when I told you about the anthology I’m doing? Well, it’s been moving along! The last few weeks have been a sea of proofs (for both the ebook and the print book), final edits, and a marketing push. We’ve been contacting news outlets and have a successful Thunderclap campaign in the works, so that’s exciting.

Another exciting thing: our link for pre-ordering the ebook is up! That’s right. For $3.99, you can have your very own virtual copy of Stardust, Always, which will be auto-delivered to your device on June 5th.

And another thing that is very exciting to me personally is this: I am, according to Amazon, an author. That’s right. “The Metastatic Squatter,” my contribution to the anthology, has officially put me on the map. It’s a small thing, but I am thrilled!

New project

I don’t want to say much yet, but I did have one of those lightning-bolt, mind-exploding ideas the other night. I actually can’t say much, because I don’t know much. I’m still in the scribbling phases at the moment, but I’m excited and am considering using it for my Camp NaNo project this year. I can say that there are cathedrals and harpies involved, so that’s fun.

In summary: not that lazy.

If you’re really that concerned, bring out your pitchforks and torches in the comments. I’ll do my best to dodge the rotten vegetation from the stocks. c742d-stocks1