Kindergarten: 15 Years Later

May 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm (2008)

I’m starting to feel restless again.  Here I thought I had it all figured out, but as I become more impatient for responses from a) contests I’ve submitted my work to and b) the artists’ retreat, I am c) once again embarking on an application blitz. 

I need a job.  Moreso, I need a job in the publishing industry. 

I’ve realized that I won’t be satisfied with anything else.  I enjoy my current assignment, working at a local university, but it’s not a career for me.  I need to be writing or reading; I need to be around books and a relatively challenging vocabulary, around people who can string together coherent sentences and ask a clear question, for the love of God.

I know I’m not much older than the kids at the university, but working on the other side of the counter gives you a whole new perspective.

Case in point, this is an example of a phone call I received this afternoon:

Me: Good afternoon, Registrar’s office, can I help you?
Student: Yeah, I have a question.
Me: …
Me: What can I help you with?
Student: I want to know about registration.
Me: …
Me: Ok, what’s your question?
Student: How do I do it?
Me: You don’t.  NEXT!

Ok, that last part isn’t true, but it takes a lot of patience and a working mute button to get through these phone calls.  I was talking with a co-worker today who was saying that students are becoming more aggressive and are more than willing to launch complaints if they don’t get what they want, despite instructions and protocol.  I believe that my generation is at the beginning of this — we’ve always been told we could achieve our dreams with persistence; we know what we want and we do whatever it takes to attain it.  However, here is where we differ: we have tact and respect, and we know how to take responsibility for our own actions.

I believe it’s really the parents who are the problems, as it’s the parents who do most of the calling and the complaining.  But it’s trickling down to their children, as is evident in my daily interactions with them.  A student is on academic probation?  Blame the school.  We can’t change their grade for them?  Speak with the University President.  That’ll show ’em.

There are plenty of nice kids out there who I meet and for them, I’m grateful.  And most of the time I love the annoying callers because I’m usually right and they’re usually wrong, neener, neener, so there.  And I stick out my tongue and stomp my foot and all is right with the world again. 

But this complacency is just that — I’m simply satisfied.  I want to love my job, to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and worthy of my skills.  I am willing to work hard and to begin at the very bottom if it means I will be learning and have room for growth in the industry of which I have always dreamt.  Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy being an agent instead of an editor.  Maybe I’ll like acquisitions or public relations or even production.  I won’t ever know until I’m in the industry, and I can’t get that far until I try and keep trying. 

I know that I’m aggressive — I have a goal and, luckily, I also have the support to try to achieve that goal.  But I hope that I also have the respect, integrity, and tact necessary to succeed. 

We graduated from kindergarten a long time ago.  I like to think that we’ve learned some things along the way.

Beginning with how to ask a question.

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