Me vs. Me

June 18, 2008 at 4:57 pm (2008)

I’ve often asked myself: what on earth possessed me to choose this as a career path? According to The US Department of Labor, “Competition is expected for writing and editing jobs because many people with the appropriate training and talent are attracted to the occupation,” and yet “employment of salaried writers and editors is expected to increase [up to 10%] as demand grows for web-based publications.” This should be a simple case of supply and demand — more and more businesses are seeking writers and editors for publications and web-based multimedia, which, one would naturally postulate, should result in more and more job openings to fulfill these needs. Such hasn’t been the case, as the job market sucks.   A lot.

I take a look at my own resume, which I’m actually pretty proud of, considering I’ve only been out of college for two years…Good GPA and awards? Check. Participation in student activities? I was an editor for our literary arts journal for two years and a student tutor at the writing center for three, so…Check. Real-life proofreading and editorial experience? I acquired a freelance position editing two Master’s theses on a social work topic and subsequently have ingrained in me the definition of recidivism, so yup…Check.

Can I see myself in a job for a long period and remain loyal to a company? I started off doing temporary work in the international department of a bank during my school breaks and applied to full time, accomplishing two promotions and numerous raises in my four years there. Check. How about my ability to work well with deadlines and under pressure? YES. Check, check, check.

How about life experience? Can you speak a foreign language? I’m fairly fluent in French and have some international travel experience (France and London). Thanks for asking, check. And what about your ability to learn? I’ve been working temporary jobs these past 10 months as I engaged in this hunt for a job, which means that I have to be incredibly adaptable (ready to take on whatever assignment is thrown at offered to me), a fast learner, and professional in all capacities while remaining enthusiastic and upbeat.  I’ll answer that one with an exhaustive check.  

So, you’re adaptable and flexible?  Well, I’m willing to relocate anywhere in the country at my own expense for a position (read: a position in my field).  I think that’s a yes.  Check.

So what the hell am I doing wrong?

Maybe I should have applied to a better known university and moved far away from home.  Maybe I should have sought out an internship instead of working during my summers.  Maybe I would be more marketable if I spoke Spanish instead of French.   

And then you look at these girls and think WTF? Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Because apparently they’ve wanted to be singers ever since they were born and now they’re jetsetting across America. They’re 13. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was born, but I’m almost 25 and I’m still not having any luck finding a job. Any job. As a college-educated professional .

However, looking back, I can’t ever say that I regret the decisions that I’ve made. Being a writer isn’t really something you choose to be — it’s something you are. And all of my choices stemming from that have been good, conscious ones that have worked for me. I love the fact that I went to Lock Haven — it was exactly everything that I wanted in a university and I am proud of the successes and lasting friendships I have made there.

I probably could have gotten an internship, but my last year of school was filled with apprehension and anxiety of the dark unknown of After Graduation, and I’m glad I had the bank to fall back on when that day came. In fact, the job at the bank taught me more than I had ever realized — longevity in a job, professionalism, as well the ability to manage the money I had earned.

As far as learning French vs. Spanish — let’s thank seventh grade me for that, who, by having the grades, was offered the opportunity to take a language in junior high and decided that she liked the sound of French. 24 year old me now loves the sound of French. In fact, I love everything to do with France and the French culture.

So I’ve made good decisions for myself and am actually proud, albeit somewhat unsatisfied, with where I am now. It’ll take me awhile to fully achieve my dream, but at least I’m old enough to appreciate the steps it takes to get there.

Or, at least, remember my childhood as being, you know, an actual childhood.

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