Saturday, April 26, 2008

Job Search Reality Check

I've been having a difficult time finding a full or part-time job in recent months, perhaps due to the current American economic downturn. I'm confident that I've unique professional and personality traits that would make me an appealing employee, but the deadening silence in the apartment from the dormant phone and empty Outlook inbox say otherwise.

In recent weeks I've interviewed with a medical software company that asked that I commit for three years as a help desk agent, and when the managing partner realized that I had writing and editing abilities, he couldn't contain himself. He modified the job description on the spot, with the same low annual salary that would be locked in for three years. I'm not afraid of commitment, and am seriously seeking a stable work environment now that I've a handle of my freelance writing and editing.

Years ago, I worked in two high-pressured investment banks as a help desk agent and software trainer, but I hadn't yet settled into my writing skin. I earned a great salary, but had no healthy outlets. It would've been ideal back then when I worked three thirteen-hour days, to have had the idea to create Morningside Writers Group. Clichés aside: Everything looks better in hindsight. If I knew then what I know now.

The next most recent interview felt like being in a police lineup or a college fraternity hazing. The department manager wasn't a pleasant person, and set about explaining the reasons why he asks certain questions and deconstructing my resume. I didn't get the job. He was more impressed with himself rather than actually conducting a proper interview.

I'm not desperate quite yet. Friends have suggested Starbucks that offers benefits for part-time staff, and I'm not mistaken, tuition reimbursement for fulltime employees. I've worked in a coffee shop as an assistant manager before, which I'm not keen to do anytime soon again. I reeked of coffee daily, and was wired on caffeine to keep up with the customers' demands and employees' needs.

My goal is two-fold: a steady income and regular online and print bylines to build writing clips as I establish myself as a brand. I'm not seeking a rockstar writing career, but to earn my living as a writer, editor, and workshop leader. I don't want unattended homes on several continents, but a log cabin next to a natural lake in Upstate New York during the summers and a brownstone or three-family home in Harlem, Brooklyn, or nearby Alpine, New Jersey during the school year.

I've also other ambitions and goals that hinge upon my younger brother's relocating to the East Coast in a few years. He's a talented pastry chef and all-around cook, and we'd love to open a writer-friendly café/lounge with book readings, book signings, and occasional live entertainment.

Every job I've had until now has been educational, which I don't want to go to waste. I now know who I am and what I can offer an employer until I am able to support myself and a family from my writing, and other creative business ventures. I excel as a Project Manager and community builder, witnessed by the five-year anniversary of Morningside Writers Group. The task is to find a job that will bring out the best in me professionally and personally, leaving me time and energy afterward to continue writing film, theatre, and dance reviews, personality and neighborhood profiles.

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