learning to swim

03 Jun

It is 11:53 PM and I’ve spent the past two days being An Adult.

I went to IKEA with Taylor (his version of Disneyland) and discovered we have nothing together and will probably strangle each other when it’s time to decorate a home.  I hugged and said goodbye to my college friends and hugged and said hello to some high school friends.  Taylor and I found five apartments that we are going to go see tomorrow.  I have spent the last four hours working on my resume.

The resume has been trying.  I have had little experience trying to find a Career (as it is different from a Job) and I’m suddenly discovering that I’m rather in over my head.  I have the advantage of living with four successful and business-savvy people, all folks who have interviewed and hired employees in the past.  My sister Casey (a manager at a start up manufacturing company), my brother-in-law Mike (a manager at a bank and the district’s Mr. Fix-It for troubled branches), my father Bilbo Baggins (a jack-of-all trades in the business realm), and my mother Leah, who wears many hats at her job in a college office, many of them being rather ugly, uncomfortable hats that I’m not sure that she is paid enough to wear.

I sat down with my laptop in the living room after Casey and Mike had put their baby daughter to bed and asked for some advice on creating a comprehensive resume.  What I received was not unlike asking for a glass of water and being promptly pitched into a lake.  Everyone had an avalanche of excellent suggestions on everything from what to include under experience to how to frame the idea of customer service in an interview.  Everyone except my mother, who was distracted by travel plans and conscious of her youngest daughter being easily overwhelmed.  Did you know that all resumes aren’t to get you a job, they’re to get you an interview? I didn’t.  Did you know that there are a number of interviewing techniques that professionals use to test their interviewees reactions to uncomfortable situations? I didn’t know that either.  How about the tidbit about…oh, Jesus, I can’t even think of the third thing, which is sending me into a mild panic, because I know there were fourth things and twenty-seventh things, all things that I really should know and advice that many business majors would kill for, and I can’t remember more than two.

I talk about this resume advice like it was a bad thing – it wasn’t.  It was just…an extremely significant amount of a good thing.  I kept being tempted to ask my family to wait while I got a pen, paper and could they please hold on while I tie this noose the light fixture and find a chair to kick away?  It was all quite helpful, and emphasized how little I already knew.

Tonight I was exposed to the fact that I am suddenly entering into a very demanding and specific world.  I’m not sure that my experience as a writer and limitless ability to memorize theme songs from the 90’s will be enough for this.

Tomorrow will be apartments.  This is, at least, a step.


Posted by on June 3, 2009 in Letters


Tags: , , ,

8 responses to “learning to swim

  1. Sal

    June 3, 2009 at 7:14 am

    If it’s any comfort – which I doubt it will be – I have been in the workforce for 11 years and had NO IDEA that resumes are meant to secure interviews, not jobs. Remember to breathe, and that it won’t all fall into place THIS WEEK. You are smart and capable and awesome and you will find your way, and soon.

    • saturdayjane

      June 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

      Ha, this is a comfort. We had our first DAY of apartment hunting today, and kept having to remind ourselves “These things take TIME.” 🙂 You are, as always, a lovely lady.

  2. Lauren From Texas

    June 3, 2009 at 7:15 am

    When I graduated in December of 2007 with a degree in English (and a minor in Creative Writing), I had high hopes. Too high. I thought people would be LEAPING AND JUMPING to hire me. That I would get a cool job at some cool place where I could use my cool degree and write cool things. I started sending out my resume and registering on sites like Yahoo! Hot Jobs & FORTY THOUSAND COPIES and EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION EMAILS later, I was substitute teaching and wanting to kill myself.

    A job came from out of the blue in February. Was it exactly what I had always dreamed of doing? No. But it was a job. Now I was the one leaping and jumping. I have now been working this job for over a year. Does it have anything to do with my degree? No. But do I have money as a result of it? Am I building experience? Am I not totally miserable teaching snot-nosed brats for about 50 cents a day? Yes. And you know what? There is something about working, building a career (instead of a job) that just makes you feel really good. Like you’ve finally got somewhere. No matter where that “somewhere” is.

    My advice to you is keep plugging away. I tell you this not to discourage you, but to give you hope – if at first, or second, or four thousandth you don’t succeed, try, try again. You’ll get there! And in the meantime, you have this great blog as your creative outlet – that’s what I use mine for. 🙂

    Best of luck to you.

    • saturdayjane

      June 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

      Oh, wow. The story helps. Honestly, when I BEGAN my major I was pretty sure that I would never get a job as a wrtier, but I had no idea how to do anything else. Someday maybe there will be novels, but I am one hundred percent sure that there will not be people falling over themselves to hire me. This is the root of the worry.

      It’s nice to know, though, that Decent Jobs exist in the world out there, and it CAN happen, to get hired, and be at least content.

  3. lisa

    June 3, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Good luck! Interviewing and resume-writing is a pretty stressful experience, but I have confidence you’ll pull through with flying colours.

    • saturdayjane

      June 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

      Thank you! I’ll keep hoping!

  4. amanda

    June 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Speaking of uncomfortable interviewing sessions, did you know that in some industries they purposefully get you drunk and judge how well you hold your liquor? Apparently, this is big in publishing and a lot of summer internship programs. Under the guise of a conference with a well-stocked bar, or multiple dinners with well-stocked bars, employers and PR people ply job candidates with alcohol and view the results.

    • saturdayjane

      June 3, 2009 at 11:43 pm

      Holy shit! What? That’s absolutely TERRIFYING.

      I want a job as a drunk interviewer.


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