Friday, August 19, 2011

Motoring On, Motoring On, Motoring On . . .

I'm starting to get discouraged. Okay, not so much "starting to get" discouraged, since an ebbing and flowing level of discouragement has been my constant friend since I took this bold leap into the future and decided to shred my job security in the worst economy since the great depression while amassing loads of student debt. It's more like getting re-discouraged. We're reaching peak discouragement.

My latest phone interview, after some hoops and paper work, did not turn into even an in-person interview. Which is fair enough; I get that it's a matter of fit for both sides. When the unemployment rate guarantees a flood of good candidates, it behooves a smart hiring manager to pick and choose, keeping options open. It's just kind of a drag for those of us in limbo while all this weighing of options is going on. And okay, I'll be honest: I'd hoped my spectacular writing samples would seal the deal. Even if I didn't in past produce the exact type of writing desired, surely, surely my innate flexibility would be apparent? Persuasive skills, I get. Not everyone can polish some really beguiling copy. Descriptive text, though: what are the variables in that? Grammar? Decent word choice? Good flow? Is there some sort of corporate syntax? Are brevity and simple sentences the mainstays of business documents? It's kind of sad that I've been an office monkey my entire adult life, and I don't even know. My letters, emails, and whatnot all seemed to cover the bases well enough.

It comes back to the abundance of people in the market, I know. Why train people when you can find the exact thing that you're looking for? Generalists, as they say, are passe. Specialization, specialization, specialization is the rage. Working in a small office where you're a jack of all trades doesn't translate well into a specialized niche. It's quite maddening and hard to finesse. Nonprofit leaves you asea in corporate, because why take on someone who doesn't immediately know the culture, when you can hire someone who does? No longer working in publishing proper means that you're off a standard track, and there's no publishing here to speak of, anyway. It's not DC, so the nonprofit and interest groups aren't thick on the ground, and the ones that are here are working with no money. Communications and PR, which are relatively thick on the ground here and which I've done in teeny tiny doses, naturally want people experienced in same. I could do it, but again, why train when you can get the exact thing? I've done some development work, and I write, so: grant writer! Except I've never written grants. It's making me rethink my field study, I tell you what.

But it does no good to get bummed out and feel judged. (But, dude, I thought if there was anywhere I could sell myself, it was with a bit of writing. That's what hurts.) So all I can do is stay focused and try to keep thinking and planning, networking and communicating.

And now that I've got the freelance portfolio up and running, I can start hitting the ground hard to gin up new clients. All of this was not unexpected, but damn. I really hoped I'd be instantly recognizable as spectacular and be employed accordingly.

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