They Call Me the Professor

24 06 2009

A friend just recently graduated from CU Boulder and asked me for some gems of wisdom about getting a job. It was interesting that she asked me, seeing as I’ve never really had a job. I mean, I have a job, but it’s not a job job, where I have a boss and paid vacation and benefits and a 401K and such.

I am, however, a master interviewer. I have probably been to 20 professional interviews in my short stint as a working professional. Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been offered every single one of those jobs. (This is me pretentiously brushing my shoulder and mouthing “No big deal”). I think that track record is pretty good, so yes, I’ll call myself a master interviewer. I’ve also written a published article about it, only adding to my masterfulness (which is a word).

The interview is the easy part, it’s getting your “foot in the door” that’s hard. If I’ve been to 20 interviews, I’ve sent 1,000 cover letters. I’ve written 500 iterations of my resume. I’ve worked with two placement companies, and I’ve had 20 jobs. And these aren’t full time jobs; these are freelance gigs, internships, and contract positions. I’ve actually only had one “real” job, and that only lasted for six months. Can’t cage a jackolope, I guess.

The thing is, I just don’t want to be tied to anything (*cough*commitment issues*cough*), and I’m not all that sure what I could do all the time. I can’t be a copywriter because I’d poke my eyes out with pencils every time some life-sucking editor changed my clever title “Holy Craps!” to “Playing Craps in Vegas.” I couldn’t work in advertising because they work waaaay to hard. I like this marketing business, but who knows how long that will last before I do something stupid and lose all of my clients. So here I am, wondering what advice I could possibly give this poor friend of mine, who so innocently looks up to me thinking that I’ve got it made.

I studied Journalism in college, where I was taught to only be partially honest. I wrote a couple Op-Eds that weren’t well received, except by (consequently) my all-time favorite professor, Kirby Moss. He loved them because of their honesty and spent three years convincing me that the world would love them, too. Do what you want to do all the time, and the money will take care of itself. That’s what he told me when he tried to talk me out of film school (one interview I never got). Just be a writer and don’t fall into the bullshit. Don’t be a screenwriter; your vision will just get stomped on. But Kirby, you have to make money somehow! He was awesome.

I see myself falling further and further away from the vision everyday I think of starting my own interactive agency, or becoming a professor, or starting a web start-up or moving to Aspen and becoming a fly-fishing guide. That’s not the path, I can hear him say. Just be a writer.

So to my friend, and anyone else with visions of being, I say this to you: The money doesn’t just come, the interviews don’t just happen, the cover letters don’t write themselves, and the jobs are never perfect. Life is the only thing you can really count on, so if you focus on that you might fail, but you’ll never be unhappy. Just be what you want to be and be damn good at it; and make sure you have way too much fun in the meantime.

Advertisements