So I am in the process of looking for a new job. It was a great 3 ½ years at the diner but it’s time to move on. I will miss it there. I made some great friends, had great co-workers and it will always be a special place for me. That being said I’ve had a lot of skills and talents that have gone underutilized the last few years. It happens.
During the last month or so of looking for a new job, I’ve had a scant few interviews. Not as many as what I was hoping for but its business right? It’s all about looking for the right candidate and I am trying to be that. Looking for a job is never easy. At least, we have a little money in the bank…a little. I was talking to a friend of mine who took a look at my resume to see if anything needed to be fixed. He made a few small suggestions and one big suggestion that at first I was so offended by that I immediately ignored it. However, after the initial shock wore off I wondered if he could be right.
Now, you may be wondering what on my resume was so off-putting to my friend. It was my writing. My business called Books by Michael Melville. My aspirations in the publishing business, the writing business and being an author. So basically, everything important I’ve been working on for the last 5 years including my college education which I am still working on.
I’ve gained a lot of workable, valuable and useful knowledge in building up this part of my entrepreneurial life. Not to mention the skills and insights I’ve learned in college and then combined with nearly twenty years of work experience in various industries. Between writing and marketing, I’ve put hundreds of hours into building this writing career up and will still do so. It’s part of my life and part of my future and that is where the problem lies according to my friend (I’ll call him Jake). Now, I will say that Jake is very supportive of my writing and is one my few friends who bought both my published books.
Companies, most companies are looking to hire people who are interested in building a career with them for the long term. I’m already competing against college grads with little actual work and real life experience but I am also competing with people my parents ages or slightly younger who are and have been trying to find new employment in this changed economy or are just playing the job market.
Jake feels that even though I have a lot of valuable experience with what I have learned in the writing business that companies are looking for potential employees that are entirely focused on THEIR company or organization and not what they consider an employee’s side business. Now, of course, he says this is more to do with professional jobs and less to do with service or retail jobs. That being said I was already told once in no uncertain terms that my writing career and me pursuing a future as a novelist was the main reason one company was not interested in hiring me. That was a service job working at a hotel…part time. Seriously.
The problem is that factory, non-management retail jobs, and service industry jobs are the kind of jobs I am really looking to avoid at 37 years old. I am not so picky where I won’t take one but it’s not the top of my list. It’s a situation where I know my abilities and talents would again be underutilized or not used at all which leads to anger and frustration and THOSE my friends are paths to the dark side. I have a family now and am looking for quality full-time employment (or as close as I can get), benefits and the ability to provide for my family while I finish college so money talks. I am looking to push myself, succeed in something new and not rehash past misery. Regardless of the job or career that I hopefully find myself in I won’t be quitting writing and won’t stop promoting Books by Michael Melville.
When it comes to my resume though I am still stuck.
Do I lie? Do I ignore the truth? Do I remove anything to do with writing, the writing business and being an author so I look more appealing to potential employers in a long term professional career? If I do that on my resume, I lose showing valuable knowledge and experience that I feel is useful and marketable which I have learned while pursuing this writing career. My degree path is Writing with a focus on creative writing. If I leave out anything related to a career in writing does that mean, I should forego putting my college education downs since it doesn’t involve something in say business management.
Another point of contention Jake brought up is how visible I am on the internet as an author and that it’s only going to get worse. Being active on most of the social media outlets, writing, blogging, running ads, public appearances, self-promoting and cross promoting are required aspects of being an author. Putting yourself out there to the world in a large way is something that you need to do as a modern author. You can’t survive doing this otherwise. But for a potential employer that could be a bit of a concern. If company A hires me to work for them then with that indirectly comes my life as an author and the public image behind that (whatever that image is to people because it’s subjective). Company A even though they may be supportive of the writing part of my life may worry about my public image adversely affecting their corporate image somehow. The chance of that happening I think are very slim but as someone who has done the hiring and firing before I can understand how it might be a concern.
One friend of mine who not long ago was on the job hunt basically locked up and largely ignored his social media until he found and started his new career in the mortgage industry. He didn’t want it (social media) to hurt his job chances. I get that too. I don’t have that option. I can’t just shut down this ship that I have going until I find a new job. I can’t make everything disappear on the internet and I can’t stop promoting because books won’t sell if I do that.
So do I go after less than what I know I am capable of. Do I force myself into a few more years of service jobs and retail and the low pay that comes with them? I am 23 credits short of graduating so I don’t have that official bachelor’s degree behind me yet that might help get a job in a writing-related field or, at least, something where the pay is better and job quality is better. I won’t lie I’d like wearing a suit to work. I look great in a suit and miss wearing one.
I have accepted the fact that I may never be “just an author”. I’ve accepted the fact that I will likely need to work a normal job while contemporaneously writing and building up my business. However, I don’t want to downplay one for the sake of the other and I don’t think I should have to since I know I could do both…equally. I see it from both sides though
Advice? I’d love some especially from my author or writing friends and followers who may have had to deal with this.