Thursday, April 22, 2010

Keep slogging on

On a good day, I can send out job applications with something remarkably akin to optimism. Well, that's a rather strong word--guarded optimism, perhaps. On those days, when straggling rejection notices return to me, I laugh them off and gleefully talk about my upcoming wall art project. I may not have a wall worth of the fuckers yet, but the collection is growing.

Other days or times, like this morning, are not so great. Tired from poor sleep and trying to shake off some lingering moodiness, I opened my inbox to find a free and unsolicited shredding of everything wrong with my resume, courtesy of a job listing site. This was, I knew rationally, a set-up for the pitch at the end of the e-mail: "But if you pay us, we can write you an awesome one!!!1!" Still. It smarted. I'd be lying if part of me didn't think of bursting into frustrated tears.

I moped for a bit, though, and I stewed. I gave in to the worrisome fears: "What if I don't actually have anything worth offering to a company that will pay me a living wage? What if this attempt to leave academia also fails? What if I made a mistake in leaving? What if I have to go back in the fall with my tail between my legs and my pride bruised? Am I going to be stuck for the rest of my life teaching reluctant, under-prepared college freshmen things they should already know how to string coherent sentences and paragraphs together, without ever having stepped outside of academe?" Life looks pretty bleak on little sleep and no coffee yet.

And then I put on my big-girl panties and a pot of coffee and decided to try a couple resources for job searching/career changing advice. Score. I found Leaving Academia and numerous recommendations for a book specifically geared toward what I am trying to do. In picking up the book from the campus library, I also picked up several books on resumes and cover letters.

Incidentally, the advice in the books coincided to some extent with the contents of the e-mail that nearly undid me earlier in the morning. And here's the kicker--the criticism didn't hurt because I felt it was uncalled for; it hurt because it cut straight to the heart of some of my nagging fears. I hadn't yet constructed my resume in a way to emphasize my assets and make some of the idiosyncrasies of adjuncting less glaring. (For one thing, put in strict chronological order, my resume makes me look like a job-hopper--until you look closer at the dates to see that at any given point 2 or 3 of the positions were concurrent ones. I'm told HR folk don't look twice.) I had a mission.

And thus my meltdown was over. I opened up a new document and constructed my resume again and went back to square one with my cover letters. The search continues. It's getting a bit wearying, but I've lived the alternative and don't wish to go back, not without having at least seen what else is out there.

Now playing: ELUVEITIE - Omnos
via FoxyTunes

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