December 18, 2009

Doubling the job search

Dear Readers,
I'm so sorry I didn't do a post on Tuesday! I meant to, really really, but it just didn't happen.

Here's an update on my publishing journey. My "official" internship with Robert Astle ended yesterday. But halt your tears. No crying for me! I decided to stay on--woo hoo! The Boss was incredibly cool and said he understands how brutal it is out there and that I could stay a little longer while I'm still looking for a full-time gig, so of course I said yes. There's no way I could keep getting the same experience, meet the kind of awesome people, and do the incredible things I love without having a place like Robert Astle & Associates to work. Now I can even pick up another client!

But inside, I can't help but be a little disappointed. I just can't afford to stay full-time; I'm going to need to find a part-time job, which means I'm only going to be at the agency part-time. I have to cut back my responsibilities, so there's going to be less variety in my slush, less all day doing what I love. I sound really greedy and spoiled, don't I? I don't mean to. What I'm trying to say is that I feel like taking a non-related job is a step back, not a step forward. And even though this really doesn't mean anything, I'm afraid it's just the first of many steps down a path that leads me farther and farther away from where I want to be--the publishing world.

I know I need money. I'm incredibly lucky to have my family behind me, giving me a place to stay and almost everything I need. But sometimes I feel like they're sick of me now, like it's "you're a burden already." And the worst part is, I kind of agree--I know I'm not contributing anything. I don't want to be a burden on the relatives I'm living with, on my parents who work hard to financially support me so that I can be happier than they ever were. Both of them gave up their dream careers. They know how important this is to me. And I'll always be grateful to them for what they're doing.

I try not to be a parasite and I remind myself that I'm not sitting at home watching cartoons all day--I'm working toward a goal--a full-time, editorial entry level job in the publishing industry. (So strange, to be looking for both full-time and part-time work.) I WANT to work, but I can't do something that doesn't challenge me, that I don't love. And I believe in the importance of what I'm doing. I believe that books change lives.

So I've devised a way to keep publishing in mind while working a second job. How about working in a book store?!?! Anyone in NYC hiring? For someone who loves matching people to books it sounds like an excellent choice, no? While I'd still rather be editing full-time, (don't hit me for the cliche) I've gotta do what I've gotta do. The dream is calling, after all. Wish me luck tomorrow--maybe my previously luckless resume will get some attention. And maybe I'll make some connections.




  1. Good luck!

    Have you considered freelance writing? Magazines are always looking for material, and as an "industry insider" you might be able to break into some of the writing magazines. You could also write articles on "how to write short stories" for teen magazines, and "books to get your teen to read" for parenting magazines.

    It wouldn't be as steady at first as a bookstore paycheck, of course, but you already know the ins and outs of querying, and the nice thing about writing for magazines is you don't usually have to produce the article until after you've got the contract.

  2. I have done some freelance (mostly editing), but I've found it hard to compete with other applicants when I don't have an interview. My resume always seems weak because I'm so young. And actually, I'd really like to have something that lets me interact with people. Even editing, I get to interact with my boss a little bit. I love people online but if I don't force myself to go out and meet people I end up in the house all day/all night not because I don't like people but because it's so comfortable.

  3. Best of luck! I feel your pain--I was in your shoes a few months ago. For two miserable years after I graduated university, I was stuck in a job I didn't like (working in finance). When I lost my job last year, I decided to take that career move and try getting started in an industry I do love: books. I got an internship at Writers House in January 2009. I worked there for about six months and struggled to find a job when the internship ended before meeting my Boss and coming to work for St. Martin's Press.

    I send good thoughts your way!

  4. Good luck! Job hunting sucks, but I'm glad you're able to stay on at the agency :D

  5. Good luck!! I think it's amazing that you're sticking to your dream - so many people don't. And I think working in a book store would be. So. Amazing. :-)

  6. I went through the same struggle when I moved here this summer; I knew I needed to get a job in order to make my lifestyle sustainable, but getting a job meant cutting back on the internship for which I moved up here -- and thus, my entire reason for needing said job!

    I think your inclination towards bookstore work is a good one. A lot of publishers really value employees who have worked in small, independent bookstores and gotten a good look at what really sells. It's a great real-world balance to an artsy, word-loving mindset, and I know a ton of editors who have started as booksellers -- and some would-have-been editors who liked it so much they stayed there! What's more, at an independent bookstore you're bound to create a network of both writers and readers.

    As for me, I found work in a coffee shop. At first it seemed irrelevant, but over time I found I really loved it. And it taught me to interact professionally with customers, to be detail-oriented (remembering the regulars' names and orders isn't so easy), and to thrive in a fast-paced environment. What's more, it taught me that I love one-on-one interaction and I thrive off of the energy I get from other people. It's been a great way to balance out all my time spent reading.

    Good luck! My coffee shop is hiring, if you're interested, but if you go the bookstore route, let me know what happens!

  7. I can totally relate to this. For the past year I've been blessed enough to write full-time, but my dream job may be coming to an end. My hubby is going to grad school, so it looks like I'll be the main financial supporter for two years. Unless I get a bomb diggity publishing contract in the next 8 months, it's back to industry for me.

    It does feel like a step back--the complete wrong direction--and the situation isn't in my hands. I hate working 8-5 editor/copywriter jobs. It's not what I'm passionate about. I want to be a writer, I am a writer. I just need to get paid for it. I don't need a lot, just enough to pay the mortgage.

    So, what am I going to do? Same as you--keep working toward my dream and change my perspective. Easier said then done, but I'm going to work on it.

    Best of luck to you, too.