Monday, 8 August 2016

Love Working, Hate Looking for Jobs


I was trying to explain the writing life to B.A. thusly: if you are a writer, you have to open yourself to rejection, but if you get rejected too often, you become psychologically incapable of writing. Writing has caused the rejection, and rejection hurts, so the thought of writing hurts.

After a period of recuperation, writing doesn't hurt, but the thought of being rejected again hurts. It takes an act of real courage to send the piece in.  This is often rewarded with another rejection.

To tell you the truth, though, some forms of rejection are better than others, as Searching Single men all know. A swift "no, thanks" is supremely better than "Oh, I don't know, I'll have to ask around, I'll get back to you when they get back to me" followed by dead silence.  Dead silence from beginning to end is bad too, for it says "You/your stuff is so beneath contempt, you don't deserve a response. Let's both pretend you never wrote to me."

That is why having friends, colleagues and fans in any industry is so important. I went out and got a college night school teaching job on my own once, but for the most part, every good job opportunity that has come my way has come because some kind friend, professor, colleague or fan has sent my name in to someone looking for someone with my skills, or because I came up with a good idea and presented it to some kind friend, professor, colleague or fan.

B.A. says this is not how employment works in the UK. Nevertheless, I have a new writing gig in the UK because a friend sent my name in to someone looking for someone with my skills. That said, I just wrote to my Polish teacher to say I can't afford to take her course this term. And house-hunting is not a fun past-time but an opportunity to beat myself up for using up my "second chance" at theology school, not teachers' college, or whatever. Of course, I did not know, when I enrolled, that I was going to end up in the least Catholic country in the English-speaking world.

Nor, admittedly, did I know I was going to go trad, which is not a good career move for a female M.Div. Still, even before I came to Scotland, I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of doing jobs priests should do. When I was thinking of ways to escape from Boston College, I considered becoming an army "chaplain" but my great-grandmother's great pal Father William Corby was an army chaplain during the U.S. Civil War, and I couldn't bear to think what he would think of it. For one thing, I couldn't give absolution to a dying soldier, could I?

Anyway, one cannot give up. This morning I have expanded a blogpost to a 2,000 word essay hopefully suitable for publication, sent it to a someone-I-know and asked another friend about any casual, very short-term English-teaching opportunities in Poland.  I have also translated a page of Benedict XVI's book for Polish children--or for children, translated into Polish, Dlaczego wierzę? (Why Do I Believe?) 

The poor man never wanted to be pope and didn't think the office was destined for him, but he says he concluded that God's will was not his will and that God had prepared something new and unique for him. This would be all very edifying had Benedict XVI not quit.


  1. Dear Seraphic. I har my first day as an engineer today. I wish I could say that I feel thrilled about my choice of career but I fear I never will be. The pay is good, but I'm not sure I'm interested enough in technology. Yet, it is not easy for me to figure out what I would like to do instead. I would define myself as multitalented; I am quite good at languages, maths and art. Anyway, finding a suitable, satisfactory and payed job is difficult for most of us. My dream is to be a stay at home mum for a lagre family. Let's see what is God's plan.


  2. Well, I hope some aspect of it makes it more enjoyable for you. Meanwhile, the pay is good. Ah, what music to my ears. When one is twenty-something it is easy to shrug at "the pay is good", but at forty-something it is much harder! Meanwhile, the best thing a woman who hopes to be a stay at home mum for a large family can do, besides socialize in marriage-positive circles, is pay off any student debts and save, save, save.