Friday, September 19, 2008

Anybody know how to find a job other than craigslist?  That's the only thing I use, and so far it's only led to a 6-week doggy daycare job and a 19-month (so far) temp job that doesn't pay enough to live on and doesn't involve any skills I could use at other jobs.  It feels like it's been too long since I graduated to call myself a recent college graduate ('04), which is what most of the ads seem to be looking for.  I haven't even applied to anything in about eight months, and I feel like I'm out of options.  I'm terrible with computers and all I have is an English degree which nobody cares about and I can never think of questions to ask at interviews.  There's nothing I even want to do, so I have to pretend to be enthusiastic about any job I apply for.  I don't know what to do.  The last time I had any career aspirations was when I was 11 or 12 and wanted to be an astronomer.  Ever since I figured out I was no good at math or science, I've never wanted to do anything, career-wise.  People have been asking me what I want to do for years, and I never know what to say.  I simply don't have an answer.  I just want to be financially independent.  I never have been.  My first job was as a dishwasher, at age 23.  I've never been able to pay all my living expenses without my parents' help.


  1. Matt, having read your comments on many blogs I think (emphasis on "think") I know the professions to which you would contribute beautifully.

    You seem to have an lively, detailed love of books and reading, a generous appreciation for writing, and an exacting understanding of arts in general and literary arts in particular. You also seem sensitive to the perspectives of others.

    May I suggest searching for entry-level editing jobs; librarian-related jobs (many of which do not require an MLS and are more lucrative than your temp job); arts administration jobs; and entry-level jobs in publishing.

    Start by engaging the career development office of the college from which you graduated; develop a clear, one-page resume that highlights your skills, if not your experience; research online all the presses (including college presses), publishers, and technical writing venues in your town (you'd be surprised how many exist outside of NYC) and visit their websites to see if they have openings; examine the requirements to work at libraries and see if they have openings.

    Hey, look at this:

    It lists lots of links to jobs in arts administration.

    Email me if you wish to talk about this further (networking is key).

    I wish you blessings because I know how hard it is to find and keep a job.

    While working and looking for a job, continue to write and develop your own craft because I suspect that "what you will be" is irrelevant and that's why you've had trouble answering the question; rather, it is more a matter of what you are: and you're a writer, damnit.

  2. that's great advice from JDJ. and his last line is key.

    i'll also add - it's worked for me TWICE. once you get that one-page resume set, post it online. and, always be HONEST. don't fudge dates or anything.

    also, on that resume, put your education at the bottom. most recent grads put education at the top, but all that says to employers is you don't know anything. always put employment history at the top. they want to know how you are going to either make, or save them, money.

    R.O.I. = Return On Investment. (Investment, that's you.)

    when i started out, i was working in the back office of a cruise agency. it was low-level accounting and extremely easy. BUT, i was moonlighting on it. i sent my resume out to every place in my city that i could find on the web that dealt with THE WRITTEN WORD.

    i got one bite from a small ad agency who needed someone to write a few things for them - real quick. AND BOOM, within a month i had the beginnings of a creative portfolio.

    i got lucky, and it gave me the confidence and go-ahead to keep looking for MORE WRITING JOBS.

    and MONSTER got me the next one. and like JDJ said, they liked me b/c i could EDIT and PROOFREAD like a champ. you know where commas go. you know how to spell. you know how to form intelligent sentences. MOST PEOPLE DON'T.

    Matt, you have a skill that's highly developed. you... just... gotta... sell... yourself.

    (i'm sitting at my desk at my full-time day job at a big city newspaper and i'm on your blog, completely goofin' off, all b/c almost two years ago some crazy angel saw my resume up on

    also, there's more:

    go to them and let them TEST YOU on proofing and editing. seriously. the tests are NOT hard. if you do well, they'll find you a job. it's worked for me, too.

    lemme know if you have any questions.

    i wish you the best of luck,

  3. Thanks for the advice and encouragement Jonathan. Although I've already been doing most of what you mention, it's good to be reminded of options. New York is tough, but at least there's a lot to choose from here. My current job would actually be ok if only it paid maybe $2 an hour more. I make $9.25 as it is.

  4. Thanks Paul. I put my resume together in a career class I took in college, and they said it was very well done. It was hard to fill up a whole page at the time, but I'd never had a job at that point. I posted it on Monster years ago, but there was no response. The career people always told us to put education at the top, but I'll try switching it. The thing that always irked me was that they also said you should have a "career objective" at the top, one sentence that says what field you want to get into. I never added one since there is no field I want to get into. Maybe I'll put my resume up here and see what people think.

  5. Teach English in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, etc.

    I'm in Korea right now. They fly you over. They pay for your apartment. You make a fair wage. If you work for the public school system, as I do, you stand very little chance of being screwed over. You get national healthcare. You get a pension. You get one month's salary bonus for completing a year's contract. You get two weeks paid vacation.

    The demand is incredible. You can be over here within maybe 1 month from date of application. There are even some public schools looking to fill positions ASAP in the middle of the semester.

    Just an idea.

  6. I filed with every temp agency in my city. I worked several jobs that were short lived, 3 months usually. It took me a couple years to get called for a good job and I had worked there before, which helped. Good luck. I understand how effing hard this is. Glad your parents are there for you. I do the same for my son. It's the way things are these days.

  7. we have similar career aspirations/frustrations: i wanted to be an astronomer too but am horrific at science/math. the astronaut's life appealed to me too, but i'm basically blind so that wasn't going to work either. as for jobs to pay the bills until the creative writing pays...oof. entry-level publishing & arts admin jobs are better than most, but it's still gopher work, and you're still sitting in an office all day, which usually makes me want to slit my wrists by noon. good luck and godspeed to both of us.