Saturday, July 16, 2011
BA Quest: An English Major Seeks a Job
You ever heard the one about the English major? He spent four years getting his degree in Unemployment. People also think English majors all become teachers, so does that mean, "Those that can't do, teach," is a joke on English majors as well?
I can understand the animosity. As degrees go, English is ambiguous and archaic. Are English majors humanitarians, all hoping to be the glistening angel in some young person's life? A goal like that is soft. Teaching young children is seen as feminine in the states, a pampering job, a maternal job. Do English majors comb old tomes, digesting tidbits from the long dead? Then they're seen as useless to our fast moving present. What still remains to be read? Maybe English majors are artist yearning to be superstars? If so, they sure chose the wrong profession. Writers are just above fashion designers and right below wrestlers in the grand fame hierarchy.
Unfortunately, I'm an English major. Even worse, I'm one by choice. I have no intention of teaching. I don't read classics all day. My writing won't be on a best-seller list anytime soon. I have no intention of being a superstar, but I will be a writer. Nothing will change that part of me, barring some incident that puts me in a coma. So what is a poor English major to do?
When I was preparing to graduate, my first goal was to get the most boring job I could manage. This is still an option. Nothing makes you want to go home and write like a mind numbing desk job. That's something that doesn't occur to people, a writer can write no matter what their job is. I have answered phones before. Seven hours of answering phones, repeating the same message, and entering data. I have a notepad full of doodles from that job. Nothing motivates you to draw a spaceman like hearing a woman complain about her 13 year old.
Now I have a new plan, forged in the embers of summer weather. It is the sort of plan to be proud of. A plan full of conviction, passion. A plan that shapes the future, based on what matters most. A plan that can be easily canceled the second things don't go my way. Which is something I'm prepared for, I finished an English degree after all.
You see, I love games. Not just video games, but board games, tabletop games, card games, pen and paper games. Since I was young, I've wanted to use my stories for games. In elementary school, I planned my own games out on paper. My friend and I mailed off a game idea to Nintendo, in the 4th grade. They sent a polite rejection. Maybe I would be better off now, if they told me to get lost. Instead I tried to write super hero stories in Jr. High school. In High school, I wrote game reviews for my friend's website.
Everything changed in college. University gave me a chance to take classes that actually related to my craft. With a full schedule of classes about classics and basics, I had no time to dream. School washed me clean of my aspirations. My mind was refocused on literature. I'm thankful, I never want to lose that knowledge. As I took my last classes, I realized that I didn't need to sacrifice what I was about. Literature is about people, and writing becomes what you care about.
So I need a job. Not any job, a job that lets me be myself. My game loving, nerd-centric, dry humored self. Which means some very odd job hunting. Trust me, careerbuilder.com isn't good for writing work. I guess this is the best place to track my progress. I need to change my resume, get myself out there, and go on plenty of interviews. Hopefully everything works out, because I'm ready to give up at the first sign of difficulty.