Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I need a home run.

At the start of last week, it felt like everything was coming up Jessica. Two new potential contracts, one assignment and one job interview. 

And then, just as suddenly, it just felt like I was striking out. Here's what happened:

The Job Interview

Looking for regular part-time employment has been a challenge. (Next month, I'm going to be trekking in Peru for 10 days. Following that, I'll be in Alberta for five weeks. Based on this alone, securing an appropriate part-time job is a near impossibility.) So when I got invited to attend an interview with a catering company, the flexibility seemed perfect. 

On Wednesday evening, after playing lab rat all day (more on that later) I tarted myself up, jumped in the AutoShare car and drove up to Vaughn during rush hour. Of course, as it turns out, the interview wasn't just in Vaughn--it was in Maple. After nearly driving out of the city, I arrived just on time and walked into a banquet room filled with about a hundred 15-year-old boys filling out paper applications. 

Without a question, I was the oldest applicant in the room. As I patiently waited in line to get an application from a woman conducting interviews, two other teenage girls came in late. "Can we get an application?" they asked, interrupting the interview. "Sorry girls," she told them, directing her comment at me, "because you came in late I don't have any left. Go sit at the back of the room."

I should have left then and there. But I had already paid for the AutoShare rental and I'm not a quitter.

For the next 20 minutes, I sat watching everyone fill out their applications. I noticed that across the room, new employees were being trained. That's when I realized that the job training would also be in Maple--and that it would be financially impossible for me to attend training. So I did something completely against the grain of my personality--without filling out an application or being interviewed, I walked out.  

The Contract

Next up was the potential writing contract for an American hotel review website. After submitting an application, I had a telephone meeting with the company and found out that I was one of two writers being considered. 

I felt pretty solid about my 50 per cent shot of securing the contract. I spent all weekend completing my test review and on Monday, I eagerly refreshed my email every 20 minutes. By Monday night, I had figured out that I didn't get the job. 

Then on Tuesday, I received this email, which I've read about 10 times now:

I'm hung up on that one word: truly. Did the loss of this contract come as the consequence of a misplaced comma or two? (I'll admit that I really don't know how to use commas. I never have. I like them way too much and use them way too often.) Was it because I submitted my review two hours before the deadline, rather than a day before the deadline? Was it because the writing samples I sent through were two years old?

I don't want to know the answers to these questions. At the end of the day, it wasn't even about the money. It was about the experience and the chance to add some work to my portfolio.

The Assignment

With no new part-time job and no hotel reviewing contract, I'm working on an assignment for a publication that has been very good to me over the last four months. I'm really interested in the topic that I've been assigned and it will be a great addition to my portfolio. Only problem? At $0.10 per word, I'm making about $5.00 per hour working on it.

No job. No contract. No money.

So it's a bummer, but it's also time to move on. It's also time to get over my hatred/fear of pitching stories and accept the fact that assigned stories are few and far between.

(And in closing, here is an amazing piece that Nina linked on Facebook about how there is no fucking way Carrie Bradshaw sustained herself on one column. Fact.)

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