Tag Archives: Chimps

6 Stages of the 20-Something Job Search

If you’re like me, you’re facing unemployment. You’ve just finished high school or your fancy-dancy, hideously expensive post-secondary education, and you’re ready to face the real world. Or you’re one of the lucky ones who snagged a summer internship or contract position and your end date is looming. But it won’t be so bad, right? The real world isn’t that scary. I mean, everyone around you is doing it and they’re fine.

I’m terrified.

Stage One: The Pre-Search Feel-Goodies

Your resume is sparkling and you’ve honed your cover letter writing skills. You attended a few workshops and you can wow any employer with your apt responses and buzzwords. Your mom has looked over your application material and she said that she would hire you.

You feel good. Enjoy it. I wish I could tell you this would last longer.

Stage Two: The Application Process Jitters

You’ve started your search. You’re picking and choosing a select few jobs here and there that interest you and that are relevant to your experience and your goals.

Wow! Look at how many there are in this list. Recession? You don’t even remember what that means. You’ll apply to this one and that one and look, there’s another over here. Oh, wait. That one wants 5 years experience. And this one? Who the heck has training in bathing chimps?

Maybe you should take a bit more time perfecting that cover letter for the one job you actually qualify for. It may just be your lifeline.

I guess that doesn't look too hard.

I guess that doesn’t look too hard.

Stage Three: Taking Over the World

It’s been about two weeks. No one has contacted you for a job or an interview or even to tell you that your application was garbage. Out of the 10 jobs you *thought* would be awesome for you, you’ve managed to get none of them.

Time to expand the job search. Weird hours? Okay, fine. Dog walker? At least you don’t need experience. 10-day contract with the option to extend? Well, okay.

Just apply to everything under the sun. When all these people see your fantastic resume, you’ll be prying them off of you with shovels. Then you can pick and choose. Good plan.

Stage Four: The Low

It’s been almost two months since your job search began. You’ve applied to every job that you’ve found, tried that whole networking thing that everyone seems to rave about, but still you’ve yet to secure a job. You may have had a few interviews, but they went terribly and you’re convinced the hiring manager got you confused with someone else (wait, experience bathing chimps? I don’t remember putting that in my resume…)

Ultimately, you’re still unemployed. You’re broke. You’re depressed. Your dad is offering to get you in somewhere because he knows a guy who knows a guy. If you live on your own, this is normally where you move back in with your parents. But free meals, right?

Don’t cry.

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Stage Five: The Perfect Job

By now, you’ve settled into a cycle: wake up, browse for jobs, eat lunch, browse for jobs, have dinner, wallow in self-pity or invite others to join in on your misery train. In fact, you’ve become so good at this, it ought to be a full-time job.

But then there it is. You’ve just made your morning coffee and a new job has been posted. It’s the most perfect thing since all of life began. It’s interesting, there’s good hours, it’s close to home. Best of all, you qualify!

You start hyperventilating. You’ve been waiting for this moment, but what if you’re not ready? What if your resume really is terrible? You call Mom for support. “Just do it,” she says. “The only sure way to fail is to not try… and you’ve been pretty much failing already.”

One final read-through of the application. Click submit.

Stage Six: The Moment of Clarity

On an unassuming Tuesday afternoon, you’ve almost completely forgotten about that perfect job you applied for last week. In fact, it’s pretty much been absorbed by the other positions you applied for, since technically you’re still applying to anything that has the word “job” in the description. But then the phone rings. It snaps you out of your mindless twitter feed scrolling. An unknown number? Who could it be? It better not be a telemarketer. You already told them you don’t need the ducts cleaned.

But it’s them. You’ve gotten an interview. Two days later, you go to it, so nervous and excited that you’re terrified you might pee yourself if they speak to you. By the following week, you get another call. Same number.

Welcome, job. We’ve been expecting you.

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That’s the ideal, right? I’m just not quite there yet :p

The 7 (Agonizing) Stages of Self-Editing Your Fiction

A look at common struggles a writer encounters while perfecting their masterpiece. Or trying to, at least.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a how-to. This blog cannot be responsible for work that gets lost in editing oblivion. For a how-to, run a Google search. Or join a writer’s forum. I like this one.

Stage 1: The Post-Drafting High

You’ve just finished your piece. The characters are realistic and complex. The descriptions are captivating. The twist at the end: no one will see it coming. NO ONE. Congratulations! Good job, you. This is what you live for. Now, go out and get a beer. Hell, get two! Dance. Make some questionable life choices.

Enjoy it now, young grasshopper.

Stage 2: The Pre-Edit Low (aka. What the Hell Have I Done?)

So, you’re ready to work. You’ve recovered from that hang-over and you’ve corrected all those questionable life choices, though there may still be some photo evidence on Instagram. Go check.

In any case, the document’s open, your title page looks spectacular, and you’ve spent the last hour and a half deleting extraneous tabs and trailing paragraphs.

Now: let’s do a quick read-through. Let’s look out for continuity errors, major plots holes, and breaks in character building. Maybe you should consider reworking that second paragraph. And the next chapter. And the whole middle part. Hell, this looks worse than you remember, doesn’t it? Who wrote this? Clearly, you didn’t. Your IQ is higher than a chimp’s, yet it seems like the chimp could poop out a better manuscript while sleep deprived, post-spicy burrito.

What have you done? All that planning (or lack thereof) has gotten you nothing. The voice is off, your main character is annoying, and that plot twist? Predictable.

Well, fine. I guess you’re rewriting the whole damn thing.

Stage 3: The Rewrite

After recovering from the emotional damage of discovering the story you’ve been working on for the past millennium is terrible, it’s time to do a rewrite. This can consist of just specific parts of your manuscript or the entire thing, but it largely consists of crying, outbursts to family and friends, and reconsidering your choice to become a writer (whose idea was that?).

But hey, maybe this isn’t so bad. You could take that stock character and give them an epic side story. And that twist? Tweak it a bit, and BAM! One hundred times more unpredictable than before. This is actually kind of fun. This is the reason you became a writer in the first place: to WRITE! But don’t get too ecstatic. Most of the good stuff comes from editing after all, remember? That’s why you’re here.

Stage 4: The Break.

You’ve worked hard, right? Why not take a break? Go for a run. Go read a newspaper. Go clean out those drawers in your bedroom that have been overflowing since spring (read: since two springs ago).

But who am I kidding? You don’t wanna do any of that. You’d rather obsessively refresh your Facebook feed then binge-watch Game of Thrones on Netflix while drowning your sorrows into a litre of cookie dough ice cream and a bottle of coke.

Now, that’s a break. Am I right?

Stage 5: The Deadly Cycle of Procrastination

It’s been a couple days. Your Game of Thrones marathon quickly led to Catching Up with the Kardashians and then cat videos on YouTube. However, you’re experiencing a revival of determination. Or maybe it’s that gnawing feeling of idleness.

Either way, the line-by-line is next and that’s going to take the longest. But maybe you should do some laundry before you get started. And feed the cat. Oh, don’t forget to call Mom. She misses you. Your whole family misses you. How about a barbeque? The weather is warm and your social interaction has been subpar lately. Maybe an evening with a bottle of wine. That would be nice.

Do you see? It won’t end.

Seriously. Editing. Go.

Stage 6: The Copyedit

This is the most tedious part – however, also the quickest. This is the part where you drive yourself crazy about your grammar and cut down on the wordiness. No passive sentences, you say? And saidisms? You mean, you can’t use he articulated and I phonated? And heaven forbid you make up your own character or location names. Your word processing program is going to love pointing those out.

(Psst. Add them to your dictionary. Save yourself the agony.)

Stage 7: The Post-Edit High

You did it! You’ve survived your self-edit with your fingers intact and perhaps a shard of your sanity. Never fear though, what comes next is quite possibly the thing you’re looking forward to the most: MORE EDITING!

“What?” You ask. “I thought I was done.”

Well, think again. If you’ve got an editor or a trusted beta-reader, they’re going to have some useful thoughts. Besides, let’s be real, this is what you live for. There’s nothing that compares to a nice and polished manuscript that’s ready to take on the world. Well, maybe a published manuscript could compare, but you’re on your way there anyway!

Happy editing!

POST-SCRIPT: No chimps were hurt during this editing cycle. Or force-fed burritos.