Writers must write, or they will die. Perhaps that’s too dramatic? Nope, it’s true. When a great deal of time passes and I haven’t expressed myself through a well-crafted email or trimmed a few excess words from my current short story, I feel myself weaken. My skills dull, my senses dim, and I’m left feeling empty inside.
Creativity, especially creative writing, accounts for an unhealthy percentage of my self-esteem. Naturally, when I don’t (or fail to) create something that I can share with others, I begin to lose hope in myself and my abilities.
Today, I tried applying for a job. It was a writing job—writing short biographies for a public relations firm. My guess is that the bios will be used in some kind of voter’s pamphlet, if the job’s given timeframe is any indicator. In any event, I had to register for a middleman company named oDesk.com in order to apply. Keep in mind I found this job posting on craigslist.com, which is only a few degrees removed from the Mos Eisley cantina.
Anyway, I didn’t have a lot of time before I had to leave for work, so I figured I would register with oDesk as quickly as possible and be on my way. Misconception number one! As a middleman company (a term I’ve only just made up), oDesk smells a lot like a cross between Monster.com and LinkedIn. To that end, I couldn’t simply register and send off my resume. Of course not! I had to make a profile, add a photo, input my marketable skills, and so on.
What made me angry was finding out that I couldn’t even apply for the job that had led me there in the first place! At least not until I had verified my identity (a three-step process that includes a photo, a government licensed ID or driver’s license, and a copy of a recent bank statement), a process that purportedly takes up to a week. Really? A week? Thanks for the heads up.
So, I never did apply for the job. Even if my identity had been verified instantly (I didn’t bother trying), I still wouldn’t have been able to apply. Why? Because you have to take several tests first. Tests! Yes, I had to take a test on the subject of using the oDesk platform, as well as a US English Competency Test. Unbelievable. How is anyone supposed to apply for the job when you have to jump through more hoops than Michael Jordan? Yes, I know, Jordan never actually jumped through any hoops, but he played basketball, so… uh… yeah. Moving on.
I did take the English test, actually. I took two of them—one for spelling, the other for grammar and composition. Boy, did I ever do poorly on spelling! With a possible score of 5.0, I scored a 3.75. That’s about 75%, or a C. Barely passing. On the second test, I did much better, placing in the top 10% of testers with a score of 4.75. Too bad the results don’t specify what I got wrong because I could have sworn that all my answers were correct. Apparently not.
Meanwhile, the job search continues. In the meantime, I’ve taken a new step toward building my writing and graphic design portfolio. No, I’m not talking about my website, but rather my work schedule. If I hope to find another job, I need to spend more time pursuing work and making myself marketable. That means putting together a real portfolio of printed materials and following up on job applications. My resume is good, but it could be better.
So, I’m going to work four days a week instead of five, down to 32 hours instead of 37. That’s not a lot in terms of hours, but it grants me a whole day free that I didn’t have before.
All in all, where I’m at right now is a frustrating place. I’m getting tired of not having a real career and only occasionally doing fun projects to keep my hope afloat. There’s got to be something better out there. I’m praying, and I’m seeking God’s will. That’s the long and short of it.