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February 20, 2009

Hire me?

February 20. Day 235.

A few things have been on my mind recently.

Health. In the past weeks there has been a stroke, a delicate eye operation, and two cancer biopsies in my family.

"Take care of yourself," people have been telling me. Older people who know what our joint DNA has in store for us, who wish their words would be enough to snap me out of my complacency. People who don't want me to end up like them.

And they're right. Unless I make some real changes to my lifestyle, I'll end up the same.

And work. As in, will I get a job once I graduate?

I'm not the only one worrying. The most emailed story in the Times for the past three days is about cover letters. There's nothing revolutionary in this story, nothing shocking. But that basic info (do use a cover letter! keep it short! spell check!) is enough to keep people clicking, day after day. I clicked, too. Did you?

Well Friday night, I set both worries aside and headed to the theater. We have a subscription to UCSD's drama school.

The play was Danton's Death, about the French Revolution, and I'll cut to the chase: I walked out.

The play itself is extremely challenging (thematically, and just to execute, with tons of cast members and a three-hour running time typically), and I heard it was sprung on the actors last minute so they didn't have time to really step inside their roles. But it was just so stilted, stunted and slow that I couldn't get into it. Others in the audience seemed to like it, but after 1.5 hours, I gave up.

I cut out early, went to a nearby restaurant and sat at the bar. I started talking to the bartender. He asked me if I was coming from the theater.

"Half. I walked out," I admitted. "But life is too short to spend it on something that's putting me to sleep. I'd rather make a phone call, take a walk, get a drink, read, anything."

"I agree!"

So we talked. Italy (where we both lived for a while), grad school (my day job), commercial real estate (his), and eventually, my job prospects.

He mentioned, before I left, that I shouldn't despair. Small businesses like his will always need others to write their marketing stuff, press releases, and put together creative projects.

"Really?" I asked. "But how will I find those people? They're not on I don't know they exist, they don't know I exist."

"You just need to start getting the word out, now. Start telling people let and right, and something will come up by the time you finish your PhD."

"Well, could I give you my email and we keep in touch? Who knows, maybe you need some writing or editing, or someone you know does?"

"Absolutely. In fact, I may need you in the next months. I really do have some stuff I need written up, and writing is not my thing. What's your availability?"

Gained: Another business contact. A good step. But a baby step. I need to start being much more proactive, and pursue leads much more aggressively, if I want to find work in the near future...
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