Finally a Writer!

Finally a Writer!

Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs personality test? It’s amazing. Once you figure out your type, you can read so much about yourself. It’ll tell you what things you probably enjoy, what things you probably shy away from, and which careers you would enjoy the most. If you’ve never taken it, there’s a really great free one here.

I scored ENFP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Bascially, it means that I have a bubbly personality and an interested in pretty much everything, and my creatively-inclined brain tends to jump all over the place, all the time. “Can’t I be an archaeologist and a religion teacher who owns her own pastry shop and writes music?” It’s no wonder that many ENFP’s are frequently miss-diagnosed with ADHD. Our brains never sit still- they’re always on overdrive. And we hate boring, repetitive, routine tasks- which is probably why my house is a mess.

Since graduating college (6 years ago), I’ve been trying to get into a position that uses my brain and my talents, and doesn’t involve a constant war against my mind’s passion for exploration. It’s been a difficult, lonely road, and I’ve often felt like there was nothing out there for me. Until now.

After years of soul-sucking secretarial work, I’m going to be a professional writer! I’ll be working in the city as a Marketing Content Specialist, collaborating with a team to create conversion-focused content to websites, blogs and emails. I’ll get to use my brain. I’ll get to be creative. I’ll get to write. And I’ll have a chance to be me again. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus. Amen.

And I start next week, which means I’m spending this week working on that adoption paperwork. Physical was had this morning. Fire inspection tomorrow. Is there a patron saint of adoptions? I’m going to need all the help I can get!

Also, has anyone else here been through a lengthy career search, or took the long way to finding their heart’s desire? I’d love to hear your stories.

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Paul, meet Connie. Connie, meet Paul.

Paul, meet Connie. Connie, meet Paul.

So, I recently started talking to St. Paul.

In case you’re not familiar to praying to saints, this is where God grants his buddy Paul a special grace to be able to hear me, and I ask Paul to put in a word for me to the big man. Much like asking a friend on earth to pray for you, I’ve asked Paul of Tarsus to give our friend JC a little nudge to “wake him up”, if you will. After all, Jesus was known to fall asleep at inconvenient times. (Mark 4:38, anyone?)

Well, St. Paul woke him up.

On the 3rd day of our St. Paul novena, I got to speak with the Creative Director at the ad agency I work for. I told him I want to write, and he wants to help me! He said he would start throwing me some things to play with, and, “You never know,” he said. “I’ve met people who started at the front desk like you and ended up as Creative Director eventually.”

God bless that man.

On day 6 there was another mention from the Creative Director about hoping to hook me up with some writing in the near future, and an apology that he’s been overly busy lately. Clearly, it is on his mind.

Now I’m waiting. Still praying, still hoping, still waiting. But there is hope, and that is a wonderful thing.

Honestly, I don’t even know if a writing position at this company is the answer. Maybe this nod from the creative director is just meant to give me a little encouragement as I continue to seek meaningful work as a writer. The path is still foggy up ahead. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep praying that the fog clears soon.

To keep the hope going, I’m looking for prayer stories. When has God given you a clear answer to your prayer? How did you hear his voice? Where did it lead? Do you have a favorite go-to prayer when you really need guidance?

Which Way to Adoption?

Which Way to Adoption?

Recently, our hearts have been moved toward becoming parents. We seem to have decided on a home study agency, but still need to find an out-of-state placement agency. Still, we haven’t done any paperwork. Why?

Money. Career. Where-the-heck-is-my-life-headed. You know, that stuff.

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You see, as much as I LOVE our life at home, I still haven’t found a satisfying occupation, let alone career. And we can’t yet afford for me to be a stay-at-home-mom (thanks, Maryland economy). I’m not sure if I’d rather find a great job or be able to quit, but I know that I do not want to have a baby when I’m working full-time at a stressful job that I don’t enjoy. That would be a nightmare that I would prefer to avoid.

So, what do I do? Let’s look at the options:

1. Start adoption paperwork now. Pray I find a new job. And if I don’t, hope that we can afford the unpaid maternity leave. And hope that we don’t enter the realm of nightmares (see above).

2. Wait 3 to 5 years more before starting the paperwork, by such time we would hopefully be able to live on my husband’s income alone, or that plus something part-time for me. Downside: waiting, even more. And who knows if 3 to 5 years is enough. The DC area is expensive. It could be more like 5-10! And what if we’re not supposed to wait anymore? What if the one that is meant for us is coming sooner than we think?

3. Find the new job ASAP, one that uses my talents and (hopefully) has resources for adoptive maternity leave. Start the adoption paperwork after I get settled in that. Maybe have to struggle a bit with the full-time work in the beginning, but hopefully transition to something part-time in two or three years. Downside to this is getting a new job and making sure I like it. And given my track record, finding a new job takes a long, long time.

And as much as number 3 sounds the most logical, and number 1 the most insane, I’ve often seen that things fall together in a pinch when God’s involved with something. What do you think? Am I letting fear hold me back? Or should I focus on finding a career (as unlikely as that could be)?

After promptings from a number of people we know, we started praying a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of St. Jude for my job situation. I know that something will come of this (it never fails), but I do not know what, yet. It is guaranteed to be answered on or before the 8th day, which is Sunday. I will publish a thank you after that date. June also happens to be the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart, so this is rather fitting.

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I know I’m asking the world in this post, but, basically, what is my vocation and how do I find it?

What’s My Writing Platform?

Recently I decided that I have to be a writer. If I don’t write, I’ll never be happy with myself. My day job is completely unsatisfying from a personal standpoint, and I really want to be doing something creative. I’m trying to get to the point where I can feel comfortable calling myself a writer. I’m doing this the only way I know how: practicing my writing and reading books on the subject.

In Sage Cohen’s book, The Productive Writer, chapter 2 is all about finding and defining your platform. What does she mean by that?

Well, to be honest, I’m not 100% sure. What the heck is a platform? It seems like she means you need to decide what topic you want to be known for. Are you a how-to girl, an expert in culinary history, a poet or a political analyst? What do you want to say to the world?

What do I want to say to the world? I have a lot of interests, but I have no idea what exactly I would want to write about. I have a degree in history and I love art. Could that be the makings of my platform? I wrote my graduation thesis on Italian immigrants and the Catholic Church in the early part of the 20th century. Could that be my platform? What about all the other things I want to write, like the novel I keep thinking about? How do I know when I’ve found the right platform?

In a way, this blog started as an exercise to discover my writing niche. Maybe I could look through my posts and figure out what topics I write about the most.

Maybe there is no clear answer. Maybe I just need to keep writing about whatever I want, and see where it leads me. Sounds like a plan!

Was College Even Worth It?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that people should be highly educated. Yet after graduating magna cum laude, I’m still unemployed 14 months after graduation. Meanwhile, I’m scraping together what I can from freelancing to keep up with ridiculously high student loan payments. Really they wouldn’t be bad at all if I had a job. But… where’s the job?

As it turns out, I’m not alone. The New York Times did a piece today about someone who graduated in 2008 and is still unemployed. But that lucky s-o-b was actually offered a $40,000/year job and turned it down because it wasn’t enough money. I would do almost anything to be making $40,000/year right now. At least it would cover the loans and allow me to start putting some money away so I can have my own life someday.

All through college, my dad and others told me not to worry about taking out student loans, after all, they end up being small payments that are easily taken care of once you graduate and get a job. “Your brother said his student loans were easy,” said my dad, a few years ago when I was still in college. My brother graduated in 2002 and got a job right away for ADP with the help of a relative who worked there. (Fast-forward to 2010 and ADP is one of the millions of companies cutting jobs. Luckily my brother switched companies at some point along the way.)

I enjoyed every minute of my history classes, art history projects, educational trips to Europe, and late-night trips to get ice cream with the girls. College was a blast. But why did I bother to get A’s when, obviously, nobody cares? Nobody cares that I can write 30 page papers based on original research. Nobody cares that I can speak Italian and Spanish. Nobody cares that I learn extremely quickly and enjoy every minute of it. Nobody cares because nobody has any money to hire me.

I know this sounds very depressing, and really I apologize if I made any of you depressed. I just want to make a point. Something has to be done. People my age have a lot of energy and potential, and they just want someone to give them a chance so they can start building a life of their own. Unfortunately, we’re stuck competing against 30,40, and 50-somethings who were laid-off mid-career. And employers will ALWAYS pick the ones with more experience.

I’ve considered going to grad school, like some of my other friends, hoping that an advanced degree may give me a leg up getting the positions I want. The problem is I’m scared to death that when I get out of grad school, I’ll have the same problem, only 100 times worse: even MORE debt and still no job, at which point I will be forced to take a minimum wage job in retail in order to make the payements.

(Now I’m wondering why I spent so much time studying. I could have taken a break and gotten B’s and C’s, since nobody in “the real world” cares that I did well in school.)