Due to technical difficulties (and by that I mean my old man knowledge of interwebbing) I wasn’t able to send a notification of my last post via Facebook and Linkedin. Normally, I’d just write it off as a “d’oh!” but it’s something I really want to put out there for more eyes to read. It’s an account of what I believe was a “micro-crisis” I had with this whole wanting to be a freelance writer thing. If I were to summarize it in a GIPHY, it’d be something like this:
Ever since I’ve decided to go freelance, I’ve been stricken with fear wondering whether I’m doing the right thing, doing it at the right time, or going at it with the right intentions. The reptilian brain in me is saying no no no no
. . . and about 5 years ago, the highly un-confident, stricken with doubt me would have wholeheartedly agreed, dropped this precarious gamble and stuck to a stable but hum-drum life. Now, I’m only slightly un-confident, burdened with skepticism, and trying to rationalize what could well be a significantly life-changing move on my part. I just recently went through another significantly live changing event which I can sum up with this expression . . .
Cool. What do I do now? Hope I don’t ask the same question in about 3 months or so.
After I retired, or rather, towards the last days of my impending retirement, I intended on trying to get into an internship because I thought that would be a decent way of easing myself into the civilian workforce. However, I went about it in the most buckshot fashion I could think of. I applied to…
They were all jobs that fit with what I thought I wanted to do, to work in Public Radio (NPR, APM and their local affiliates) and network TV. (less on the reality shows and more on the newsroom) . I should have stopped there, but instead I went full death blossom. (for all of you that don’t know what I mean by “death blossom…)
Because I really wanted to embrace my past narrative of “supporting educational institutions who educate and inform our communities,” as an administrative assistant, which basically code for secretary!
NOTE #2: Again, I do not mean to disparage or demean this line of work. Admin is more than filing papers, taking phone calls, making coffee and picking up the boss’ dry cleaning, as is stereotyped in movies and television. Again, it’s not my cup of tea ok?
However, after I had done so much grunt work on the job search front that I discovered a flaw in my approach. But first some context.
I attended what was called the Senior Executive Workforce Transition Workshop, a 3 day course that helped prepare high-ranking, executive level personnel to continue their career outside of the military, or at least that how it was advertised. There, I thought I learned innovate ways of finding, applying, and securing jobs, or at least I seemed like it to someone who hasn’t had to find, apply and interview for a job in 20+ years. I was really entranced by how this workshop touted this “under-utilized” website that guides you step-by-step on how to write great cover letters and resumes. And sure enough, I paid the subscription fee, used it to churn out a “variety” of cover letters and resumes and sent them to all the organizations I just mentioned.
Out of the 20 cover letters and resumes I sent, I got 3 calls for a phone interview. Out of those 3 interviews, I got one offer, from my last preferred employer, the SCIF. Was I really that desperate (yes, desperate) enough to take the job? If I did, I’d be working there now and probably be blogging about how this is too much like my old job, except without the uniform, the breakneck ops tempo and the looooong hours.
Then I saw an eye-opening, Linkedin endorsed video of a recruitment coach by the name of J.T. O’Donnell who had newer and better career searching concepts in Work It Daily. It was there that I found out . . .
My shotgun method of “applying” for jobs sucked
My methods of writing cover letters and resumes sucked
Basically, I thought I was clever by cutting and pasting the website‘s canned statements to write my professional summary, work experience, and additional information. I thought that was what tailoring meant and I could do that for any job. I thought wrong.
So, here I am now blogging about how I screwed up my whole job finding process and didn’t course correct until it was too late.
But was it too late? Technically it isn’t. I can still resume my job hunt using the lessons I learned from Work It Daily. But it was around the time I got the rejection from CAP Radio (for a Marketing internship no less) and the SCIF job offer I turned down that I went into introspection mode, questioning whether I wanted to go back to the 9 to 5 again. My rational brain scoffed and said. “What are you crazy? Yeah! It’s a stable job with a stable paycheck that can greatly supplement your current pension. Why wouldn’t you go back to tried and true?” Then I remembered Ms. O’Donnell’s tips on choosing the right career…
She basically asked, “What type of a role is work going to play in your life story?” Did I want it to play a supporting role, the lead role, or the whole movie? (start the video at 1:03 if you want to know what I’m talking about) I thought about it, and I categorized all my past and possible future roles like this:
Brewery Tour Guide
Then it hit me. The voice in my head that that sang my love for stories and writing never stopped. The volume’s been turned down for quite a while, but it was always in the background whispering…hypnotizing…enticing…
Or maybe that’s just delusion guiding me to ruin. Whatever the case, I was convinced to pursue my calling as a writer. And to complicate things even more, I’ve decided to become a freelancer writer!
Time will tell if this is another phase, (because this isn’t the first time this happened, a story to be told at a later time) but I really don’t want it to be. I’m aware of the uncertainty and risks associated with this calling, or at least I think I am. I suppose all I can do is stay frosty and continue along this path, and rebrand myself as the eponymous Sugar Freelancer!!
P.S. It is not lost on me that freelancing also requires skills in public relations, marketing and sales, all of which involve customer service, as well as organization communication and *sigh* customer relations, all of which involve administrative work.