Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Retail Life after an MFA !

Have I just lost the ability to quote something from the internet?  I spent a total of eleven years on post secondary education and I'm debating in my mind if I should do those handy dandy...parenthesis...that's what they are.  Well then, let's just go:

"I'm fucked."

How simple a few words describe my situation when I spent a long time learning and writing words in a way to infuse complexities with each syllable (oh poet jargon).  Those words are from the blog http://www.selloutyoursoul.com/ which chronicles James, the authors, life after he decided not to pursue a PhD degree in Humanities -- his time doing landscaping, his inability to find any other real world job since deciphering the Cantos is not a viable job skill, his luck in finding a job and his happiness.

I am so far away from happiness, but at least I'm not treading the lines of Desolation Row (oh "allusion", yet another useless job skill, but great party skill).

It's not like people are leaving me in the dust.  Mentors tried to warn me.  A friend tried to vouch for me for an adjunct position at a college two hours away, another friend tried to hire me as a creative writing instructor for school kids at the beginning of summer.  All admirable work.  All work that I should do. But me, being the idiot that I am, didn't take those jobs.  The first because of lack of reliable transportation, the latter because I wanted to focus on my collection.  My collection is done and unpublished, and I have no job. So what have I been doing:

Not sleeping.
Stressing out.
Applying to places...probably horribly.

My initial response in dealing with stress is to smoke.  Unfortunately for me I quit smoking...not really quit, I just don't have the money anymore.  So instead I try to read -- but every time I look at a book two thoughts run through my mind:  1) Reading this book will get you closer into being published and maybe a better life 2) Books like these has gotten you in this situation -- one of stress and sickness -- you will never get published.

(Having an experience even *before* reading a book -- my my Ezra would be so proud -- if I was reading his collected.)

So in order to get some sleep, and not stress out as much, I'm doing what one blog suggested that his readers do -- start their own blog.

So what will this blog be about? A Retail Life After the MFA.

My work experience is a bit different than some MFA graduates (well at least James story).  No, I was never a teaching associate (which have become more and more competitive to get), and no I didn't write a research paper (alas who would want to read a compare and contrast essay about how "The Sublime" and "Satori" are basically the same literary movements that happened two worlds away).  I did write a poetry manuscript...which has a .0001% possibility of even being a semi-finalist in a poetry contest.  And now, I'm  reality just hit me and kept me awake.  I keep thinking to myself what do I have to offer a potential employer.

I have 4 years of retail experience -- 2 of them being an assistant manager.
2 years of event coordination experience.
1 year of administrative assisting experience.
1 and a half years of tutoring experience.

Yet that doesn't mean I will get a retail job...well we'll see.

This blog is not a complaint about going back to retail (well not really -- complaining really gets you nowhere like sleepless nights).  Nor is it a complaint about my own MFA degree (which I mostly don't regret -- spiritually and intellectually enriched -- financially malnourished).  Rather, well, I'd like to find other MA, MFA, PhD people out of academia and working retail to get by.

I'll write my stories (if I find a retail job), and I'll read yours.  Let's cry together when some parent or mentor tells you you wasted your life.  Let's get angry when you see customer after customer and/or (more likely) friend after friend have a better life than you.  And, most importantly, let's not feel like we are not alone in our struggle.  Haha, the ending to this is so hokey that at least 99 out of 100 of MFA fiction writers would tell me to cut it.

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