my dad has some career advice for you

I mean, technically speaking, it was meant for me, but I’m going to share, because I’m plagued with thoughts of career doom. And it seems to be a theme that I write about a decent amount.

A man of refined literary tastes

Talk to more people.

Me: I’m exhausted. I’m over it. I will not find a job.
My Dad: Just keep talking to people. Opportunities will spring up.
Me: I have talked to 35 people already. Nothing has sprung.
My Dad: Blair, do you know how many people I talked to after grad school? Sixty. Five. Keep talking.

It is exhausting, but he’s right. And by “talk to people,” he doesn’t just mean informational interviews (but do those! if you feel like it) but also just…talking. To people. Knowing people helps you do things, even if they aren’t going to give you a job necessarily.

Write thank you notes

“Call them up, ask for advice, and then write them a note to say thanks.

I do this, always, and I don’t care if it makes me look like a dork. And then when I went to visit an advisor/mentor of mine, she had my dorky note tacked to her corkboard. See?

Hustle, hustle, hustle

“[Local band] get good gigs because they are constantly out there promoting.”

Another reason to get business cards! And to tell people insistently that you are a writer (knock that “aspiring” nonsense off, right now. You string words together, you’re a writer). Also: give your cards to your dad and he will give them to his friends and your net practically works itself.

He gave me life, and I gave him a cake with sperm drawn on it (apologies to B. Collins)

You do not have to know what you are doing.

Me: You were a janitor?
My Dad: Yeah, the summer after junior year. But I was also doing…communications, or something. Mainly I remember emptying trashcans and watching TV.

Crappy jobs happen, see? And you can still end up running a graduate school at an Ivy League University!

Liberal arts, forever and always

“No one cares what you majored in. Can you read and write well? Good. You’re set.”

Lest you wonder where my Medieval Studies degree came from, I am going to put the blame entirely on my dad. Not only did he encourage me to follow my heart, he also bankrolled the entire thing so that I can graduate debt-free. What a jerk!

Ars longa, vita brevis

“If I were you, I’d just take the summer off, take a few Vanagon trips, write, do whatever. Just tell them ‘see you in September.'”

Because, actually, I am but 22 years of age, which is young enough to be stupid and old enough to recognize that since being stupid seems inevitable, I should just cave, embrace it, and take a road trip to Kansas City*.

The resemblance between us is clear

Don’t take yourself, or anything, too seriously

My Dad: [fart sound effect from iPhone]
My Mom: Da-vid. Please.

This one speaks for itself.

*To eat barbecue, duh. Why is that even a question?

4 thoughts on “my dad has some career advice for you

  1. -J.

    “No one cares what you majored in. Can you read and write well? Good. You’re set.”

    This one. It’s not just reading and writing. There are a number skills you* bring to the table that employers will want, that came with a liberal arts education. Skills that employers would salivate over, assuming they don’t fixate upon major.

    I say this as someone who has two liberal arts degrees, in theatre and theatre (with a smidgen of popular culture), but has worked in corporate HR for 5+ years. There was a fair bit of luck getting a full-time job, which brings it all back to “Talk to more people” and “hustle.”

    *this is a generic “you”, since I’m referring to You, The Graduate, as opposed to You, Who I Know So Well (since I don’t).

    1. blair Post author

      Awesome. I (the Graduate) am pleased to hear this. Two liberal arts degrees is twice the critical thinking skills, right?

  2. Pingback: A Guide to Getting A Job in Publishing for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed » Blair Thornburgh

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