Sunday, October 30, 2011

When Your Work and Your Life Collide

After writing that, I realize that I don't really separate my life from my work.  Some might call this a weakness.  I just don't know any other way to go about it.  That's a larger conversation though, and I had something else I wanted to tell you.

So, I'm teaching a resume writing/job search/interviewing class, an extremely useful one credit seminar that prepares students for the "real world."  Back when I went to school, no one ever talked to me about how to market myself as an artist after I had graduated.  Maybe this was a good thing, or perhaps they were simply saving me from a lifetime of heartache.  Anyone who has seen me attempt to draw the dog from "To Build a Fire" during my Jack London lecture probably knows exactly what I'm talking about.  Anyway, part of the class requirement is that the students participate in an "interview date night" (a brilliant learning opportunity created by my friend and hero, Dr. Gernant).  I have rounded up 13 "strangers" from the community to pretend to be hiring for positions they dreamed up.  The students pick three positions, and commence with the job application process as if it were a real job.  They send in resumes and cover letters and on the date night, they practice mock interviews with the three hiring "companies."  Well, my students are pretty stressed out about it.  They're nervous about meeting strangers, nervous about having enough experience, nervous about whether or not they own a tie...

Here's the funny thing.  This week, I will also be participating in my own interviews:  one hour each with the President of the University, the Provost, the Dean, and the hiring committee composed of five people including the Chair of the English department.  Am I a little nervous?  Well, I'd be lying if I said no.

All week, I've been receiving emails from students in the class asking if they should include this in their portfolio or change this in their resume, and I secretly have wanted to write them back and ask their opinion about my own resume and portfolio.  "Do you like this letterhead?  Should I include photographs from when I was in a band and played at the Grand Ole Opry?  Does this tie make me look fat?"  We're in the same boat in so many ways.

I love that these weeks aligned the way they did, though if you don't hear from me Friday night, it's because I'm either celebrating the fact that I did all right or I'm hiding under the bed.  (That's just a joke, folks.  I know that this story is in God's hands.  And I trust His work in my life, whatever happens.)

So, this is just a note to say, Dear CTA 300 students, don't worry, m'dears.  You are going to be great.  You are going to love the people you are about to meet and they are going to love you.  You have so much to offer.  Don't look back.  Don't hold back.  Be strong and do the work.  Enjoy the interview as you would a good conversation with someone who shares similar interests.  Trust God to show you the lesson in the experience.  Be yourself, the person God made you.  When you do this, things seem to flow with ease, with grace.  Don't worry if there's something you don't know yet, some experience you don't have yet--all it takes is asking and being open to learning and change within yourself.  This is a moment like any other--one that God designed for you.  Also, I feel ya.


  1. Prayers to you AND your students this week! ♥

  2. Oh Lisa...praying for you. And, after this week, I'm buying you coffee to celebrate (whether the interviews go well or not, you deserve to celebrate for your courage).