Monday, October 10, 2005

Filling Out the Application - If I Can't Write a Bestseller, at least I Can Sell Them

I don't know what was more humbling, asking for a job application at my first bookstore, or filling the damned thing out. For the five years I was employed by Barnes & Noble, I spent much of my downtime at the customer service desk looking through and laughing at the applications we would receive hourly. Filling one out today for Waldenbooks, I felt nervous about each my answers - even my name.

The job is anything but a long-shot. Three of my former co-workers still work there. The new manager loved my brother when he worked there, after I left, six years ago. I have a college degree now. I don't want to rely on my past history with that store or the business even. I'd like to believe my skills speak for themselves. The defensive voice in my head, though, takes the imaginary interview into a suicidal depression.

On the application, I had to explain why I've spent the last two months unemployed. "Sought only writing-career opportunities" is only the obvious justification. I didn't want to get back into retail. I didn't want to work with food. I wanted to work with my writing degree, my fingers, and a keyboard; not customers. Why am I still unemployed, because I have no experience. All I know is retail. All I know the book industry. But, I think I can write. Shouldn't that be enough?

Nope. So, I finished the application. I hope that small staff of familiar faces will remember mine and think better of laughing at it. I hope they see my college experience as a good thing for the business and not a pathetic sight on a part-time, bookseller application.

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