“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”
Not to take too much away from George Gershwin, summertime is the hardest time of the year for me; even moreso around the Fourth of July. I make my living as a consultant to nonprofits, writing grants, pr, strategic plans, and just any other way they need their story to be told. It’s a good business right up until the weather heats up and everyone goes on vacation. It’s a serious kind of work, and it dries up when people’s minds are less than serious.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to have a regular full-time kind of job. My degree is in Chemical Engineering, a field that depends on an economy that makes stuff. In the USofA today, we’ve shipped that kind of work overseas. It’s been five years since I lost my job as a research engineer, a job that never really got boring because it involved playing in the lab and telling my German colleagues what I had discovered. It’s fun to brag about the eight patents my name is on, two of them as lead inventor, but the truth is that these plus two bucks still won’t get you a latt� at Starbucks.
There isn’t much call for what I’ve been trained to do, so I’ve had to wing it. Applying for jobs means that I have to accentuate some things I’ve done over the years, such as designing and selling Amish made furniture, while downplaying those that aren’t relevant. Often, I have to “dumb down” my resume a bit because the last thing you want to appear is over-qualified. Employers don’t want to hire someone that they think will flee for the next opportunity that is “at their level”, so they avoid people that are too good. Loyalty is automatically discounted, apparently, and not expected in return. What they want is a cog for the machine.
I understand that reasoning, but I still think it’s very shallow. Someone who needs work should be grateful as all Hell to get what they can. However, I realize that’s not the way things work today. As a result, everyone on the hunt for work has to have multiple copies of their resume, each “dumbed down” the just the right level. My lack of a full-time job shows that I’m not very good at this game.
So instead, I’m a consultant. I take work as I can find it, and right now it’s pretty thin. I’m not happy with this, but it’s the way things are. I’d love to have at least a part-time gig that covers some of the bills, and I’m always looking for journalist and other jobs. Naturally, my lack of a degree in those fields is an issue, but I keep hoping to find someone out there who will judge me on my ability. I also never accept “conventional wisdom” nor in any way align myself with the cool kids in the great high school of life, so a lot of good gigs are lost right there. I value reality and honesty far more than even a steady paycheck, so chalk this up to stubbornness on my part.
What I’d love more than anything is to be paid to work on my growing novel, “Authenticity”. There’s a story on this site that was one sketch for a first chapter, but it’s been dropped in favor of something better. I have nearly three chapters and a complete outline, and should have four chapters in a week. I think it is a great story, but it doesn’t pay the bills. What would help the situation is if I could sell stock in this, against future earnings, as if it were the development cost for a new company. If it works for the producers of products, why not for the producers of art? Sadly, this market isn’t developed yet.
If there’s anyone out there who’d like to invest in a novel, I could sell off a decent hunk of future earnings for the ability to eat now. It would be great to spend the summer finishing this up and not have to worry about scouting for work when I know it’s pretty thin anyways. If this intrigues you, send me a note as wabbitoid47 at yahoo.com and I’ll send you what I have so far. Serious inquiries only; not valid in the states of confusion, paranoia, and exploitation.
Meanwhile, the holiday week has ended. Some people are getting back to work, and some of them need my skills. Things could pick up pretty quickly, at least if I’m lucky. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through these last five years, it’s that I have to make luck for myself. That’s what I’m doing this week.
But please let me know if you have something you need!