Tuesday, June 9, 2015

'Game of Thrones' and dream jobs: Reminiscing on my own personal limits

New York Post
As you probably know from the outrage cloud that has engulfed the internet so far this week, something shocking happened on “Game of Thrones” on Sunday. In the interest of not spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, let’s just say one character killed off another character one who was very, VERY important to that first character. That first character did this in the hopes of one day getting his/her dream job. Now, whether or not this incident will actually allow that first character to get his or her dream job is kind of up in the air, but the potential is there and that was enough for him or her to do that thing.
                That character’s predicament got me thinking, what would I do for my dream job? Would I kill off someone very important to me? Unlikely. I’m too much of a wimp. I can’t even listen to the “It Follows” soundtrack with headphones on without getting all squirrely. The idea of somehow actually offing somebody with my own two mitts … yeah, I just don’t see it happening.
                But what would I do then? I don’t know. I’m not even 100% sure what my dream job is anymore. How can I figure out what lines I’d cross to get it if I don’t even know what it is?
                What I can do is talk about what I did to try to get my last dream job.
It was the summer of 2010. Humanity was in the midst of a FIFA World Cup-driven high and wouldn’t come down until some blonde guy Wiki-leaked government docs all over the place. “Toy Story 3” and “Inception” were ruling at the box office and yours truly had just graduated from college. My hunt for full-time employment hadn’t turned up any leads and even though it was still in its early stages, years of joking with my friends about my bleak post-graduation prospects had left me pessimistic.  
And then I saw it. A posting on my favorite horror movie news site advertising an open morning news writer position. The job paid next to nothing, had no benefits, no defined work space and the hours it called for would leave it next to impossible for me to do it and also find a real job. What it did have was me potentially writing about horror movies. That was perfect. I was sold. I applied. 

I heard back. Now, I don’t remember the exact order all this happened in, but bear with me. The website I applied to was interested in my services and asked that I send them some samples of my work. I cobbled together a few things from my school paper and probably some nonsense blog I was writing at the time (some things never change, eh?). I sent that mess over to the site. I waited.
Again, I heard back. I’d survived another round of cuts. This time there was a questionnaire which needed to be filled out. I told the site about my experiences, my ability and so on and so forth. I submitted and waited.
Yet again, I heard back. I was in the finals! My head swam with the possibilities. Me a professional (kinda sorta) horror writer? Little old me?! And to think, I once referred to my life after college as a “post-collegiate apocalypse.” 
The final test was to do the news writer job for fakesies. I had to act like I got the job, send in multiple stories to the site daily, complete with attribution and pictures and everything, for a whole week. At the end of that week, the site’s editors would review all of the content they’d received and pick a winner.
I did as I was told. My laptop was almost completely dead at that point and could barely maintain an internet connection long enough for me to check my email, let alone research multiple horror movie news stories. I struggled through it. Bitterly. Angrily. Man vs. machine. Somehow, I got it done.
I submitted. I waited. I heard back.
                The site’s editor sent me a very nice email telling me they’d gone a different direction and thanking me for my time. I was destroyed, so much so that I didn’t even write back thanking him for the shot, despite that being the polite, network-building thing to do.
                Everything worked out in the end. After that failure, I went on to frustrate my girlfriend’s father for a few months by serving as a helper in his contracting business. Eventually I found myself in a permanent, but not quite dreamy, job.

                So there it is, that’s what I went through the last time I tried to get my dream job. Is it the same thing as burning alive someone you know and love very much? I mean, it’s not exactly like that, but like I said, my internet connection was pretty shoddy. Let’s just hope that “Game of Thrones” character’s efforts pay off better in the short term than mine did. 

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