How creating and building will take you everywhere
Writing a short work of non fiction is nothing to scoff about as I’m sure all of the Invictus writers and contributors know. It takes a well disciplined mentality and a strong sense of determination to finish your story to completion. It is an endeavor that taxes your mind and morals to the limit, you don’t just write the story, you learn something new about yourself as well.
However, if you were to tell anyone other than another writer that you have successfully embarked on this endeavor, the reaction you would received would most likely not equal the amount of work you put in. They can never understand the grueling process it takes to put your thoughts on paper. They can never understand the hours you’ll spend on one paragraph and how often hundreds of words are disposable, and can easily be discarded and forgotten for another group.
While a non-writer will never be able to understand the process or the struggle, they can recognize effort when they see it. Sometimes your own writing can get you something more than a pat on the back or an impressed audience.
Sometimes it can get you a foot in the door for a job and sometimes it can get you something even better. Sometimes it can even get you a start on a career.
Six months ago I was a student fresh out of college, gazing worryingly at the onslaught of student loans that I would have to pay in only a few months time. There were other plans that I wanted to accomplish as well, dreams and aspirations of working overseas and making a name for myself as a young writer with an adventuring spirit and a need to find all the stories hidden away from the world.
As much as dreaming is a pleasant thought and the goal of traveling an exciting possibility, there was no getting around the fact that in order to start the ball rolling on these goals, I would need a little cash to fund my way there. Dreams and happy thoughts only go so far. Sooner or later the cold hard reality of income finds everyone.
I began by applying to every part time job in my hometown. The hours were not a factor nor was the detail of each job. If it payed at least minimum and hired for at least part time, I was a willing candidate waiting to happen.
After few weeks of dead ends, an answer came though in the form of Target and their need for backroom workers for the holiday season. When the day came to go for the interview, the room I sat in was filled with other young adults who had the same ideas and need for cash as I did. I remember being a little nervous at the time. For I knew that there were only a few positions open for employment, seven at most. There were over twenty people in the room. It would only be a few hours and phone call that would end up ruining a lot of people’s day. I could not afford for that to happen. If I delayed any longer, I would never get out of here.
When it came my turn to interview I was asked a checklist series of questions regarding my future goals with the company, my strong traits, how well I work with others and how many days I could work. The final question to come up was an expected one, but one that I was surprised that I had a solid answer to.
“So Kyle, what have you done in the past that you consider noteworthy or advantageous to a job?” asked the interviewer in a voice as monotone and sterile as the bright white room I sat in.
“Well, I was the leader of a student organization, I have some experience writing online and oh, I helped to co author a book.”
The interviewer let out a little snort. I could tell that she was more than a little doubtful, but wanted to see how I could recover from this bold statement.
“That’s funny Mr. Hovanec, but there’s not need to joke or lie about this,” she said.
“I’m not,” I said as I reached down to grab a stack of papers next to me. “I actually have it right here.”
I pulled out the first Invictus volume from underneath the papers and handed it to her.
“Mine is the last story,” I told her as I flipped open the book and handed her the paperback version of humble pie.
She was silent as she quickly skimmed and flipped through the pages. After finishing her skimming, she opened the book and skimmed from the beginning. Her look of smugness had disappeared.
She stood up without saying a word. As she walked towards the door she turned around and told me to “wait a minute”.
A few minutes later, a new woman entered the room, with a grin as wide as a chesire’s as she sat down with a stack of papers and folders with the Target logo.
On the top was a book that was titled ‘Job Orientation’.
“Mr. Hovanec,” she said as she stood up and shook my hand. ‘Welcome to the Target family.”
Brad King once told me that having a resume of academic achievement is a good place to start. Extracurricular activities were also a decent thing to have on a resume, but the amount of people you would impress with a creation of your own would be worth more than any 4.0 GPA.
If you still don’t believe me, if you still seem doubtful that a group of students writing about life changing events couldn’t get you anywhere in life, it should be worth nothing that this blog post I am writing is on board a Boeing 777 en route to South Korea. I am now an official employee of EPIK, a program designed to teach English to students in Korean speaking schools. A program that has thousands of applicants apply every month, but only hire around a thousand every year. A program that when I was interviewed, I mentioned the Invictus Project and linked the recruiter to the website.
Go and build. Go and write. Make something cool. Make something unique. Even if its rough around the edges it is something you created. It shows you’re creative. It shows you can think outside the box and it shows that you’re disciplined.
Who knows what it might lead to. A friendly acknowledgment. A part time job. A new career path on the other side of the world.
Go. Build. Conquer.