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Getting a Job

I don't recall what got me thinking this morning about jobs that I sought for which I was underqualified. Not having a necessary skill or two or sufficient work experience didn't stop me from trying. You never know was my motto back then. Someone may be willing to give me a chance. After all, back then, the first few weeks or months on a job was as a probationary employee. 

In the late 1970s, I applied for a secretarial position for which I had the work experience and all the skills but one. Shorthand. I thought I could get by with my ability to take notes quickly, along with having a strong memory. Cocky young me. I had no idea I needed to take a shorthand test. Did I give up and walk away? Of course not. I'd driven all that way to apply for the job. If anything I would experience what a shorthand test entailed, and that's what I got.

About five years later, after having earned a teaching credential in secondary education and a few years working with at-risk youth in a community based agency, I applied for an assistant editor job at a small educational publishing house that specialized in special education materials for teens. I didn't have the public school teaching experience they wanted, nor did I have a lot of publishing experience. The position was my dream job, so I figured I didn't have anything to lose.

The publisher called me for an interview. Hurrah! I'm at least in the door.

The company was about a 45 minute drive to the south and east of San Francisco, where I lived at the time. I talked with the supervising editor, then the managing editor. It's always a good sign when the interviewer wants you to speak to her supervisor.

I went home with a writing test to send back. I had to create a lesson on How to Make Jello, including page layouts. The lesson was aimed at teenagers, but it needed to be written at a third grade readability level. I got my teaching credential with the objective to either go into counseling or curriculum development once I had classroom teaching under my belt. While working on this lesson, I knew that curriculum development and book publishing was what I wanted to do.

I didn't get the job. Disappointed, yes. But I had a strong feeling that I was on my way to something.

About a month later, still jobless, I was lugging my laundry up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment. As I got to my door, I heard the phone ring. Usually I let the answering machine get it but not this time. Out of breath, I answered the phone. It was the supervising editor from the publishing house. Another assistant editor position has opened up, she told me. Would I be interested in the job?

And, so began my career as a writer and editor. Life has been good to me.


  1. I talked my way into quite a few jobs that way too, when I was younger. :) I wonder if it's even possible now?

    1. I'd say yeah. Sometimes I think it would be fun to just go through the job search process. But that lasts only a few seconds.

  2. What a Great Share! Thank you.

  3. Lovely story. When I was that age, I did not have the courage to go after things like that. I used to be so very timid. It's amazing what one grows out of.

    1. So true.--about growing out of things. The key is letting ourselves do so, I think. I'm basically an introvert. Back then, quite shy at social events. (I still do have my anxiety moments,) Thankfully, I wasn't when it came to other things such as going for jobs, researching stuff, and signing up for the unknown.


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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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