Saturday, 8 May 2010

Mixing it up

I have been doing some different things this week and it has been good to break out of my normal routine and shake it up a bit.

First, I joined a yoga studio. I have an unlimited pass for the next nine weeks and my goal is to go 3 times a week.

Second, I went to the symphony again and have decided that I need to go on a regular basis. I absolutely love it. You can get rush tickets for $15 at the door. I'd pay that much to spend the same amount of time at a movie and the symphony is just as entertaining.

Third, I went to an art opening and a fundraiser for a art gallery. So far I am liking the art world. I have friends who are well connected and it helps. They can tell me which shows to go to, which events are good, and they let me tag along with them to get my feet wet. The people are fun and friendly and so far it's been a good time.

Last night at the fundraiser, we got there and almost right away we were invited upstairs into the office for a shot of tequila (this is when being with a well-connected friend comes in doubley handy). We cheersed, shot tequila and then went back down the darkly lit stairwell to the main room. When we got back to our table, my sister leaned over and said "We just did everything our parents tell us not to do...'Hi, nice to meet you. Do I want to go upstairs to a dimly lit private office and drink alcohol with you? Sure, let's go!'"

Good times.

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Reference Letter

I debated on whether or not to post this and decided go for it. I have removed names of people and associations for privacy purposes. I am completely humbled by this letter and so grateful to my instructor for writing such amazing things about me.

Dear Ms. ___

It is my great pleasure to be able to write this letter in support of Ms. KT's application for the position of ______ . K took my English class (Introduction to Fiction and Composition) in the fall of 2009. I have taught hundreds of students at this level, and K stands out as being one of the most exceptional students that I have ever encountered in my ten years of teaching.

It was most certainly K's writing skills as well as her maturity, ability to handle sophisticated subject matter and complex tasks that set her apart from her peers. K wrote essays that were, essentially, superior. In fact, I used one of her essays as a model essay that I still distribute to students as a demonstration of an excellent piece of writing. Moreover, for her final research paper, K wrote one of the most interesting and original pieces I have ever read from a student; she wrote about issues specific to the ____ Community, and this piece of work was one of very few that I have seen that opened up an entire world for me about which I knew very little. With her passion, remarkable ability to organize her thoughts, and her tremendous insight, K's paper was the all-too-rare case of the student teaching the teacher.

In all of my interactions with K, it has been abundantly evident that she is extremely bright, and has a well-honed capacity to handle work in a manner that is efficient, independent and very well organized. She is certainly a very resourceful individual with a great deal of initiative and leadership. Her decision to pursue this position with her professional association is, I believe, a well-informed decision, and I feel absolutely certain that her academic background as well as her life experiences make her a unique and outstanding candidate for this job. I have absolutely no hesitations in providing K with my highest recommendation for this position; I know that she will not only succeed at, but will distinguish herself in all of her chosen pursuits.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

______, M.A.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Job application

I applied for a job last month and I didn't get it. In fact, nobody got it and so the job was re-posted nation-wide. I decided, despite the very kind rejection, that I would apply again. The first time I applied all I submitted was my resume. The second time I decided to write a cover letter and get a reference letter as well.

The first draft of my cover letter was terrible. I copied and pasted it from sample letters and then rewrote it in my own words. It had no flow, sounded nothing like me and was even kind of ridiculous. I had my sister proofread it and she agreed that it wasn't good. Even writing it, I felt sick of reading about myself. It was all the great buzz words and I wasn't buying it even a little. If I were really so "goal oriented" or had "exemplary resourcefulness and initiative" or really "thrived on challenge and change" wouldn't I be somewhere quite different in life.

It isn't that I am not those things - I just can't quite pack the punch that those buzz words are pulling.

I stewed over that damn cover letter and finally put it aside, sat down at my computer and wrote from the heart. I wrote a letter telling them who I am and why I thought that I would be a good fit for the job. An honest, buzz-word-free letter. I will likely get turned down a second time for the job and honestly I won't even mind if I do. But it was a great lesson in being authentic.

As for the reference letter, I had approached my English instructor from last semester to ask if she wouldn't mind writing a reference letter that spoke to my writing skills. She went so much deeper. I am humbled by her words and kindness. I had expected something more formulaic and what she wrote instead is personal, thoughtful and graciously flattering.

I had told her that my goal is to write and last semester, when the course was done, she handed me back my final assignment and said "now go be a writer".