Sunday, July 18, 2010
So what am I talking about?
I had to go through a pile of mostly COMPLETELY incompatible MUCK this week for the first time in two years. You see, in my DAY JOB, I am the supervisor... Now y'all don't need to laugh that somebody put me in charge... I get the irony. But the STORY of it THAT MATTERS, is I FELT for a moment like an agent wading through slush.
Michigan has been in the bottom three economies in the US for going on 10 years now. It has NEVER ranked better than 48 (pretty bad, when you consider they measure these things every month... that is 120 TIMES we've been in the bottom 3). It's bad—lotta people unemployed. But on top of that, 2 years ago, at UM, my employer, a hiring freeze went into effect. NO NEW JOBS. NONE. NADA. ZILCH. ZIPPO. That means the ONLY HIRING DONE is to replace people who leave (100% grant funded positions aside, but don't even get me STARTED on how much harder it has gotten to get grant money—since about 2002 in fact, because the Bush Administration didn't believe in science, and Obama came into this financial MESS). So for my measly Admin/Research position, in a week of posting, there were 81 applicants.
Guess who got to weed them?
If you guessed me, you wouldn't be too far off. Pretty much I had to go through ALL, and I put them in three piles: “Good God, no.” “Possibly, if I've interpreted what my boss wants wrong.” and “Now we're getting somewhere.”
Then I take piles 2 and 3 to my boss so SHE can determine whether she agrees with me or not, and we decide who to interview. (she liked 7 of my 12 yes ones and 1 of my 20 maybes: not too bad for agreement) Might be worth it to note SOME of my Yes's she didn't like had to do with things like odd font changes—you see, the person will be sending correspondence in her name, and so she wants them to have good aesthetic judgment. The reason I am telling YOU, is you never know when somebody might get picky on you for ODD stuff. It ALL needs to be right, so the only thing they have to evaluate on is YOUR WORK.
But the point of this POST (yes, there is a point)... strike that... there are TWO points...
1) I felt like an agent weeding through a slushpile... SO MANY PEOPLE either didn't read what we were looking for, or were just desperately grasping at straws when we were NOT THE JOB FOR THEM.
Among these were people who couldn't even be bothered to personalize the darned letter—this REALLY stuck out to me. How bad could they possibly want the job if they couldn't change the sentence from 'a position in human resources' to 'a position as an administrative assistant'. For Pete's sake! At LEAST individualize it to the right freaking JOB LISTING!
This is TOTALLY something I can see causing an auto reject in an agent pile... Querying for genres they don't pub, calling them the wrong name... saying 'to whom it may concern'. If you are serious, you have to be a professional, which means bothering to do a little darned homework! Find out who you are sending the Query to!
2) The other thing I noticed is I have become a rather bitchy person where letter writing skills are concerned. If someone wasn't professional? NO. If someone had poor grammar? NO. And no small number of people were moved UP a pile (no to maybe or maybe to yes) strictly for their ability to communicate well in letter form. I've become a prose junky. So it is worth it to spend the time on writing the query WELL. And it is REALLY REALLY worth it to spend the time making sure you haven't made a BONEHEAD of yourself by thoughtlessly firing off impersonal sludge. Know your audience, personalize and then POLISH.
BONUS CONTENT! Getting to Know you *shifty*
This is going around, but I copied it from Rosie, one of my new friends via the Burrowers, Books & Balderdash where there is a new IMAGE up today if you want to participate in the Drabble contest (I think it is one of Rayna's photographs, which are ALWAYS cool, though I am writing before it is posted, so if I am wrong, don't sue me...).
Anyway... More about ME! *cough*These are the questions...
1.What is YOUR definition of sexy?
2.Would you rather clean up puke or change a poopy diaper?
3. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
4. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses for a year..which one would you give up?
5. Cake or Pie?
6. If you could play any character on TV (old or current) who would you play?
7. My favorite website is.....?
8. The highlight of my day is....?
2) Poopy diaper. I'm not a huge fan of poop, but everybody poops, even when healthy. Puke is a sign of illness, and so adds fright (and a smell that turns my stomach, instead of just one that is unpleasant) to the task at hand. And a poopy diaper is CONTAINED... (usually, there was an exploding diaper or two when my kids were small) Puke is almost always somewhere it shouldn't BE. *ponders why firefox doesn't like the word poopy*
3) Introvert. I really LIKE people, but I am not particularly SKILLED with them in a real world setting. And I need a TON of down time. I like being alone.(well... with my characters, I mean) I guess the deciding factor comes with the question, if you had to ALWAYS be with people (no alone time) or NEVER be with people, which which you choose. Yeah... I'm a never. (though the middle ground is preferable)
4) Probably taste. Much of it can be made up for with smell, and maybe if I couldn't taste much, I'd be less tempted to overdo it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE tasty stuff, but it is where my biggest control problem lies, so giving it up for a year might be good for me.
6) Sidney Bristow. Oh, sure... lots of parental drama, but she kicked butt, was gorgeous, got to do REALLY cool stuff, and married Michael Vaughn in the end... I could be Sidney.
7) Probably Blogger, possibly Facebook... used to be HPANA... where my friends are, basically.
8) WRITING TIME. At about 8:30 each day, I GET NAKED, run a bath, fix a drink, do a Sudoku, and then I WRITE. LOVE that time.
So there we have it. Now you know me! Well not Biblically... but pretty well anyway...
AND THIS JUST IN: July 18 is National Ice Cream Day. Eat some. And that's an order!