Saturday, November 4, 2017

Unfurl Your Writing Banner

Scott D. Parker

Never shrink away from proudly letting the world know you are a writer. Sometimes it might open a door for you.

I started a new job this week and, yet again, it isn’t Full-Time Fiction Writer. Someday. In the meantime, however, I am a…well, it’s a funny thing. You see, the job description used the title “Technical Writer IV” (I love the way that looks; like the fourth movie in a kick-ass movie franchise) but the internal job description uses “IT Content Advisor.” That latter title reads like a high-powered government job or something out of Silicon Valley. Actually, it’s neither. I now work at the main campus of ExxonMobil in Spring, Texas. The project is part of the unified IT initiative where I’m part of a team that consolidates scores of content sources and brings it all under one umbrella. Daunting and challenging, but very interesting. The commute is pretty long—45 minutes in the mornings and 65 in the afternoons; I’ve already adjusted to mental mindset of there’s no quick route—but I started listening to Dan Brown’s ORIGIN so I’m getting by.

What does this have to do with flying that writing banner proudly? It comes down to my resume. When I updated my day-job resume, I debated whether or not to include my writing credentials. By that, I mean my mystery and western novels and stories. I opted for inclusion. In my interview, after all the day-job-type questions were asked, my interviewers asked me about my fiction. It enabled the three of us to have a few moments of informality and ended the interview on a jovial note. I found out this week that the fiction was one of the things that differentiated me above other candidates. My history degrees were also a factor. The clients were looking for something a little different and my liberal arts degree* and creative fiction writing set me apart. Another writer started the same day and she has a behavioral science degree, so we both are not your typical technical writer types.

When I decided to include my fiction, I did so with little regret. My fiction is a part of who I am, and I’m damned proud of the accomplishments. And it helped me get my foot in the door. The pride is just a little bit more now.

So, fellow writers like me who have a day job, I recommend you always put your fiction on your resumes if you don’t already do so. In fact, that’s my question for the week. Do y’all include y’all’s fiction on your day-job resumes?

*The Art of Manliness podcast—one of my favorites; the main website is awesome, too—had an excellent episode entitled “The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education.” Host Brett McKay interviews author George Anders, author of You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education. In the episode, they discuss how creative people often possess skills that can be used in various fields and businesses. I had to smile because it came true for me.

1 comment:

Art Taylor said...

Good points here, Scott. My wife and I both include our fiction on our resume, and she just recently started a new job herself. In the interview (back in the spring), one of the interviewers said she'd checked out some of Tara's stories--which can be dark!--and Tara steeled herself for what was coming next.... But you're right, it did make things personal, moments of connection (in a good way!), and obviously she got the job, so.... Hope your new one goes well!