Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWri-What?

I am planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this month. That's National Novel Writing Month, for those pitiful creatures like myself who had no effing idea what it was until I saw it advertised in an email from somebody... maybe STC?
50,000 words in 30 days. One novel, never previously written. Mine will be called "Ephemeral," and I've been thinking about the concept since January of this year. I am really excited about it, and I've told everyone I know (ok, everyone I know on Facebook and my Woodstream family) that I am doing it.
That said, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have something to complain about/fear. I'll just list them:
  • Other writers have been doing nanowrimo successfully for years. I am not a real writer because I didn't know about it, and I haven't done it. I suck.
  • The whole concept of Mary Sue seems flawed to me. I can't write a story in which I like my character, my character is special in some way, and my character has a tragic past? Good grief, I think that cuts out 95% of all fiction. 100% of fiction I like. Does suspecting I might have a couple of Mary Sues mean that I suck? Especially if I think they should be able to live on, despite their extraordinary-ness?
  • These people seem to have a lot of time to write--and to blather on on forums. Are they all unemployed? Or do I just suck because I can't write 50,000 words, work a full time job, do a couple of side jobs, AND blog about it continuously?
  • I have a deep suspicion that most of my co-writers are under the age of 20.
  • I have a correspondingly deep suspicion that I suck AND I'm old.
I'll be back to report my success or failure at the end of November. Possibly January.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Odd Jobs

"The odds are good, but the goods are odd."

This is a comment you hear about finding a man in Alaska, and I've decided that a similar corollary applies to job-hunting in a recession for a smart, experienced, talented person.

Either the network engineer or I have been job-hunting now, off and on, for a year. I have had maybe a dozen interviews--over the phone and in person--and the network engineer has had perhaps twice that. This isn't very different from the number of interviews we would have had during the boom years; what is different is the character of the jobs.

Speaking of my own experience, I have been offered decent jobs for indecent wages; horrifying jobs for laughable wages; weird jobs for questionable pay; and bad jobs for practically no pay. There have been a few notable exceptions, and I'm happy to have the work from these fabulous people, but what is it about this economy that makes businesses think they can lie to, abuse, bait and switch, indenture, and bore their employees?

Here's what I think it is: Businesses with few positive qualities (other than being still in business--and I'm not denying the allure of that) have usually been scraping the bottom of the barrel for talent. Or getting talent while it's young and naive. Or taking advantage of talent too heads down to realize it's being taken advantage of.

In this market, talented, savvy, usually fully-employed people are out of jobs. Bad businesses have never been able to get their mitts on these people before, but now they can. Are the businesses lying? Yes. Are they abusive? Yes. Do they offer one job, but actually employ their victims for another, much less desirable job? Absolutely.

But is this different than before? Not for the bad businesses. They were always like this--it's just that the good employees had somewhere else to be.