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Published September 08, 2012 More Info »
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Published September 08, 2012

BUILDING YOUR CAREER. From engineering to telemarketing.

Here are some useful hints from Clare Tattersal (Metro, 22 August) for students forced by parental Scrooginess into considering a career.

The first step is to FOCUS ON DISCOVERING YOUR INTERESTS, she says.

Can’t figure them out? Baffled because no university is offering a major in Facebook or Twitter?

Then ASK FRIENDS AND FAMILY what they think you should do. Go for law or medicine or engineering, they say, thinking, hey! We might need services in those areas and can sponge off him. Okay, so you drop a bundle enrolling in 1st year Engineering. Three weeks into the fall term you discover that you loathe all sciences. There is only one way out:

GET INVOLVED IN CAMPUS CLUBS. The idea is to build your resume by taking on a leadership position, Ms. Tattersall explains. No prob. You’ve found your niche: you can drink anyone under the table, and you have more tolerance for drugs than a gangsta rapper. That probably means you are ready to

PARTICIPATE IN CAREER DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS. Nope. Wrong. It turns out beer guzzling and doing drugs aren’t marketable skills, at least not in the world of legit business. Well, then, final advice:

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Your uncle has a renovation business, and he is willing to start you on the ground floor or below, meaning wet basements. Three weeks of engineering will get you only so far.

Watching the mould growing on the basement walls, you discover your real vocation: writing. It’s just a matter of expanding the musings you posted over the last couple of years on Facebook and Twitter, right? Wrong. You get 43 rejection letters from agents and publishers, and that’s not counting the 89 who didn’t bother to reply to your query letter. But then you read an article by Elizabeth Ruth (Write, Summer 2012) on how to market your own writing.

You thought a writer’s job was to write. Ms. Ruth informs you that your thinking is stuck way back when people thought self-promotion was crass, declassee, and American (and that’s absolutely the most demeaning thing you can say to a Canadian). Today, she tells you, your job as a writer is to promote yourself.

To begin with, you are well qualified: YOU ARE ALREADY USED TO REJECTION. True. And you have plenty of EXPERIENCE IN SELF-PROMOTION because that’s what you’ve been doing for many years on Facebook and Twitter. Also true. So it’s just a matter of promoting yourself on a larger scale. But what if that leaves you no time to write and you have no worthwhile product to sell? Oh. That’s a problem of course. So, maybe a career in writing isn’t for you.

Then it hits you. You are used to rejection. You have no worthwhile product to sell. TADA! You are a natural TELEMARKETER!

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