In the job-search shuffle, you sometimes make friends.
That’s how it got started with Blair and me. We both worked in newspapers, at the same rag, in fact (although different time periods – separate eras, really), and work both in online content now. She’s super smart, talented and versatile.
What makes her such a great content lead is that she’s also a writer.
She’s still learning and growing, with interest in law. As if writing isn’t enough! But she has that skillset. She’s creative and technical, which isn’t easy. I’m creative because I suck at technical. To be both? That’s like being able to construct the perfect paper airplane …
We’re almost to the end of the #AtoZChallenge. Actually, the rest of the world has finished. They’re in the clubhouse. I’m still putzing around out here. Makes me nostalgic for yesteryear, when a guy like me was able to finish a challenge like this on time.
It’s not apathy – I still have this yearning to write, every day.
It’s the time that lacks, the need to yield to life in other ways. I want to keep learning about writing, about words. I also want to learn to talk like an auctioneer. This is a true story. I ask my kids if they’d rather I spoke like an auctioneer or learned to yodel.
Which is good. That means I can’t check email or get lost on Instagram. Again. It means it’s a good idea, while I’m on this flight, for me to have packed a couple of books loaded with writing prompts on my way to San Jose.
I got a little help from the girl next to me on the plane – after we’d sufficiently gushed over how incredible the cookies they give out are (I even scored three extra packs from the flight attendant – and folded up an origami peacock in appreciation).
My seatmate chose two prompts for me to write on from the book 300 Writing Prompts (Piccadilly 2017):
No, not showbiz. The newspaper biz. Usually, you can tell by the scuffed shirt cuffs and clothes bought in 1986. Used. Not in this case, though. Esther Robards-Forbes and I both worked for the Charlotte Observer back in the day.
She’s now in public relations at the University of Texas.
We had a conversation years ago that would have been one of the earliest #GirlsRock interviews. Instead, it sat in drafts, like those old archive rooms back in the newsroom. It was an awesome find for me.
Literally and figuratively. Before last night, I hadn’t written in it for weeks. Also, the back cover has fallen off. There are about five pages left in her, and it looks like it spent a season getting kicked around on Gilligan’s Island.
Gratitude is easy to come back to, it seems.
It wasn’t as if I’d abandoned #gratitudeandshit. It’s part of every day. It just wasn’t getting written down. So I had some old things in there. Things such as, I’m grateful for new episodes of Silver Spoons and I’m grateful for my new calculator watch.
Strike that. Writing is like a river. No, doesn’t feel right. Writing is like … well, something you have to peel back sometimes. And it’s also something that flows, sometimes beyond its banks, but can never really be stopped.
So maybe writing is like an onion river.
In any case, today’s #GirlsRock guest knows a very specific art of writing: The resume. That sneaky thing we prance about when we’re unhappy at work or … out of a job. It’s the key to everything, yet we often treat it as an afterthought.
A writer finds himself, you know, between chapters sometimes.
When that happens, he finds the usual roundup of possibilities: Contract jobs that never seem to fill, positions for nameless companies that might want to talk to you. Maybe. If only you could talk with someone who can find you a job you’d love …
Meet Liz Khodak.
Visiting her office uptown during a job search years ago was different. We sat at a table and talked. She listened. She took notes. (I tried to read them, but I’m lousy at reading upside down.) It was a very different experience.
Not the Dollar General one. The one that goes to my work computer. It’s an Apple MacBook Pro charger. It costs about the same as the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll. I left it plugged in in the media tent during All-Star weekend. (I was hungry and distracted.)
I bought a replacement at a lower cost – about the same as the payroll of the Kansas City Royals, for comparison.
It’s not as fast and fancy. But it works. Thing is, I need to keep plugged in almost always, so I don’t get distracted and hungry and wind up with 7% battery and 37 stories to write. I can also plug my iPhone into this little charger that could.
I’m so grateful to be in the right place at the right time.
That’s how it happened in the press box at Bank of America Stadium this past NFL season. That’s where I met Justine Turley. Her podcast, The Pow Wow, is about the Carolina Panthers, and her co-host is Panthers radio guy Eugene Robinson.
He played in the NFL and has identified Justine’s rare talents.
Those talents were apparent to me, too. We struck up a conversation and I knew in an instant she’d be a perfect fit for #GirlsRock. She graciously answered my questions, and as I kept up with her podcast through the season, I saw her grow even more.