Friday, January 29, 2010

I feel like Michael Corleone...

...I got pulled back in!

For just about 11 years, I wrote for a national EMS professional journal, titled interestingly enough, EMS Magazine. This was the place where I took my baby steps into the world of freelance writing, taking whatever skills I may have naturally possessed, and developing them with the guidance of an experienced editor. I wrote everything from educational pieces, to personal stories, to book reviews, all the while exploring a skill I never really knew I had.

In 2000, I wrote my last piece for the magazine. It was entitled, "What Are You Prepared To Do?" and dealt in part with the idea of who we were as EMS professionals, our identity, and how it had been co-opted by other emergency services, such as fire departments. While I left EMS behind the year before, I was still in healthcare, but that would be my final article. There was no real reason to write for the magazine anymore, and with my depression starting to bubble, I think somewhere inside I was thinking, "It's time to get away from this profession in every way."

Flash forwards 10 years: Now, having come to terms with so much of what I experienced, I feel I can go back and write for them, but from a detached position, which actually may be something of a blessing. I shot my former editor (who is still there) some recent clips of my work, she was bowled over, and was going to throw some story ideas my way, when I threw one at her. I'll be writing a two part piece that will cover how EMS personnel deal with impending retirement. It will be in their online edition. Part 1 will be out in June, and then part 2 in July. Even better? They're going to pay me. I didn't always get paid for what I wrote for them in the past.

So, here I go, diving back into the world I left behind. I'm thinking a little of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years."

"I met my old lover
On the street last night
She seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled
And we talked about some old times
And we drank ourselves some beers
Still crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy after all these years"

You get the idea, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Floods, famine, and hope.

I went on a job interview yesterday. The opportunity came out of the blue, via a Facebook IM conversation. About 10 days ago, a friend that is the public relations manager at a local legal professional organization mentioned to me that that her assistant had just quit, and she was now scrambling to find a replacement. She is familiar with my situation, in part because she is involved in the local theatre scene here in Rochester, and helps with PR for another theatre company in town. In the course of the conversation, I asked if she wouldn't mind looking at my resume, and consider it as part of her search process.

She was concerned that the job would be a bit boring for me, as there was not a ton of writing, and that the salary was not in line with what I might expect. She felt that I was far more advanced in terms of experience than what the position called for. I pointed out that I have been looking for a way to break into the PR world full-time, and that this type of entry level position could be just what I needed. She said to send her the resume, and I did, not knowing what would come out of it.

Well, on Wed. I got an e-mail from her, asking if I could come in for an interview on Friday. Of course I said yes, and started to prep for it, visiting the website of the organization and learning all I could about it. This has been the best opportunity to come along in quite some time. Being a realist, I know there are never any guarantees, but I wanted to make the best showing I could.

Of course, things are never smooth, and Thursday night, just before Mrs. Nighttime and I were to head to our theatre for rehearsal (we're both in a play there, opening a week from today), we come back home to find that the water heater has blown. Half the basement was flooded, so we cut the water off and started manning the bilge pumps. (Translation - We broke out the mops and the shop vac, and poured the excess down the sump.) Mrs. Nighttime got on the horn to someone she kn0ws, an HVAC technician that services her building. He was able to get us a new water heater, and now 24 hours later we have hot water again.

When this happened though, it jarred me some. I got really snippy, and I knew it was that "Oh, no. I don't need this shit, not now." feeling. The other thing that concerned me was, how was I going to take a shower Friday morning? All I can say it's a good thing we're on good terms with our neighbors, at least the ones we know pretty well. The ones' down the block, whose home caught fire last year, came to our rescue and let me use their shower in the morning.

Making extra copies of my resume, I went downtown for the interview, and while heading there, I realized how I needed to get over the nervousness that was running rampant inside of me. It's amazing; I can go up on stage in front of 200 people, and be far less nervous than sitting across the conference room table from one person. I took a idea from an acting exercise called an "as if," and simply put it in my mind that I was not really at an interview at all. I was simply sitting down and having a talk with a friend.

It worked like a charm. The interview went very well, at least in my opinion, and I think I was able to convey what I wanted to achieve by working in this position. I stressed the idea that, even though the pay is lower than I would like, the possibility of acquiring new and needed skills (especially working with graphics programs, something I don't really do, since we farm out all our graphics work at my theatre), combined with the opportunity to finally work full-time in the PR world was worth not being concerned about the lower pay scale. I also stressed that this was something that I thought long and hard about, and it was not a "I need a job at any cost!" type of situation. I should know something hopefully by the middle of next month. As you can imagine, they were inundated with resumes, especially in this job market.

So, cross your fingers, toes, and whatever else you feel might be appropriate in this situation. The famine that has been my job search, I am hoping, has come to an end. If this comes through, you will probably hear my screams of joy across the country and beyond.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spit take...

Ok, I just about spewed my coffee after reading these. #10 just stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thanks to Julia for these.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Northern exposure

When I first started this blog, I was adamant in that I wanted this to be as anonymous as humanly possible. After reading about the experiences of other bloggers, I decided that at least for the time being, I didn't want people to know who I was, especially if I was revealing things about myself of a rather personal nature.

Flash forward over a year, and now 193 posts later (including this one), and reading about the experiences of bloggers that have been outed, it makes me wonder if the ability to remain even remotely anonymous is simply a myth. I look at folks such as Petite Anglaise, and Girl With A One Track Mind (both excellent writers, mind you), and realize that while my blog isn't anywhere near as famous or visited, it still gives one pause for thought. They were both outed, and in the case of Petite, was dooced (Lost her job related to her blogging).

I have consciously avoided blogging about certain subjects in depth, such as my job and my marriage, the latter being at the request of Mrs. Nighttime. While it is a form of self-censorship, as with most bloggers we elect what, and what not to reveal out to the world. There are bloggers who are extremely open people, and their blogs are a reflection of their personalities. The only one or two subjects of an extremely personal matter that I'm open on are my liver transplant experiences, and my battle in the past with depression.

This said, I am now struggling with the notion of revealing at least, my first name and face. There are a few bloggers that I have become quite friendly with, and communicate with via Facebook or Skype, or in the case of Violet Sky, have met face-to-face, which was a nice time. So the question I pose to you out there is this:

What are your feelings about what you choose to reveal, or not to reveal, and the advantages and disadvantages of each? I'd also know what you do to protect yourselves so that not too much gets exposed.

I await your advice and counsel.