Monday, September 17, 2007

Back to job-hunting

Wouldn't it be great if job-hunting meant I just had to go out into the woods with a shotgun? Really, if that's all it took to snag one, I think I could do it. I mean, I hate guns, but if I really need medical insurance, I might suck it up and manage it for a while. I might not bag a really beautiful 10-prong photography job, but I'm sure I could get something. Instead, this piling through listings over and over again hurts my eyes and puts me to sleep. This daily tedium is a little much for me. I try to act on leads, but it only goes so far. I'm either under-qualified or over-qualified. It sucks to be stuck in the middle. When I find one of those jobs that I think I'd be perfect for, there always someone out there who's more perfect than me. So I won't bore you with a listing of every job I've applied for. But once in a while there's one I'm really excited about and I hope I get called for an interview. That job of the moment is Texas State University. It's in San Marcos, TX and they need a photographer. Really, I'm in Texas and I'm a photographer. How great is that? I'm sure they want more, but I not only do I have experience in photography, but I have a degree. I can do film or digital. I can do processing. And really, how often is it that there's a photographer out there who loves working in the darkroom? Many out there are thrilled with the advent of digital photography because it means they get out of the darkroom. Personally, I miss it. I enjoy the wonders of Photoshop as much as the next person. It's a fun program after all. But nothing is really like that experience in the darkroom when you're waiting for a print to develop and it finally darkens in the developer and you see it's the perfect image you were waiting for. Nothing beats poring over contact sheets with a loupe and a Sharpie. I miss all of that. It's silly, I know. Plus, I just got addicted to that stink of the chemicals and the perfect control of your image (unlike when you send it to a lab to be finished) in the enlarger. But, I digress...I just think that it would be nice to work for a university and be connected with education somehow. Maybe it would help me to get my masters degree like I've wanted to do. That would be great, too.

The problem is that I tend to get all excited about the possibilities and probably end up jinxing myself out of the job. I'm sure there are other qualified applicants out there. I'm not fooling myself into thinking my portfolio is so stupefyingly amazing that they can't wait to hire me, either. I wish that were so, but then again, maybe that would put me into the over-qualified category again. I don't know. Technically, they did say they wanted someone with 3 years experience, but I'm hoping my combination of experience and education will count for something. We'll see. Usually I hope for these things, but they don't come true. But I remember when there was the time I got hired for the photography job at Clear Channel and that was the job I really wanted at the time. (That job did come available recently, but they didn't hire me back--super-discouraging).

I do have a couple of book recommendations, though. I recently read
Red River by Lalita Tademy. I may have mentioned this book earlier in my blog, but maybe not. It's really her family history, but it involves the famous massacre in Colfax, Louisiana that Louisiana history dubs as a race riot. Even other newspapers of the day called it a massacre. Either way, the story is riveting and continues on to tell the aftermath and what it was like for former slaves trying to make better lives for themselves. I'm sure I had other recommendations after that, but that's the book that sticks out in my memory. And recently, I read Jo Bannister's The Tinderbox that tells of the homeless communities in London, England. The story was interesting, about a man whose daughter went missing 6 years earlier and who now believes his daughter is living homeless in London. There is a commentary near the beginning about the shortfalls of community programs and aid there are for the homeless, but most of the story involves this man's dedication and love for his daughter, no matter what she has done in the interim. Of course, I'm still convinced that the lack of programs and funding to help the mentally ill probably contributes to the rate of homeless in the world, but that's beside the point. Obviously there is a lot to be done to help if enough people would just commit to making some very fundamental changes to policy. It should be simple to fix, but it's not and it will take a coordination of efforts. But it's possible. Anyway, read the book. It's a good story, full of danger and suspense.

Well, that's it for this post. Check back later for more job-hunt progress reports (I'm trying to stay optimistic) and hopefully some good news.

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