This past Tuesday, I completed my last coursework assignment in my Professional Writing program (PROW) at MacEwan University (a book of poetry). In January, I will be doing my workplace learning placements in the field as the last requirements before I graduate. Today, I am on the ledge between being a student and being out in the workforce as a writer/editor. As a result, I am also on the ledge between scary and exciting.
The scary comes in two parts. First, at the moment, I do not yet have a work placement lined up. For about the last month, I have been writing cover letters, revamping my resumé and sending out application packages. These are tasks I don’t particularly enjoy; I feel like a used car salesman hawking his wares. Advertising myself is not something I do very easily, so doing it in a new field is very challenging. The scariest part, though, is that my placement start date is a mere three weeks away, and so far I have no job. That makes me very anxious. So does the idea that I have to compete with real people in the field to get most of the jobs I have applied for. I am essentially competing against people with 2, 5, 7—or even 20—years experience. That is a daunting thought.
The second scary part comes when I do find a placement (I was tempted to say “if” but chose to take the optimistic stance), and I have to prove myself. Excelling at school is one thing—one I am quite proud of—but excelling at work is different. I worry about how I will fare “out there.” Will I be any good in my new field, and even if I am, will I love it the way I imagined I would when I made the decision to give a writing and editing career a try? Again, anxiety reigns.
At the same time, being on the edge of starting my new career is pretty exciting. Maybe I will get a great job, one that engages and inspires me. Maybe that engagement and inspiration will lead me to be awesome at what I do. Maybe I will be able to answer the party question “What do you do?” with “I’m a writer and an editor.”
Now won’t that be exciting?