In this new series, editors of the Poetry International Chapbook Series and Poetry International staff will discuss the process of running a contemporary press and literary journal: from collaborating with fellow editors to navigating design technologies to promoting a new publication, and all the spaces in between.
In Pursuit of the Dream Job
By Emily Pooley
You’ve done it. You’ve made it through your college career, all of the late nights spent studying Shakespeare, Dickens, Plath, and all of the others. You’ve figured out how to work InDesign, know how to be post savvy on social media, and are ready to become a part of the workforce as a graduating English major. What do you do now? Do you go into teaching? Well maybe, but at least for me that isn’t what I dream of doing. In the ideal world I get job upon graduation in the publishing industry, where I can work on creating new young adult fiction, and know that I in some way contributed to that book you picked up from the library or book store. Now I know what you’re thinking, “You just need to start applying for jobs, I am sure there are plenty of publishing jobs out there.” You’d be right, there are publishing jobs out there, but what happens when you can’t see yourself in New York? I am a California girl born and raised, and the thought of leaving my year-round sunshine to go to the giant city of New York is a terrifying one. So how do I live out my dream without having to live in New York to do it? This is my current situation, trying to keep my dream alive and still maintain a sense of comfort and normalcy.
I first started my search process by looking into the larger publishing houses’ career options, and with very low hopes scanned to find any job openings anywhere in California or even somewhere surrounding it. With no surprises there were fewer than ten options among the publishing houses, and even fewer that I would be able to apply to with my experience level (entry level). With the dream seeming to be just out of grasp, I widened my scope of jobs. I applied to editing jobs that were with smaller publishing houses, magazines, and companies that needed someone to maintain their websites and social media. Granted it isn’t the direct field that I imagined myself in, but it is a start.
By broadening my scope I have given myself many more opportunities to strengthen my skill set. I will not only get to do something that I am passionate about, but I will also get to become more competitive when applying to the larger publishing houses and hopefully have more jobs that I am able to apply for, therefore expanding my original search options. I might even be more willing to go to New York by the time I have gained these skills and the job market I apply for will continue to grow. Regardless of the current unknown that I have found myself in, I am extremely excited to be graduating soon and begin the job search. Even though it can seem daunting I cannot wait to start working in a job where I can do what I love and get paid for it. Becoming a part of the literary community in any way, shape, or form is the real dream in itself, and I am so close to achieving it, and that feeling is so thrilling, that every job opportunity I see is like a dream come true.