Friday, April 28, 2017

Now Hiring Englishers

I’m an English major. And when this phrase is inserted into conversation of any kind it is always followed by one of two questions. 

"But don't you speak English?" 
"Oh, so you're going to be a teacher?" 

Generally question one is uttered in Spanish while the Latino speaker eyes my hair, skin, and other blatant North American features, and question two is spoken in English accompanied with a dull head nod and pitiful smile.

So in answer, allow me to explain. There is so much more to English than speaking the language or teaching grammar. There’s literature, and monologues. There’s documents and blogs. There's business, there's poetry, speeches and plays. Oh what joy to be found in this English buffet! 

Oh, there’s also Dr. Seuss. In case you didn’t get that from the last paragraph. (Try reading it again, with rhythm.)

So flashback to my Senior year of high school, right? And everyone is asking me where I want to go to college and what I want to study, and my engine spurts to a stop, smoke slipping from the hood, and I realize that I have no idea. When was I supposed to decide this? Where was I supposed to find the answer to this one? So I roll out the drawing board, dump out a new box of colored chalk, and strain to sketch my future. I could try accounting, dental hygiene, social work, zoo-keeping. The list was extensive, but nothing sounded right. Then finally, discouraged, stressed, and covered in hypothetical chalk dust, it occurred to me. Can I study something that I enjoy? I mean, I know I've always liked English, music, and theater, that's obvious. But I can legitimately study those things in college, and do those things the rest of my life, for a living?

It was a ray of sunshine. A hot and gooey chocolate chip cookie. I was as happy as those perfect smiley people on the beach of a coke commercial. 

And recently, I had one of those hard days. Where after shedding my dress shoes and changing into a t-shirt, all that lingered from work were the angry comments from customers, the headache from staring at a computer screen, and the list of things I didn't finish that I'd have to pick right back up the next day. And I end up on looking for other options. 

While scrolling over my search results for "Writing" and "Editor", I found two interesting things. Firstly I found that all the descriptions and responsibilities sparked something inside of me and got my adrenaline going a little bit. Stuff like, "provide feedback and advice to writers", and "develop fresh story ideas and create compelling press releases", or my personal favorite, "Does it rub you the wrong way when there are grammar errors on your favorite website? Do you have passionate views about the oxford comma? Then this job might be for you." 

And again, I found my ray of sunshine. My fuzzy blanket just out of the dryer. I was as content as those darling, giggling babies on the carpet of a Huggies package box. 

And the second thing I found interesting were the qualifications. "Bachelors degree in English", "degree in public relations, communication, journalism, or related field", and "two years of writing or editing experience". 

Oh. Right. Duh.  

So once again I had come full circle for a direct-hit head-smack. That's why I'm going to college. To get a degree. To get a job that I like. So that my employers don't only believe me when I enthusiastically express my love for English--oxford commas and all--but they see piece of paper proof that I love it enough to go through four-plus years of lectures, homework, research, and projects, live through it, and then put myself together and come back for more. 

Er, that's the general idea. 

So I take in a fresh breath of air and replenish my desire to study and graduate the heck out of this subject. 

And meanwhile head back to my job, which is, dare I say, pretty darn awesome when it comes right down to it. Great friends and colleges, plenty of support and consistent training, lots of free food, and several other nifty perks. I really can't complain. 

Wish me luck! 

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