Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's my book's fault! (A convenient, BS excuse.)

For those of you who don't know me personally, you don't know that I'm looking for a new job and that I have been for months. You also don't know that I haven't had much luck, which is weird since I have an incredibly practical Master's degree in Political Science and I'm pretty much Anna Wintour... only with a vinyl purse from Claire's.

So here's the lie I'm currently telling myself to make myself feel better: my novel writing has something to do with my lack of luck in the job market.

This isn't true, of course. I just haven't found the right gig yet. But still, on my bad days, I can't help but wonder about the book-job connection. See, I've had several interviews with a major player in the Canadian magazine world and during each interview I've been asked outright if I am writing a book. The way they ask it, too -- as if they're checking off some HR-enforced list -- makes we wonder if they see book writing (on the side) as a negative; as if they worry that part-time novel writers listed on the company masthead will be working on their novels at work and, therefore, are wary of hiring us.

Again, while I'm aware, on my good days, that this book-job connection thing is RIDICULOUS, I think it still raises an interesting point for discussion. So chime in!

Writers, have you ever been judged negatively in the workplace for being exactly what you are, a fiction writer (on the side)? And to the rest of you, would you ever be turned off of hiring someone if you discovered that they write books (on the side)?


  1. I never tell anyone I'm writing a book and only print when no one's looking.

    1. "... only print when no one's looking." Ha! I love that, Franzine. I'd like to be able to lie when HRs ask me about book writing, too. But then they'd Google me (because everyone Googles everyone) and they'd find out anyways. Darn you, Google! (Except for when you find me carpet cleaning companies in my area and the like!!!)

  2. It's funny: I was actually complaining today because my boss's boss keeps bringing up in meetings that I have written a book. Then comes the inevitable "What's it about?" I almost wish I could say it was a text book related to my profession, but no. I have to say "oh, it's a nooooovel." It's embarrassing. :) But really, I ought to feel lucky that I work for a great company that supports my outside creative endeavors.

    I honestly don't think that's the kind of thing that would hurt your job prospects. Any company worth working for should WANT you to be working toward your dreams--no matter what those dreams are.

  3. You are lucky, Elly! I hope it doesn't have anything to do with my bad luck, but I do wonder why that particular company asks that question in interviews. It's kind of strange.