2013-11-23 16.14.30

Dream Job

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I know I’m not the first writer to daydream about working at a cemetery (cough—Evelyn Waugh—cough—The Loved One—cough), but it’s something I’ve always considered doing. I used to ride my bike through centuries old cemeteries on Nantucket Island as a youth and I have, on many occasions, gone for dog walks, runs, or leisurely strolls with friends through cemetery grounds.

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The fantasy of working at a cemetery was further solidified two years ago when I visited Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland for the first time. Lordy! What a vast, beautiful, and slightly trippy place. Of course, I’m not sure what I’d do exactly if I were to work at a cemetery, but if walking around and inspecting the grounds and crypts were part of the gig, then I’d most definitely do it.

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And it’s not only Mountain View that I’d work at (although it would be my top choice). I’d also consider Inglewood Cemetery or Forest Lawn. In fact, I went on their website, and what do you know?! Forest Lawn is hiring!

Next job, perhaps? (see below)

Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Assistant

The Environmental Compliance Department at Forest Lawn is responsible for ensuring all operations are in compliance with federal, state and local EOHS regulations.  The EOHS Assistant is an entry level position that will assist with compliance tracking, recordkeeping, and training in the areas of air quality, water quality, waste management, employee safety, and land development.

(NOTE: All photos are of the lovely Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. I told you I went there a lot!)

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writing

WRITERLY ADVICE

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So I wrote this note & sent it to 5 pros in the journalism/writing biz—-an editor for The Atlantic, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism/writer for The New York Times Magazine, a writer for National Geographic, a screenwriter/copy writer, and a former editor for The Los Angeles Times.

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Their responses were as follows:

*** FROM THE EDITOR AT THE ATLANTIC ***

I wouldn’t sweat it much. Hiring is a very strange process. Sometimes it moves really quickly. Other time it does not. Things stall out. People get held up. They forget, then they remember, then they forget again.

A ploy—not unlike the college leave-behind—would be to do something that bolsters your candidacy, THEN send that over to the lower ranking editor as a way of touching base without being annoying.

Or maybe just make conversation with one of them on Twitter not even about the job. Just the sight of your avatar will remind me that they need to make a decision and tell you about it.

*** FROM THE FORMER LA TIMES EDITOR/REPORTER ***

How’d they leave it when the interviews ended? Did they say they’d get back to you? What’s their time frame on filling the job? Were they in a hurry? How many other applicants were there? Did you get a sense a lot or very few? How’d the interviews go?

In general I’d give it maybe another week and then PHONE the assistant editor. If they haven’t filled the job yet, emphasize how much you’d look forward to working there. Don’t sound desperate, though. Enthusiastic yes, desperate no. If they have filled the job, don’t just hang up, ask questions. Treat it as a learning experience (that goes for all job interviews.) Was there something in your clips or experience that might be lacking? Be interested but not confrontational or defensive. If there is a next time, you want to be the first person they think of. Hopefully, there won’t have to be a next time — you’ll get the job. But try not to depend so much on hope.

***FROM THE SCREENWRITER / COPYWRITER***

I think since it’s been two weeks that you can follow up. Big kudos for thank you notes – that’s my number one piece of advice (though I would recommend hand-written).

You may want to wait until Thursday, though. If it’s a big sought after position, they probably have tons of applicants so it could take awhile.

I would write something like this:

“”Dear so and so,

I just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to interview with me. I really feel that I’m a perfect fit for the position and I just wanted to follow up to see if you had made a decision. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can send you in regards to samples or to demonstrate my willingness to excel in the position.”

*** FROM THE JOURNALISM PROFESSOR ***

Hey doll,

At this stage, I’d wait. Hiring takes time (often a lot of time), so unless you have another offer that you need to say yes or no to, I’d just be patient – or just politely write to express your continued interest (rather than asking where the process is at). Either way is fine.

*** FROM THE NAT. GEO. WRITER ***

I’d wait a little longer, then contact the assistant editor again. EICs, as you know, are crazy busy. If she didn’t reply the first time, best not to “pester” her.

*** CONCLUSION ***

I GUESS I’LL JUST WAIT. AND PRAY.

WTF?

“Why are you still seeing him if he’s mean?”

“Well, it’s complicated. He’s a rapper so a lot of what he says is pardoned by poetic license.”

Notebook Paper Texture
WTF?

“Can I leave the back door unlocked?” I asked my grandma.

“Uh-huh,” she said. “If a burglar comes, I can leave & he can take care of grandpa.”

WTF?

“I remember they told us in the second-grade that we would go blind if we rubbed our eyes too much.”

“Who told u that?”

“The first graders.”

UGH, WHAT A QUOTE

WTF?

Obviously, the journalist who wrote this article got a bit lazy and decided to quote this scientist in full, rather than paraphrasing, not to mention explain, what he is saying.

A REALLY SHITTY NONSENSICAL QUOTE FROM A SCIENTIST THAT QUITE OBVIOUSLY NEEDS TRANSLATING IN LAYMEN’S TERMS:

‘ “This turns it around and says, for a particular ion channel target, can we identify, in the pharmacological diversity of the spider venom toxins, a toxin that is active against that desired target,” said Michael N. Nitabach, a physiologist at Yale.’