If You Want to Write: Be Reckless, Be a Lion, Be a Pirate!

“There exists in most men a poet who died young, whom the man survived.” –Sainte-Beuve

In each of us there is a passion for something. We feel, see, smell, hear, and taste the world. Everything around us awakens our senses and forces us to feel emotion. We are human, and that is how we live.

In chapters 6 and 7, Ueland continues to explain what holds us back from greatness. We are afraid and insecure, and she urges us to let go — “be careless, reckless, be a lion, be a pirate! when we write.” Do not worry about what others think.

Following this advice, I am including a personal piece of writing from an ongoing project I have sporadically worked on for years. I challenge you to open up and write about your day, week, job, or whatever, and see how it turns out. You may be pleasantly surprised! PS: I welcome feedback 🙂

My First Job Interview

If you have ever worked, then you know you usually have to fill out an application. The company I worked for had a one-page, front-and-back, application. It was your standard application: contact info, work experience and references, and there was no need to submit a resume. I don’t think we ever looked at a resume; I know I didn’t.

There were no background checks or drug tests, and I was hired in 1997 when you assume people realized the world had changed. Kids were growing at rapid speeds and getting into trouble much younger. Either the company trusted their employees, or it simply didn’t care; it doesn’t matter which one because it was, and still is, common for employers to run these checks. We just never did.

I was 15 with no real work experience. Sure, I mowed yards, cleaned houses, and babysat some, but I had no way of selling myself. Nor did I try to. I picked up the application as soon as I turned 15 and did not submit it until two months later. I wasn’t nervous; I just wasn’t motivated or excited. Little did I know turning in that application would change my life — and my outlook on life.

I remember exactly what I wore because now some 15 years later I would have never worn that outfit to a job interview. Well, my rebellious side of me would want to just to see if I could pull it off again. I wore a bright, blood-red buttoned sweater with a black lace shirt underneath it, a long, black skirt, and knee-high vinyl boots. I walked in and asked for the manager, and a middle-aged man came to the front, of course, and I handed him my application. He looked it over, asked me what hours I could work and how old I was. I responded, and he hired me. That was it … no interview, no checks, just a “be here at 8 a.m. on Saturday.”

Surely, you can see the problem. First, I could have been a prostitute or a crack fiend who just walked off the street. Secondly, it gave me a false perception that finding a job was that easy. And third, it taught me nothing about the real world; if you smile pretty and look cute, you will get what you want. Thank goodness I never actually believed that.

The hiring process was pretty much the same. A person walked into the store, talked to the manager, and as employees you’d hear, “We’ll let you know,” which meant get out of here; or “Here, [whoever], make sure this person gets an employee packet, and we’ll see you on Monday or whatever day they chose. It was interesting to watch the handful of interviews our managers conducted because they were always in the breakroom where employees came and went, and they were no more than 20 minutes long. We were too busy to interview, and honestly I think we just needed bodies. If your application was spelled correctly, you were old enough to work, and we needed you, you were hired. I ruled out applications with misspelled city or state names, but we kept them for one year, as required by law. And people wonder why turnover is so high in retail.

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