Mark Terry

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lifestyle Choices

April 20, 2009
One of the books I'm reading is "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama. You might have heard of him. (I wish I'd read it before I voted for him; it would have settled some of my qualms). 

Talking about politicians, he notes that most sensible people organize their life in such a way that they're not rejected all the time. (Arguing that politicians set themselves up in a win/lose situation with no second place).

I thought about writers, especially novelists. And I wondered what other career choice sets you up for so much rejection: actors, maybe musicians, sales people. And it did make me wonder: are we nuts? Why would we embrace so much rejection?

So, your thoughts?

And what careers do you think involve so much built-in rejection?

Mark Terry


Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I don't think we embrace rejection, really. I know I don't.

Rejection is just what unfortunately happens sometimes between episodes of praise and acceptance. :)

6:48 AM  
Blogger Alan Orloff said...

I think you nailed it. Any kind of highly-desired job with few "openings" will be fraught with rejection: Actors, musicians, writers, painters (really, any kind of artist). Athletes and astronauts probably might also fall into that category.

I think rejections are even more prevalent when the "product" is so subjective. They seem more personal, too.

It helps to have the skin of a rhino, that's for sure.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Adam Coronado said...

I've worked a lot of shit jobs in my life--fast food, waiting tables, landscaping--and the worst by far was the commission-based Funcoland. I believe all Funcolands are now Gamestops.

Anyway, at 17, I thought I had landed my dream job: getting paid to sell/talk about video games all day long. It was a nightmare. We did full inventories of the store DAILY and had to pitch "Fun Club" memberships to every patron. Plus the commission-based environment gave way to a chest-beating, macho sales culture. We received newsletters each week comparing our commission sales with other stores in town and our manager wanted top honors every week.

Long story longer, I ran back to my previous job at McDonald's within a month. Every day I either screwed up the counts, undersold memberships or both. Plus, I got in trouble for discussing video game news reported in publications other than the Funcoland-published "Game Informer". While it wasn't B-movie acting, I had never experienced such pulverizing daily failure in all my life.

And now, ten years later, I want to be a freelance writer...The cycle continues, I guess. : - )

7:03 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

If I had done more on the performing side of things, I'm absolutely certain I would have faced TONS less rejection than in teaching. In piano, you can audition for some jobs, but most "jobs" you make for yourself or you make through who you know and networking. I've been lucky in writing so far, but I may just have arranged my life conveniently, LOL. I'm happy to get out there, if only I can get my imagination to sit in a story world that suits, LOL.

I have to read this book. My one editor wanted this essay to be as audacious as my last essay, and ever since, I've decided I want to be audacious in my life, LOL. I love that word!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, I hope I never "embrace" it. I do sort of get used to it, though.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Good point with athletes and astronauts. I remember hearing an interview with an astronaut who had been rejected from the astronaut program about 6 times before he eventually got in. He indicated that there were tons of interested pilots, engineers, etc., but only a few positions each year and that the committee that made the decision changed periodically, so you just kept trying until you got too old for the program.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yuck is right. Being a freelance writer might not be so bad once you get going--although you'll get rejected plenty (about 1 in 12 queries get accepted, we're told, which seems about right). But as a novelist, man, that gets tiring.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I think there's rejection in all areas of life, but it probably is worse in some. I would guess that it depends on what you're trying to do music-wise. Trying to break into the "bigs" and be a rock-and-roll God or get a huge recording contract, you're going to face a lot of rejection. Making an living performing, well, you're going to figure out who will hire you pretty soon or go find something else to do, I would think--rather like being a freelance writer.

9:46 AM  
Blogger B. Nagel said...

I know that this has nothing to do with your post, but I thought you might be interested to know about the recent mysterious deaths of 21 polo horses FROM A SINGLE TEAM in Wellington, Fla at the US Open Polo Championships. Sounds like a case for Derek Stillwater to consult on.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Or the next Dick Francis novel.

3:35 PM  
Blogger B. Nagel said...

Doesn't Francis live on an island near there? Hmmm. . .

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I am late reading my blogs today. I've been doing rewriting on the new mystery to help avoid rejection.

On the topic of sales and rejections, if you haven't seen don't miss Keith Snyder's short video Sell in Hell.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric, I love the line: "As you know, there's only one job in hell: telemarketing."

5:52 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

I'm ashamed that it took a google email alert of my short film title to get me back here, but--Hi, Mark! Hi, Eric!

Rejection sucks, but it's that or not try.

12:41 PM  

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