Saturday, 26 November 2011

Nicola Morgan has been

talking about "Bruised Soul Syndrome" - that feeling you have when you get rejection after rejection for the book you have poured your heart and soul into. (Interestingly Nicola is also re-publishing her "Mondays are Red" as an e-book on Monday - prowl over to her blog "Help I need a Publisher" for details.)
It does not matter if an agent says, "Indeed, I would encourage you to try elsewhere." That agent has rejected you. In a way such a response can be worse than an outright "no" because it suggests "yes you might be good enough but I do not want you".
I should be used to that sort of rejection. I had hundreds of them when I was looking for work. I knew what was wrong but they were things I could not do anything about. Potential employers saw me as "over-qualified" and "not a team player" and a physical liability.
My tertiary qualifications came about more by accident than design - oops, suddenly I was over-qualified. Going in another direction did not help either. It just "over-qualified" me still more. I could not convince anyone I was prepared to start at the very bottom and work my way up. I was not, after all, a "team player" because I had embarked upon a major project of my own. Oh yes, they liked the idea all right, even said they admired what I was doing, but they did not want to take that on. It was too much for them to handle. I showed far too much initiative. Employers may tell you that they want "initiative" but they do not want too much of it in someone they view as "inexperienced". Add "keyboard and mobility challenged" (as someone kindly put it) and you are not going to get the job however well you perform at interview. There is a point at which you do give up. (I gave up and created my own job.)
Submitting a book to agents is much the same. You end up with Bruised Soul Syndrome and it can be Badly Battered Soul Syndrome. You wonder about yourself and whether you have any capacity to write at all. What's the point? Is it worth it? Do I try again? Should I keep on going with the next book?
If you are driven to write then you do it.
I thought of all this in a new context this week. School leavers without qualifications could once get jobs. Now that is almost impossible. The sort of jobs they would once have had - and the "niche" positions for the intellectually disabled - have gone. Get an undergraduate degree? It won't qualify you for anything. You need experience - and why have you not gone on to post-graduate work? I can understand that. If the quality of some of the work I have seen is anything to go by then an undergraduate degree does not, for some, amount to much.
Even if you want to "volunteer" you need to be trained. There are all sorts of health and safety regulations you need to know about. You need to be told (even if you do not listen) about "customer service". You will have to apply, be interviewed and join the queue of hopefuls. It is not about volunteering for a cause you are passionate in. It is about getting "experience" in the hope of finding a job. You still have to overcome the reluctance of employers to take on new staff in an uncertain economic climate - and a system in which workers' rights far outweigh the rights of employers.
It all leads to Bruised Soul Syndrome and, sometimes, Badly Battered Soul Syndrome. I feel for anyone genuinely trying to find a job - and I can understand why some people give up.
BUT - I - will - not - give - up.


Melinda Szymanik said...

Apparently it has been shown that rejection does actually physically hurt. But we don't give up. Writers are brave people

widdershins said...