Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (Part 21)

More journal stuff.

This is a career page.

My career story doesn't have a happy ending. There's a little voice pestering me. Dina! It's not over yet! You might have a happy ending after all!  

I'm telling that voice to shut up. He's annoying and delusional.

Note: The blue is what's written in the journal and the green is what I filled in (probably in 1996). And sometimes if I'm quoting things now, that will be blue too. I hope it's not too confusing.

After college, I decided to-go to Loyola Marymount for film school even though I didn't want to. I also decided to go to New York to meet Tim although we had already met before.

I experienced a lot of career confusion towards the end of college.

I think for most of my late high school life I went back and forth between wanting to be a screenwriter and wanting to be a novelist.

Now another voice is asking me, Duh. Why didn't you just pursue both?

Note: I'm not literally hearing voices. Just in case you were worried. Or in case you were excited because you thought we had something in common. Sorry to disappoint you.


Recently I told my son that he should do EVERYTHING he wants to do. Don't pick one interest and/or aspiration and neglect the others. Pursue as much as possible.

A person might have multiple careers.

Or they might have one career and several passionate hobbies.

Or they might have a meaningless job and lots of fantastic hobbies.

I have regretted giving into my parent's pressure to go to Loyola Marymount. But now sometimes I regret not staying. I wish I had pursued a film career while at the same time pursuing a writing career...AND a teaching career.

I also wish I had continued doing zoo work.

Deciding factors and influences-Loyola was a result of my parent's influence, my college advisor's influence, and my meddling sister's. Lara W's wedding in New Jersey influenced me to go to NY as well as the fact that I had a crush on Tim. 

I remember getting pressure from my parents but not the college advisor or my sisters.

The Tim thing: We had been talking on AOL and I had a crush on him. My parents were planning to take us to New York for the wedding, so that gave me the excuse to meet Tim. But then my parents decided not to go to the wedding. You know what...I have thought about this story often. And I don't think I've ever wondered why they canceled the trip.  I mean I think I knew why back then, but I've forgotten since then.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't a drama with the Lara W.'s family. We went to her sister's wedding a few years later. Plus, I think I would remember major drama.  I don't think my family has ever had major drama with their family.

Maybe some other event came up?

What I wanted to do most-I wanted mostly to be with Tim and I wanted to work with animals, especially primates.


I thought I wanted to be a novelist. I mean not more than Tim but more than working with animals.

How I envisioned my career-The problem was I didn't envision a career. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Every day I had a new idea that seemed stupid the next day.



I don't remember this.

Again, though, if I could speak to my past self, I'd just tell myself to not feel glued down to anything.

As this song says....

Though I'm 99.9% sure I'm not going to have career success, I still try to pursue things that interest me.

The other day I was thinking how I'm so fascinated by medical stuff. I'm not going to be a doctor, but I was thinking maybe I'll keep embracing my passion and learn more and more. It would be fun to see how much I could learn without going to actual medical school.  How much could someone learn through the Internet and medical TV dramas?

Yeah. I know. Medical TV shows have a lot of inaccuracies. BUT they're a good starting off point. I hear of some strange, rare disease. Then I Google and educate myself.

And what really happened-With pressure from my family I decided to try and get a job in publishing. I failed to do that, so I got a job as a receptionist through a temp agency. Then finally I realized I wanted to be a teacher.

I blame my parents for a lot of things, and I think usually I'm in the right about things.

BUT I think with the publishing thing, I was in the wrong. Sort of.

After the film school thing didn't work out, my parents pushed me to get a job in publishing. From what I remember, I found this wrong and insulting. I wanted to be a writer. I didn't want to work for writers!  I wanted to be the one with the book getting published. I didn't want to be the person who helped publish someone else's book!

I had this idea that the two didn't mix.

But through the years I've seen several authors who started off as editors at big publishing companies.

Being an editor would have probably helped me actually get my book published. I might have actually been successful with the whole writing thing.

The question is, what were my chances of becoming an editor?

At the time, I believed I was in competition with young people who had majored in English and/or journalism.

I'm not sure if that's true or not.  I'm guessing it's probably mostly true.

Well, this website says it's best to choose a degree in English, Journalism, or communication.

I had a degree in psychology.

I don't think it would have been impossible for me to get a job...if I was very charming and had great interviewing skills.

I didn't have that. At all.

What I did have?

Letters to publishing houses from my CEO father.

He had this idea that he could write letters from one bit shot boss to another, and that would open doors for me.

I was resistant to the idea, especially since a short time earlier I had gotten into a fight with my dad where he told me everything I've achieved from life came from him.

How much is that true?

Definitely not all of it.

I'm pretty sure my dad wasn't writing to the professors at the  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, telling them to give me a high grade point average. I'm pretty sure I did that on my own.

I hope.

If I'm wrong, who would I be most disgusted with-myself, the school, or my dad?

Now did my dad sneak a letter into my admissions packed when I applied to the school? Maybe. Though I think that would be kind of foolish. I don't think UTC was above my qualifications.

Anyway... back to the story.

I'm not sure why I gave into my dad's insistence to accept the letters.

I'm also wondering, did he do research and write personal letters to these publishers? Or did he just do a generic letter and send a copy out to every one?

And did he send the letters himself, or did I send them attached to my resume?

Either way....over 20 years later, I'm still humiliated thinking about it.

Now I am NOT against all use of connections.

It makes sense small, reasonable doses. 

If my dad had a relationship with a publisher, it would make some sense for him to help me get in touch with the publisher. He shouldn't have been able to get me a job, but maybe it would have been okay for him to open the door a bit for me.

And a few years after all this, he did have a short term buddy-ship with a publisher, and he used that connections to get the publisher to read one of my novels. That was pretty cool. But it was not super cool, because it didn't work out.  (probably my fault)

Okay, but just writing random letters to people you don't know and thinking your CEO title is going to open doors.  That's NOT cool.

I don't think I opened any doors on my own more than a slight crack. But I think maybe my dad's letter closed any crack I might have opened.

And if by chance, some publisher was actually impressed with the letter, would I want to work for such a person?

No. I don't think so.

Now I'm thinking....

My dad DID write a letter to someone he didn't know, and I DID end up getting the job.

This was at the Fort Worth Zoo.  I wrote a cover letter asking for a job, and he sent a letter along with my letter.

Or maybe he did know someone from the zoo.

If not, though, my parents do donate a lot of money to the zoo. Maybe they were donating back in those days as well?

Money can definitely be an influence.

So did the zoo let me work there because my parents contributed to their cause?



But that doesn't guarantee that I couldn't have gotten a job there on my own.

It was during my time at the zoo that I had the fight with my dad where he declared I've achieved nothing without him.

Then there's another time that my dad probably opened a door for me. And unlike the zoo, this one probably would HAVE been closed to me.

It's probably because of his power that I was able to be a counselor at the Cystic Fibrosis camp in Georgia.  You were supposed to be at least 18 to be a counselor there...unless you had CF.  I started working there when I was 16.

The company my dad worked for did a lot of charity work for the Atlanta Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I don't think I put two and two together until years later.


Here's the thing.

The company my dad worked for got involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because of me. I became passionate about it, and somehow that led to them getting involved.

I forgot how, though.

I'm guessing there was some CF event I was involved with, and the company sponsored something. Then that led to other sponsorships?

Our friend/my dad's coworker (Greg) became very involved. It could be because the CF Foundation does sporting events, and Greg is very much into sports. He also read a novel I had written about CF. Maybe that was a little push? Or am I being delusional?

I'm probably being delusional.

And egotistical.

It would be nice to imagine that I inspired people with my writing and passion. But it was probably more a matter of fate—one person's path being a stepping stone for someone else's path.


If it WAS because of my dad that I was able to work for the CF camp, I can't NOT be somewhat grateful, because I really did have a good time there.

And I met my future husband there.

I'm mostly grateful to myself, though. Or proud of myself.

I'm proud of the passion I had for the Cystic Fibrosis cause.

I'm proud of the initiative I took to pursue that passion—writing, volunteering, learning, raising money, etc.

Personal hopes and aspirations-I wanted to get engaged, married, and have babies. Then when the teacher idea came to me, being published and the marriage stuff seemed less important.

Maybe wedding fantasies were sort of a bandaid for my career confusion and disappointments.

I'm sure I did envision getting married and having children.

But maybe, at some point, I became preoccupied with the idea since I was feeling empty in other areas.

Then teaching came along, and part of that hole was filled.