I also learned the art of killing darlings.

A short essay on what I learnt from a course given at my dear school, taught by a dear teacher who just last week retired:

There are always a million answers to the question of why someone fails to succeed. A bad economic situation, bad timing, being in the wrong place, not qualified enough or perhaps too qualified and many more. The aim of this course for me was to either silence these questions, or to try and answer them at least. Having taken a somewhat unusual course through life, my head is always full of doubts and ‘yes, but’s’. My former classmates must be merrily graduated by now and have no doubt a comfy job in a mundane office. Instead of mundanity I chose adventure a few years back, and I often feel like that decision is haunting me.

Writing a CV that actually does something for you turns out to be tricky, and this portion of the course proved incredibly valuable for me. It was refreshing to slash and burn through my CV; I cannot comprehend how it could have ever helped me in the way it was. I also learned the art of killing darlings. I think writing is one of my fortes, and with every opportunity given I want to flaunt my craft. Resumes and cover letters are places where it’s better to keep things short, and to the point. This is something I struggle with, as it turns out. During the interview exercise my interviewer would get a life story in return of any question she would ask me.

There is only some much that can be accomplished in one week, but with the help of a passionate teacher you will, by the end of the week, have all the tools you need to start moving a mountain. Our teacher has many success stories to share of jobseekers who at first seemed unsuccessful in their search of suitable employment here in Finland, but after a helping hand managed to get the job they wanted. These stories gave me a bit of hope, too. I am doing open studies at the moment and it often makes me feel as if I am not in school; I am just playing around. The one instance where an open studies attendee managed to land a job where the advertisement stated ‘Master’s Degree’ gave me an enormous boost.

What I will obviously remember from this course, is that I too have something to offer the world. I too have a value. My path may be unusual, but that doesn’t mean I have nothing to contribute. And that means I need not breathe out, now, and sit back down on the couch. Satenik’s talk proved to be an eye-opener. During seven months this girl spent Monday to Friday, three to four hours a day, sifting through job advertisements, writing and re-writing resumes and cover letters. Getting a job isn’t simply shouting ‘I’m available!’ into a void. Getting work is hard work.

I would feel the obligation to engage in some sort of intergalactic small-talk.

Should you feel the need have lunch at the same time as I do, please do me a kindness: do not sit one table from me, facing me. It is unbelievably awkward and will actually cause me to eat slower.

Should you decide to join my table – which you can always ask, especially when you know me and we share a class, do sit across from me. If I have a book in front of me (usually the case) you will have the duty of holding up the conversation. If this is too much of a burden for you, please join another table. ‘

Deciding to sit down one table further down the road (or in this case lunch hall, corridor, tube-shaped area with tables and seats) and plopping down on the seat facing me is a bad idea. It makes me feel unbelievably awkward,  as I would feel the obligation to engage in some sort of intergalactic small-talk, which would have to bridge all of this space for some reason spacing between us. Leaving two halves of a table between us makes it impossible for me to have small-talk related discourse. Phrases such as ‘hello’  and ‘hyvää ruokahalua’  I don’t want to have to shout, nor repeat 7 times.

I know you, we’ve met on several occasions and have had deep discussions on Sake, religion and mental illnesses and how every Russian is some sort of revolutionary business genius. This, in my opinion, makes us better acquainted than two random people in a supermarket or, say, a lunch line.

The minute I look up from my plate there’s eye contact. I have to waste time and energy to decide whether to say something or not, or awkwardly look away, whilst I could have enjoyed my meal over a book.

‘but Doris’, you might ask ‘couldn’t you just ignore the fellow? Can you just not care’ Yes, perhaps that would have been a good idea. But you know, manners. It’s rude to slap someone with silence, particularly when  you know them. Also, I am a tad insecure. I can never not care whether people may or may not care on what it is that I deal with at that precise moment. Did that make sense? No? One word: self-conscious. Maybe that was two, but now you get the point.

Could you please do me a kindness and not make my lunch break so excruciating? I like lunch! And most of the week it’s the only meal I got (school schedule is doing wondrous things for my diet). Join me at the same table, or not, and allow me to chew in peace.