Slate.com recently posted a notice that they were accepting applications for an in-house pop culture blogger, a fact which was brought to my attention by my lovely wife along with some overt encouragement to submit my resume. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and nothing but upside if I should happen to somehow hit the jackpot, right? Maybe, but although I seriously considered the notion I did not, in the end, pull the trigger. I think ultimately there were two big reasons for that.
First, the request as stated on the website was for a cover letter and resume and not, by way of contrast, a chipper note accompanying a blog link. I certainly could have provided the latter and done so as a lark, on the million-to-one shot at getting someone’s attention and proceeding from there but not really missing a beat if I never heard back. But the former case, the implicit seriousness and professionalism of a cover letter and resume? That was a lot harder to wrap my head around.
I haven’t had to shop my resume around since about 2007 or so, and obviously when I did it was to secure a job as a web database programmer. So I wouldn’t have needed to update my resume so much as create a completely new one from scratch that would be geared towards a gig as a writer/blogger. And aside from my English degree, an article I sold to a roleplaying game magazine back in 2006, and of course How the West Was Weird, what else would I even include on that alterna-C.V.? The fact is I don’t have all that much professional (or even volunteer) writing experience and thus a real, grown-up resume trying to make that case would be suspiciously thin on bullet points, and probably formatted in 44 point type. I briefly considered drafting a kind of gag resume that would include my precious few accomplishments and then pad out the rest with obvious jokes: turning everyday pop culture consumption into noteworthy achievements, making outrageous claims at imaginary honorifics, and so on. But then that seemed like a lot of effort for what would likely end up discarded unremarked upon by the designated resume-sorter as they looked for actual, viable candidates.
And speaking of effort and time, my second hesitation arose from the feeling that I wasn’t really qualified for the job. Not in terms of blogging chops, I know I can write every day and do so tolerably well. And not in terms of overall pop culture familiarity, because modern entertainment in all its wondrous forms is something I am passionately, perhaps overly, invested in. But basically in terms of on-top-of-it-ness. Because I’m not. On top of things.
I assume that a pop culture blogger would be expected to read new books when they are released, watch new tv shows the night they are broadcast, download new music the day it becomes available, and respond to those offerings in 750-word posts within a reasonably rapid turnaround time. And man oh man, I am not the guy for that job. This week I am reading a sci-fi novel published in 1976, and I plan on watching a blockbuster from 2008 on DVD on Friday (but no promises!). I love comics but I am deeply ambivalent about whether or not I am going to wander into a comics shop next month and buy any of the “New 52” titles as DC Comics relaunches their entire universe, or if instead I will just continue filling out my eclectic runs of 1980’s series I missed the first time around. And so on. You could say that this blog has a strong pop-culture influence to it, but you could also say with more specificity that the recurring theme is more along the lines of “holy crap check it out you guys somehow I was able, amidst the wrangling of two children under three and the upkeep of my old-as-I-am suburban home, to enjoy the following piece of decades-old entertainment which is somewhat related to one of my weirdly specific geeky interests!”
And that very much works for me, but it doesn’t seem like the perspective that a major online publication would really be recruiting for. So I didn’t throw my hat in the ring. Still and all, if the fine people at Slate stumble across my blog because I linked to them, and they like what they see here and want to talk about a paying contract for me to keep it going, that’s a conversation I’m totally willing to have.