Friday, October 24, 2008

Jack's Hierarchy of Vocational Aspiration

I was going through some of Jack's old emails, and came across this piece of advice. He used to give this as part of his lectures to undergraduates. He sent it out to one of our mutual friends as part of a rant as to why writers are chronic malcontents. I should post the entire email (it's that entertaining) but it's pretty long.

Anyway, when kids complain that they have to start at the bottom, he says this:

Somewhere at the Herald, a guy is taking classified ads over the phone and thinking, Christ, I could do obits or wedding announcements if they'd give me a shot. Meanwhile, the guy writing obits and announcements is thinking he could be a reporter, the reporter is thinking he could write features, the feature writer wants to be a columnist, the columnist wants to be a novelist, the novelist wants to be a playwright, the playwright a poet, the poet an angel, and the angel wants to be God. For the rest of the story, see J. Milton's "Paradise Lost."

I love that bit. And it's true, no matter where you are in the hierarchy, you're always pining for that next rung. 

No comments: