1. You are bewildered by the fact that publishing houses haven’t come pounding on your door to offer you a job. Your English professors repeatedly told you that your education in the Liberal Arts equipped you with a skill set in communicating effectively and thinking critically, abilities that are sought after in the working world. So why the static silence?
2. When you buy a classic work of literature from a store or are reading in public, people ask if it is required reading for a class, to which you respond quite haughtily, “This Dostoyevsky? I’m reading it for pleasure.”
3. All you want to do is work in a bookstore or library for the rest of your life.
4. Your writing starts to taper off. There is no inspiration coming forth from the monotony of the daily grind and you miss the writing prompts that your professors used to provide.
5. Friends and family ask you repeatedly why in the hell you decided to major in English. When you try to explain the high you got when delving into the nuances of literature with your classmates, all you receive in response are uncomfortable head nods and silence.
6. You realize that literary friends are hard to come by. For some reason you can’t find anyone interested in discussing the complete works of Flannery O’Conner with you.
7. You tried to resist, but you have taken up blogging. Some of your old English friends from college stuck up their noses at such extracurriculars, deeming them as only creating an end to the written word, but the only other people who will answer your questions on A Farewell to Arms are in cyber space.
8. You experience bouts of anxiety that your childhood was too normal and that it lacked any adversity for you to write about. Resentment builds up against your parents for them giving you three-square meals a day while growing up and tender memories of family vacations that you still hold dear to your heart.
9. You realize that your ability to write spectacular literary analyses isn’t going to make you a decent living. You begin the self-teaching process of learning new skills such as French, copy editing, and even computer coding, hoping that they will lead to a more lucrative career and a lifestyle that will allow for you to buy 2-3 hardbound books a week.
10. You apply to all the locally owned bookstores within a fifty mile radius of your home to no avail. Most of these stores have been run by the same grey-haired staff for the past twenty years and they assured you there were no openings in sight. You left your resume just in case.
11. You break down and finally apply to Barnes and Noble, and even they won’t hire you without some retail experience.
12. You look into graduate school for Library and Information Sciences, but the job prospects for librarians in the future looks bleak.
13. You realize that the starving-artist gig that your favorite authors claimed to have endured isn’t as fabulous or inspiring as you thought it would be.
14. You have applied to more jobs that you’d like to admit (both English-related and non) and you begin to question your skill-set and ability as a writer.
15. Finally you get an entry-wage job in a department store. It’s not much but it gives you the ego-boost and money you need to get by.
16. You force yourself to go to a few poetry readings at a local bookstore. Then you join a book club. Then a writing club.
17. You force yourself to write two hours a day. It’s hard at first. Your poems and story ideas are shallow. Your writing abilities have definitely atrophied, but it offers a creative release you forgot about.
18. You realize even your favorite award-winning authors didn’t write their pinnacle pieces of work until they hit the age of forty. You still have time.