In the middle of all this writing, editing and marketing I am doing for my books, I am also having to tackle something fairly new for me....unemployment. I have been unemployed for four months for the first time in my life in likely the most challenging times our country has seen since the Great Depression of the 1920's. I have been incredibly enlightened to the financial condition of our great country in a very personal way.
My previous company filed bankruptcy and I became unemployed pretty abruptly. When this happened, I had been accepted for my first book, but I had NO face book page, NO twitter account and had NO idea how to market myself on either. Social networking was a term I had heard on television. Man, did I have to learn fast. It was suggested to me by the marketing guru at my romance publisher that I had to get over my fears or I was dead in the water. So, I took a deep breath and waded in. I think I've done pretty well.
Cut to two months later. I now have one book out and two others being released with two different publishers. One I have the cover for, one is in edit. Additionally, I am editing the sequel for the first release to submit to my romance publisher in a week or two, making my fourth novel. I am about to submit a series of short stories to a new short story e-zine. I am active on facebook with a personal page and a fan page, and I have a Twitter account with followers on all. I am also an admin on a facebook group with an active membership. Not bad, right? What, you may ask, does this have to do with employment? Well, therein lies the rub.
I contend that one of the first things a prospective employer does is data-mine and google you after the interview. And now, with my being uber-present on the web, I am seriously google-able. I wonder if that internet-footprint does anything to hinder my employ-ability? I have a question: On the applications, where they ask you your hobbies, do I put that I am a published author? Does this enhance or detract from my attractiveness as a candidate?
There are two schools of thought here. As an employer, I could go both ways. I could think that the ability to put words together and sell them would increase the candidate's ability to communicate effectively in office presentations and with all levels of staff. I could also think that the extracurricular hobby might intrude on the candidate's daily activities and eventually overshadow the daily priorities. I worry that if I make protestations in the actual interview, it would be a case of "Me thinks he doth protest too much" and if I don't say anything, its a case of "deception by omission."
So, I open to floor to my readers. If anyone of you are employers, and have the occasion to make hiring decisions, I would appreciate your opinion. I have had two excellent interviews in the past few days and I am anticipating at least one call-back where I want to be amazing. Even though you all know I only write at night after the kids are asleep, please weigh in on this topic. I rarely ask for input, but this one is important. Thank you!