Notes from Today: A Blog

Liz Maxwell is a theatre director, producer of culture, and artistic innovator. I am passionate about the role of the artist in society, interdisciplinary collaboration, and making original work. I believe that the process and product are important, that new ideas are the life-force of society, and that the arts hold a vital role in shaping our collective future. This blog reflects musings on the evolution of theatre, reflections on the process of art-making, and committed observations on what it's like to be a human being these days.

Unqualified & Passionate Go-Getter Seeks Gainful Employment

 It's important to me to have a job that I don't know how to do.

You're not supposed to say that, especially when you're deep in a job search/networking phase of life.

The point is, I know how to do lots of things, but I'm not interested in anything I already know. I hear that's not true for everyone, but I think it is for me. I thrive on challenges. I adore the unknown. I like to think about new things, and if I've done before then by definition I'm not learning something new.

My Dad loves to tell the story of when I was 4 years old, I walked into my parents bedroom and asked, "Dad, is there anything you can tell me that I don't already know?" (Dad says he laughed and replied, "Apparently not.")  By 4 years old, I thought I really had a grip on things. Luckily, I've been proven wrong about this every day since then, and now get the deepest thrill from believing "not only is there more than we know, there is more than we possibly can know." But I still live by this curiosity, and love to look closely in the face of mystery, and on good days be so stumped as to not learn anything at all.

Of course, this is all difficult to put into a resume. It's hard to articulate the value of curiosity and passion, but I believe that these are valuable qualities in team members - at least the kind of team I want to work in. And, it's egotistical to say, but since that's kind of inherent in the nature of job searching in the capitalist market, I'll go ahead: my past employers have never been disappointed. I, like many other passionate beings and fellow artists who are trying to figure out where they fit in there marketplace, bring things to the table that I can't talk about in the interview.

So dear my past employers,

Thank you for taking a risk on me. Thank you for trusting me to work on your business, thank you for the high-touch skills and valuable experience that have created the person I am today. I think about the trust it took from my last team to enable my leadership position, navigating numerous, indescribable obstacles in a foreign country, and I'm grateful for that. And I remember going home from my first day of work at IHOP when I was 19, smelling like syrup and determined to figure out a more efficient system for the drink distribution in their back of house, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for anyone who has ever followed me into the dark, and the way we've found our way thru together.

And dear future employers,

Please don't hire me to do something I know how to do. If you hire me to do something I've done before, I guarantee you I won't stay long. But if you hire me for what I DON'T know how to do, I believe we could move mountains (has anyone on your team even been working on that?!).

Just please don't hire me for my experience, hire me for my passion. Forget my impressive resume, and hire me for my determination. Hire me for my willingness to stay up all night, brainstorming solutions with you. Hire me because I'll literally incorporate our company into my nighttime dreams, wondering even in my sleep how we could make things better and have a greater, more meaningful impact. Hire me because if you believe in potential and magic, like I do, then we both know we ain't seen nothing yet.

And dear Mom and my Mom's friends,

Don't worry, this isn't really my cover letter.

 This looks like work to me.

This looks like work to me.