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Sorkin & Unions


Recession Blues

What is there to do in a time like this but pray things don’t get worse?



from my new job description



How to Introduce a Job Ad?

Careerism Again

This would be a lot easier if someone would just show me the goat now.

More Work Adventures

Why couldn’t Searcy have had this when I was growing up?

There is always a difference between what one thinks one might do if one had one’s druthers and what one would in fact do when given a concrete choice.


Post-It Preacher

I’m all a-twitter over who wrote it, colleague or custodian? I’m betting custodian because I can’t really imagine my colleagues acting so anonymously. Still: the intrigue! The absurdity!

They Be Stealin’ My Pie!

Looking through my files the other day, I came upon one of the autobiographers’ applications and realized that our recent (brief) discussion of cover letters would be a completely foreign discussion to its writer. Where we emphasized brevity, he wrote a 4-page, single-spaced cover letter and tacked onto the end a 3-page, single-spaced autobiography. Where we emphasized writing our letters to readers, he wrote to everyone and no one at all. Where we might consider brevity and clarity to be virtues for any good cover letter—well, you can see for yourself.

A Piece of the Pie

Onward, then, to Application 2, which is internal to where I now work, and which I send for no better reason than the money.


So, I’ve known for some time that my hourly rate for freelance copyediting is low, but I’ve never gotten around to actually changing it.

Pimp My Photographer

Kindred Spirit

WritingHermit keeps a Big Job and Resource Page. I wish I had thought of that.

Job Talk

In professional development, for example, there’s a cottage industry of consultants, often hired by district superintendents and curriculum developers, who promise easy-to-implement systems for analyzing curricula, creating good teachers out of bad, and ultimately raising student test scores.


If you were a bottleneck at the place where you work, would you feel obligated to put in more time in order to compensate for holding everyone else up?

What else was I to do with my hands in the middle of class?

Workplace Wikiing

Curious, and not a little hopeful that I might find something (relatively) salacious, I looked up on the Wikipedia scanner what articles had been edited from my workplace.


It occurred to me the other day that not only do we need to swell the ranks of the commenting underclass around here, but specifically, we need more hotchicks to make us look good.

Grants & Scholarships

Our resident expatriate linguist needs help funding a PhD.

Haruki Murakami on Writing

Haruki Murakami had an essay in the Times this weekend, in which he writes about writing and compares writing to jazz.

It’s been a month since I praised The Daily Citizen for its spate of coverage in April of the strike at the Kohler factory in Searcy, Arkansas, which also means it’s been a month since the NLRB and settled the union’s charges against the company.

Yea, verily, I say unto you

the lowdown on bears

Too Far to Go

Never fear, though! It’s yard sale season! Bright and early Saturday morning I’m heading out to discover that other people’s crap is way better than just crap they’re selling: it’s crap I can sell, too! How excited you must be for me!

The Daily Citizen Finds Its Voice

It wasn’t long ago that I criticized the paper’s lack of coverage of the strike, but Warren Watkins’ work since has been of good service.

On editing

I do understand, believe me, that early praise can make later criticism less bitter; nevertheless, it’s not my job as an editor to be particularly easy on writing—not yours and epecially not mine.

This is called vision

A sad little statement of corporate life.

On Publishing Books

It is chilling that publishers have so little interest in printing anything less than a blockbuster or short of a genre.

The perils of editing

When I’m buried in line editing, I see patterns everywhere. Lately, it’s agreement between subjects and objects.

This is called entrepreneurship

I am totally going to pull this off.

it's official gang...

breaking all the promises

Roofing Fool, Destruction Tool

Every so often, like Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, he shouted something incomprehensible, whether to a person, or to the sky, or to no one and nothing in particular I do not know.

Successful Job Application

It was eighteen months ago that I left graduate school and went to the job market. Today, finally, I got bought.

Failed Job Applications, Pt. 5

Always the interviewed, never the hired.

Note: Link is further evidence of the fourth item in this list.

Continue reading “Failed Job Applications, Pt. 5…”

Failed Job Applications, Pt. 4

This is not the cover letter series resurrected.

Consuming the Gospel

The only Gospel consumed around here is John’s scroll or the weekly consumption of the Host.

from prison

a few qoutes from dietrich

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan, 85, died of congestive heart failure this weekend.

7 Surprise Interview Tips

(For the interviewer.)

Son of Octopus of Mayhem

On Frey and a killer octopus.

Editorial Puzzles

I’ve done some freelance editing the past few months. Yesterday, one of my clients sent me a list of questions that have plagued her as she has prepared to submit an article to a journal. Every question was a good one, and many weren’t easy to answer. How would you respond?

X-mas Day Devo Thought

a Christmas sermon…of sorts

Failed Job Applications, Pt. 3

This letter was for a job called “Writing Consultant” in a writing center, called the Writing Studio, at a local small, liberal arts college. (It’s a unique college, one of two nationwide to teach classes in blocks rather than on the -mester.) The job description implied this position was essentially a co-director job. (I heard later that the man who held the job previously felt it was more of a T.A./grader position for Writing Across the Curriculum classes.)

the beauty of conferences

on failing my students and presenting to only five people

Failed Job Applications, Pt. 2

Many of the applications I send I never hear word about, so now you can play HR director for me. On the merits of the cover letter, would you accept it, reject it, or forget about it? This one was for a job called “Assistant Scoring Director,” and it is unique among all of my applications: I actually was offered this job—then it was pulled from beneath me.

Counting on Authority

Here at the end of the project I have been counting. Every test item, see, is separated into a packet. I am counting in order to ensure that every item is accounted for. So my days have been spent sitting in a gray cubicle, wearing latex gloves to ward off paper cuts, counting, one at a time, item after item after item. As I’ve counted, I’ve realized something curious: For any single packet, I rarely know for certain that my count is indeed good.

Failed Job Applications, Pt. 1

Ah! A job search! The longer it goes, the more it wears down the bones. In an attempt to grow a bit of tissue back, I begin a new series of failed cover letters. Consider their publishing to be my catharsis. Many of the applications I send I never hear word about, so now you can play HR director for me. Would you accept it, reject it, or forget about it?