Kristie L Smith Nikitin
It is more than 25 years since graduation from BGSU (shout out to my Falcons) with my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts, though I’m sure it could stand for many things that can be attributed to me) in creative writing. One of the moments I remember most is in my junior year when I called home to tell Mom and Dad that I was changing my major…AGAIN!
I thought for sure when I started college I wanted to be a high school English teacher. English was always in my top two favorite subjects, it’s a respectable career, and I have teachers in my family. It seemed only natural that I would take my love of the language and do with it about the only thing you can — teach. However, the first few semesters were heavy on Education courses, Gen. Ed. requirements and very light on my subject of choice. By the end of my sophomore year I was officially an English major. I could still teach, without all the “pesky” education courses and I would get to study what I longed to throw myself into, while opening some other doors too.
First semester of my junior year I was immersed in the literature and writing courses that had always piqued my interest. There was contemporary fiction and a creative writing class with some pretty special instructors that really brought it all to life. That settles it, I want to be a writer! I had found my passion. Now, I have to call home and have THAT conversation. I had already had the various “send money” and “I need to do laundry” talks that, quite frankly, I think Dad was coming to expect. As a banker he could track my checking account better than I could in a pre-Internet society, and he anticipated certain calls.
However, this time, he didn’t see it coming. “You want to do what?” and “How will you make a living?” Both of my parents, but especially Mom was insistent that I have a career and be able to take care of myself.
“Let your brother’s wife have the children,” she always said. (Thank you Lorrie. Zach, Carson and Walker are the best!)
“Kris,(Dad’s the only one who can call me that), I don’t think that’s wise,” with an air of “Oh dear Lord, what are we going to do with her,” in his voice. He wasn’t thrilled, but I knew we would move beyond it and we did. On graduation day both of my parents were proud and a month later when I began my first full time job as a receptionist (where my brother was working at the time, thanks Scott) neither Dad nor Mom said an “I told you so.” They were just happy I was out of school, on my own, with a full time job and health insurance at 22.
All these years later, I am in a new city and state applying for jobs. As anyone knows who has conducted an extensive career search, there are good days and bad days. Many back to back and the roller coaster never seems to end. I had three interviews and a fourth application submitted. I liked to look at it as having my bases loaded and one up at bat. Three strikes for the batter. The runners at first, second and third were all tagged out as they ran the bases lunging and lurching, clawing and crawling toward home. Yeah, I’m not going to lie. I felt pretty low.
I can’t remember if in my grief and borderline blind-rage I made another call to Mom and Dad, or if they just happened to dial me. I filled them in on my “hat trick with a bonus shot on goal” of woes. They listened patiently. I know they have both been where I am. They were loving and kind as I droned on, telling them I’m positive it’s because of my age. They happened to mention, as many friends have, that I just need to “take” something so I have a job. Jobs can’t be taken, no matter what level, they need to be “offered” first. I told Greg (my wonderful and supportive husfriend — who has never once suggested that I just take something) that if one more person told me to “just take something” I was going to go postal! A couple of cocktails later I calmed down and the next day decided to take a break from the search.
At some point while I was doing laundry and dishes, Dad called and said he had an idea. Dad is full of ideas, inventions, puns, shaggy dog stories and I’m convinced was the original dad who invented the cheesy “dad joke”. But this time he was serious, “Why don’t you send out some letters to local businesses and let them know you are a writer for hire.” This time, I was the one who wasn’t completely on board with the idea. I like working in an office with people. Pot lucks, birthday celebrations and happy hours are kind of my thing. Clocking in and out with people of all ages, creeds and walks of life has helped me mature when I was young and always kept me young and relevant as I’ve grown older. That’s where I’ve met almost all of my friends. If I didn’t go to school with you there’s a good chance I met you at the office.
After careful consideration, supportive nudging from Dad and much prayerful concern, I have decided, Dad is right! It is time I stop looking for a job, and look for work. I love to write and I’m looking for clients to join the one I already have (thank you Kris and Angela at Gebhardt Fine Art. Writing for you has truly helped me keep my sanity and exercise my skills). I’ll write just about anything, though I will not write term papers for students, a girl has to draw the line somewhere. But I am good at content for Facebook, websites, newsletters, brochures and I love the challenge of a good 140 character tweet. So if you find yourself in need of words call me, I can help, and remember you never outgrow needing your parents, we just like to think we do.