My Next Job

As thoughts of early retirement are debated in our household, I frequently wonder if I can handle writing full time.  I have a curious (a kind word) method of writing.  It includes lots of self-distraction, online shopping, Diet Coke guzzling and online bridge playing.  If I have all day to write ten pages, I’ll screw around for the first four hours before getting serious.  One would think I could just write the ten pages and then go out and play, but apparently my weird methodology doesn’t work that way.

That’s why–when I do hang up the teaching gig–I’m considering a part-time job.  I know, right?  Seems counter-productive.  But I figure it’s a way to ease into retirement.  I don’t embrace change easily 🙂

Problem is, the ideas I have for part time jobs don’t exist.  So I tend to try to make them up.  Like telling my principal that I’d like to work two days a week as an RTI Specialist (lining up learning interventions and analyzing data).  Unfortunately we don’t have such a position in the district. I figure she has time to create one in time for me to fill it.

I’m also certain that I would be superb as a beach reviewer.  If I could just find a job that would fly me to a different tropical beach for a week each month, I’d be glad to write a thorough list of the pros and cons of each.  I happen to be supremely qualified.  A–I own swimsuits.  Lots of swimsuits.  B–I have a proven and hard-earned tolerance to umbrella drinks.  C–I also own an extensive collection of beach cover ups.  I think we can all agree that I’m a natural.

Another void out there in the world today that desperately needs filling in that of Apologist.  Apparently the art of apologizing is lost somewhere between the age of 5 and adulthood.  Being a celebrity or a politician speeds up the loss of the talent.  But people are getting so appallingly bad at apologizing that clearly they need help.

As an example, (and there are always fresh examples) consider the douchey NH lawmaker who recently referred to women as vaginas in an email to his colleagues.  The context:  “What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course.”

I guess he was so confused on how to spell the female gender (wimmen?  wimmin?) that he just went with his very own synonym.  (We won’t even get in to his egregious misunderstanding of the proper use of plurals and apostrophes.)

But the worst part was what he did when he was called out for his words.  He followed step-by-step the anti-apology playbook:

1–Double down.  This is where the offender denies he/she said or did anything offensive.  He first told his critics, in part:  “…if you find the word vagina insulting or in some way offensive then perhaps a better exercise might be for you to re-examine your psyche.”  Ooo-kay.  My psyche is pretty convinced that he’s an f-wit.

2–Offer the non-apology.  The offender ‘pretends’ to apologize, but expresses no contrition, but rather shifts the blame on to the offended party.   The NH rep’s ‘apology’ was classic:  “It is apparent that the intent of my remarks has been misinterpreted, the true goal of the message lost and for that I apologize to those who took offense.”  There are a few variations on this ‘non-apology’:  “If you believe I meant to cause offense, I’m sorry.”  Or, “I’m sorry if you took offense at my innocent remarks.”  Which deftly couples steps one and two.

In my new gig as Apologist for hire, I would extract the word IF from all apologies.  I’d advise my clients (and oh, there are so many in the world in need of these services) there is no if in an I’m sorry.  You’re sorry or you’re not.  If you’re not, don’t apologize.  It just makes you look like a bigger d-bag.  If you are sorry, own it.  “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”  It’s really that simple.

Oh, and another clue?  Don’t apologize if you’re going to do it again.  That’s just introducing sand to the wound.  And I have a feeling my services aren’t going to come cheap.

Do you have another example of a non-apology?  What’s the classiest apology you’ve uttered or heard?

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19 Responses to My Next Job

  1. Willa says:

    Apologist?? Wonderful! 😀

    And I *so* agree with you . . . now, enough navel gazing and fluff picking – go write something 😀

  2. Kylie Brant says:

    LOL, the district expects me to actually, I don’t know, TEACH something for the next eight hours. But later….:)

  3. Mona Kekstadt says:

    Apologist or Beach Revewier? Both sound Wonderful!!! Those sound good to me. I myself are looking for a part time job..something along the lines of working with animals…
    Ok for the apology…it was a little while ago. Me and my friend had a pretty stupid fight didn’t talk for a while. We let someone else come between our friendship. She Facebooked by sister to ask how I was…anyway I made the first step and called her, someone has to. Right? She called me back. I told her that I acted childish and she was very important to me, she said the same thing back. We have been getting together at least twice a month….shopping a lot..I’m so glad she’s back in my life….

    This Blog is the BEST!!!! Can’t wait to start reading books for all you authors. From what I have been reading I’m liking a lot of them..they are right up my alley..
    Have a wonderful weekend all.

    • Kylie Brant says:

      Mona, an apology often means being the bigger person, doesn’t it? Taking that first step is the most important thing. I know a few years ago I got a very nasty email from a very close teacher friend. Just…nasty. My usual response would be to get ticked but ignore it, wait for her to come around. But in the end I sent her flowers because I assumed she was having a horrible day and something else was going on. Sometimes just a gesture to interrupt the bad spiral of a day is enough to make people realize they have someone who cares.

      • Mona Kekstadt says:

        Yes someone has to be the bigger person. Another friend of mine did that for me. It was a gesture and I knew she still cared about me. In a short time of knowing her we went through some much together. We live right next door to each other. She feels like a soul sister to me…so much alike.

  4. You could work overtime in DC as an apologist and not be able to address even the smallest fraction of need, there. With all of your prior experience, the beach analyst job might be the best option–barring the stress of coming back through customs each time. I want to know—do all of the Hollywood types have special lines somewhere, to avoid those hour-long lines with all the rest of us?!

    And tell us: what beaches are your all-time favorites thus far, and your favorite resorts?

    • Kylie Brant says:

      I’m pretty easy to please with the resorts. Although the ones with top shelf liquor and bar service on the beach impress me the most 🙂 So far nothing compares to the beaches of Punta Cana. But I intend to make it my life’s work to continue that comparison.

      • Mona Kekstadt says:

        Bar service on the beach is the best!!!! My sister and her family got to Punta Cana every year….my youngest nephew who is three Evan says Punta Cana so cute it cracks me up all the time…Now I’m just going to have to go Punta Cana and have a nice cocktail on the beach…

  5. Debra Dixon says:

    Yes!! Apology is a lost art. It needs to be taught in school. Maybe that can be your part-time job in retirement.

  6. Lois Greiman says:

    Beautifully put. And I don’t understand it. I apologize for everything because I’m pretty sure most of it is my fault. Probably not healthy but true. I also throw a lot of thank yous around. Not at all unheard of for me to thank the police officers who give me tickets. But I’m seeking help for that one.

  7. Kylie Brant says:

    LOL, I’m pretty sure it’s just because you’re a naturally nice person. I always tell my crisis kids that an apology is *powerful*. Done properly, it deflates anger and resentment. It often returns things to an even footing again. Because these kids so often lack control in their lives, putting an apology in those terms connects for them.

    I always get ticked when they hand me a ticket and then tell me to have a nice day! I always want to say, “Well you sorta put an end to *that*!”

  8. Teresa Hughes says:

    First, I absolutely loved your post!!

    Second, I hate when someone says…I didn’t mean that the way it sounded…um then why say it the way you did? My ex woujld say something totally out of line then blame me by saying “you just don’t get it”. My response was yeah I get that you are an a**hole and always will be! Thank God he’s my ex!!

    Thanks for sharing and giving me a few laughs!

  9. Kylie Brant says:

    Teresa, yes(!) on the comments by the ex. I especially loved when my m-i-l would make a cutting remark and laugh…like it was a joke. But it wasn’t. People like that are passive aggressive to the max!

  10. leannebanks says:

    Kylie, you are such a rock star! I think you would be great at all your suggested post-retirement jobs. Because I love you, however, I’m going to lean toward the beach reviewer. Mwah!

  11. Trish Jensen says:

    This is where my love of the South comes in. The, “Oh, you must have misunderstood me, bless your heart.” “She’d be so pretty if she just lost fifty pounds, bless her heart.” “He cheated on you? I can’t imagine why other than the fact that I’ve seen weasels prettier than you, bless your heart.” I’m a total apologist. I blurt things out and instantly say I’m sorry, that was rude! Wouldn’t need your services, but after enough time on the internet, know there are a huge number of people who could really use you. Unfortunately, they don’t see it in themselves.

    • Kylie Brant says:

      Trish, love that ‘bless her heart’ saying, too. It’s like a civil little dagger 🙂 The explosion of social networks has increased society’s incivility, I think. There’s nothing like anonymity to make people think they can say whatever they want.

  12. Donna De La Paz says:

    How about being a Spa reviewer? That would be the ultimate job and less calorie intake than a food critic. I once wrote a letter to the Spa Finder CEO telling her of my love of writing and spas and fluffing myself up for the perfect Spa critic or critique. It would be an all inclusive job: reviewing the ambience, services and quality of food. Sadly, the CEO never responded. Her loss. Maybe I could turn this into an intriguing story. At least she could have replied with something-a stale form letter would have been sufficient.
    Maybe you should teach writing to talented, frustrated stay-at-home Mom’s who want to make that next step in their evolution and not having to sell out to creepy Corporate America where a woman who is 45 is a considered washed up. Just a thought.

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