group of people in a meeting

Photo by on

“What’s this two year gap in your resume?” The hiring manager pointed to circled dates on the paper.  “What did you do there?”

Joaquin clenched his fist.  “There’s a Finnish word – sisu.  It means to keep trudging through multiple adversities.”  He tapped the circled words on the resume.  “That’s why I’m here.  I want this job because I can overcome my past.”

The manager scowled.  “So you were traveling?  To Finland?”

“No, I…”  He coughed.  “I was in prison.”

“For what?”

“Drug charges,” he squeaked.

She handed Joaquin his resume.  “Thank you, but we won’t be needing your services.”


This week’s Carrot Ranch prompt, sisu, was uniquely difficult.  In fact, I took way longer to get together a response than I normally would.

Either way, the idea of constant, grinding attempts to get back up after repeated adversity resonates very strongly with what I think a writer goes through.  After my first submission and rejection from a journal, I’m realizing how hard it is to crack through that layer of rejection.  How much worse, I then wondered, must it be for someone who can’t get a job?  Someone who has such a black spot on their record as prison?

Hence the story.


24 thoughts on “Sisu

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you!

      I’m always afraid of having gaps in my resume, but one that’s used for something like ‘prison’ probably hurts your hirability so very badly.

      • Miriam Hurdle says:

        I know about gaps in the resume. I was on the interview panel several times during my work life. I could tell someone who just read about the job but didn’t have experience.

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        My mom has to be on a lot of job searches at her work – choosing someone based off a couple pieces of paper and a 30 minute chat seems impossible!

  1. What Words May Come says:

    Your own advice is good, which is why one rejection shouldn’t dictate your future actions. You should see how many you can get until you hit pay dirt! Then, you can give those of us who haven’t tried yet some great advice! Just sayin’.

  2. Charli Mills says:

    One adversity leads to others. I hope this character presses on. It’s hard to overcome past mistakes that continue to hobble a person because no one wants to take a chance. And yet, who better to take on than someone who has overcome?

  3. Jules says:

    I read of several entrepreneurs who actually give folks with prison pasts a chance. One was a barber. I think your story captures sisu. Pressing forward with entries to publications also takes sisu. But you do have to be careful of vanity publishers. I almost got snagged twice.

    Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. And when you submit more than one piece and not all are accepted you second guess all of your other writing. Just press on. Not every piece is meant to be public. I’ve submitted to contests where I didn’t even get a response back much less a rejection letter. Just continue to write what you like. Blossom with sisu 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.