“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.”
“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”
Very good! This is a challenging word this week.
It is! Thank you for the compliments!
You said it. I remember a girl in my college class who had a felony. She was literally trying to turn her life around and just couldn’t get employed.
I’ve always thought the ability of former felons to get jobs was part of why you get repeat offenders – they’re left with no other option.
I guess one can’t hide the prison record. It’s tough. Very good writing.
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.
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.
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!
Yes, I know. Some HR does a lot of interviews even after the paper screening and do the second and third (final) interviews.
A great response to this challenge.
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’.
Haha, maybe! We’ll see if i can succeed.
You will! I have complete faith in you!
Great response to what has been a difficult challenge.
Thank you! Pirates are coming your way, haha!
I await in anticipation 🙂
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?
I like to imagine this character does okay in the long run!
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 🙂
Thank you! I hope to begin submitting again sometime soon. We’ll see!
Very true to life experience. If he really wants it he’ll get it. You can’t keep a good man down..