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.