Name: Joshua Taylor
College & Majors/Minors: University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Children’s Literature and Child Studies
Current Location: Charlotte, NC
Current Form of Employment: ESL Teacher at Borealis Language Academy
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I currently work for Borealis Language Academy based in Charlotte, NC and I am currently a ESL Teacher.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first job ever was actually as a busser for the Flying Biscuit. They were opening their first location out of the greater Atlanta area and venturing into Charlotte. I was around 17-18 at the time so I simply walked over there and filled out an application. One interview later and I was hired.
As for how I found Borealis, I called a friend and former schoolmate of mine (I graduated first). She was a teacher there at the time, so I asked if there was a position open. She then gave me the contact information of the academic coordinator, to which I emailed him my career resume (I have two resumes depending on if the position is related to my degree. If it doesn’t, then I use my regular work resume). He then forwarded it to the director of the academy. We then set up an interview and I was hired upon the end of the interview.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
I focused on having a strong work ethic by not only ensuring that my grades were never below a C, but I also volunteered at my local high school's ESL program in order to gain teaching experience. Aside from the creative fiction assignments I did for class, I also wrote on the side and asked my professors about graduate school, should I decide to take that path. I think that holding on and remembering why you are studying English (either Literature, Creative Writing, Technical, or Language) helps you focus on what you want to do in life.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Be very flexible because being an English major has plenty of applications aside from reading and writing. We are rather good at analyzing, deductive reasoning and lateral thinking – all skills that not a lot of people have learned. Do develop other skills that pertain to your interest outside of English, because they can help you network a lot better. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your professors in your department for help. Chances are they have either made the same academic pitfalls or have seen others do it before you. They are also great resources in regards to graduate school – a window that you can peer in (especially the more recent graduates who are now teaching your classes).
Finally, for my fellow fiction writers. Write what you know is the worse advice you can ever get. Write about what you like and what interests you the most. Also, there is no one true format, so use whichever you can get the most out of. Short story and flash fiction is the most difficult of all but if you can master those, you can master novellas and novels. Also, take a page from your favorite author and emulate their style while developing your own. A national best-seller once told me that you are having a conversation with your favorite author by doing do. That being said, look at other mediums because some of the greatest stories have been told in ‘non-traditional’ formats (comics, movies, tv shows and record albums to name a few).