Eva Crocker; St. John’s
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I’m an editor and staff writer at a small, arts and culture paper called The Overcast. I also write fiction.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I did a masters in English literature at Memorial University in Newfoundland.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
After lots and lots of waitressing gigs, I got a job in communications at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival. I absolutely loved that job—I worked with a crew of smart, feminist women and I got to interview women filmmakers for the festival’s blog.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
I was really lucky to get to do a three-month editorial internship at House of Anansi Press in Toronto. While I was there an editor generously offered to read some of my short stories and give me feedback. When I got back home to Newfoundland, I received an email saying Anansi was interested in publishing my collection. I read it about 10 times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
Even after I’d signed my contract and passed in the final edits, I didn’t believe my book, Barrelling Forward, was really going to be published. Every time I told someone I felt like I was jinxing it. It wasn’t until the advanced reading copy arrived in the mail and I got to hold it in my hands that it felt real.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
I had an opportunity to attend a pitch meeting for a national magazine. I prepared three pitches and rehearsed them all day. When I arrived at the meeting there were six other writers pitching and they were all older and more established than me. I got nervous and didn’t say anything at all for the entire meeting. I was so mad at myself afterwards that I vowed never to squander another opportunity like that.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
I always tell people to apply for things—jobs, scholarships, residencies, grants, prizes. The more you do it the less the rejection stings. Plus, you get better at writing applications and up your chances of being selected.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
A lot of people tell me I should be a nurse. I really admire nurses and respect all the hard work they do, but I get squeamish if I see a hangnail.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I have heard that sexism is rampant in the publishing industry and I don’t doubt that’s true, but I’ve been very lucky not to have encountered much of it. I’m sure that partly has to do with the fact that I’m a white, cis woman.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make enough money to pay my bills and go out to eat sometimes doing a job I love. That said, it would be cool to have things like benefits and job security.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
The worst narrative I hear about millennials is that they are interested in identity politics because they’re narcissistic and self-involved. It ignores all the incredible work that has been done in the name of identity politics, like the civil rights movement.