Susanne Dunlap

Are you a certified adult?

In Random thoughts, The writing industry, The writing life on September 17, 2010 at 10:33 am

As a writer of what marketing departments term “young adult” fiction, I woke up this morning wondering where I fit in the continuum of adulthood. I decided to make a little “certification test” and see if I passed it.

Multiple choice. Choose only one answer for each question. The test is not timed because by your age, frankly, you’re moving a bit slower and we don’t want that to influence the outcome.

1. You’re in a decent-paying job doing work that you’re good at. But your employer’s behavior is unethical and you and your talented colleagues are treated as easily replaceable insignificant minions. What do you do?

a. Make an appointment to speak with your boss face-to-face and make your feelings known, counting on him to “do the right thing” and implement changes in the workplace.

b. Work to rule, doing only the tasks you feel you are supposed to do, and avoid participating in deceptions that stretch the truth.

c. Quit.

2. Your dog wakes you up at six, clearly needing to pee, but your alarm isn’t set to go off until seven. How do you respond?

a. Get out of bed, turn off your alarm, take the dog out and decide to get an early start to the day’s work, because—what the heck—you’re awake already and the morning is beautiful.

b. Ignore the dog, whom you know will stay in your bed until you get up, and take her out when your alarm goes off.

c. Get up, take the dog out, turn off the alarm, get back into bed, and sleep for another three hours. Because after all, you don’t have to go to an office…

3. A colleague you’re working with points out something about the way you interact with others that is mostly true, but painful. How do you handle it?

a. Man up and make a conscious effort to change.

b. Have a frank conversation that explains your behavior, and why you feel that you have been unfairly cast as a villain.

c. Have that conversation only with yourself, and do nothing.

4. You’re struggling with balancing your time commitments, and feeling as though—despite recent changes—you don’t have enough mental space to do the kind of creative work you’re capable of. What do you do to fix that?

a. Take a close look at your commitments and gracefully bow out of the ones you can’t handle.

b. Get up earlier and try to manage your time better.

c. Gradually slide into a hopeless depression.

5. All around you, people whose work you respect are getting the recognition they deserve, despite difficult economic times and changes that are upending the book industry. How does that make you feel?

a. Genuinely delighted. Good writers deserve success.

b. Genuinely delighted. Good writers deserve success. If only you were one of them.

c. Genuinely delighted. Good writers deserve success. If only your work wasn’t complete crap, and you could hold your head up among them, success or not.

OK, so that’s the end of my non-scientific quiz. I’m not saying where I scored, but here’s how you can test yourself: For every A answer, give yourself 10 points. For every B answer, 5 points. For every C, 1 point.

35-50 points: Congratulations! You’re an adult!

20-35 points: OK, you’re getting there. Still some work to do.

5-15 points: What age did you say you were?

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  1. See – you *said* I was younger than I looked!

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