6 Fairweather Labels We’re Over

To some extent, everyone identifies with some type of label. Whether the label is degrading or uplifting, politically correct or incorrect, somewhere in the world a label is waiting for you. Naturally, said labels are also served with a massive, Thanksgiving portion of stereotypes. Thanks to kids these days with their murder and texting* treading lightly is of the utmost significance in handling these labels. Keeping the peace and not telling people how we actually feel is, after all, the basis of American culture.

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But it’s not so cut and dry anymore. Back in my day when I was a squirt watching Tales from the Crypt and eating Gushers, labels had 1 meaning. You either were something or you weren’t. Accordingly, you either liked that person for their beliefs for being different or the same as yours or you wanted to bash their head in with a can of Aqua Net. Plain, simple and to the point. We all understood that when you associated with a label, way of life, or belief there was no “fine print” that came with it.

Until now.

Vegetarians

I have loads of friends and family who identify as vegetarian for various reasons. Some dislike meat’s sinewy texture, others do it for health-related reasons, and others are animal advocates whose hearts break at the thought of chewing the calf equivalent of Bambi. But some vegetarians don’t make it so simple for the rest of us.

“Yeah, I’m a vegetarian but can I have some of your $10 salmon? Well, I’m a pescetarian.”

Um…it’s not an astrological sign. You either eat meat or you don’t, PERIOD. The modern vegetarian has made it nearly impossible for the carnivores to determine an acceptable dinner menu to serve your indecisive ass.

Vegans

Understand you, I don’t. It’s not to say that I don’t get you and your beliefs. I just mean that I literally don’t get it. What are the rules? I feel like it changes daily. How can you live in American and be vegan? If I don’t invite you over for dinner, would you be offended? Right when I think I’ve caught a vegan eating a wild animal, they assure me rabbits are totally fine. I kind of think this is a secret society…

gollum

 

Agnostics

I used to identify as “agnostic” when I wasn’t ballsy enough to tell everyone I don’t believe in God so I get it. You’re not really sure what you believe but you believe in Yoda or some higher power that tells you it’s your destiny to eat that cupcake. But much like your first semester in college, just claim “undecided.” It helps the rest of us know whether or not we can tell the PIC jokes in front of you or behind your back.

Green People

Not martians, people who go ape shit for a burlap purse with which to sling their home-grown vegetables in. These people literally kill me. Going green is not a fad or phase, just ask pretty much all of Europe. Having those fun Publix grocery bags that are reusable only make you green if you use them…every time. I can’t deal with the lecture some of them feel obligated to blather on about as they scream at me from their Hummers. Surely every little bit helps but don’t scour at me when I hydrate with a Dasani and you can’t even spell Prius.

green

Someecards.com

Self-Proclaimed Nerds

It is my belief that if you have to “self-proclaim” yourself anything, you’re probably not. That’s like telling people you’re a self-proclaimed bj specialist. Do you think Jenna Jameson has to let people know she’s good at that? The same is true for this new wave of “nerds” taking over our great nation. Non-prescription glasses and plaid does not a nerd make nor does corresponding hash tags. Speaking in binary and thoroughly enjoying the thrill of building a computer, now we’re talking.

Sports Enthusiasts

This is not targeted at fans who have no effing clue what’s going on because as I’ve come to learn, that’s more people than you think. Not to mention, sports in this great country includes the experience of the event. But what kills me are those that swear by the Falcons or pray to the Manchester United gods during playoffs, only. Where were you the rest of the year? Where were you when Matt Ryan needed you in game two and you were too busy not knowing who Matt Ryan is? Being a part of the party is fine but then you’re just a party-goer who happens to like the color red, not a fan.

This isn’t meant to deter you from experiencing all that life has to offer and establishing new interests. It is meant to encourage you to know what the hell you’re talking about though.

 

*My sister is 100% to thank for this phrase and it should be known this is her doing, not my wit.

Survival Tips for Non-Ninja Females

Every day for the past week I have been walking to my fitness class. It makes neither European nor American sense to commute the distance from my house to the gym. I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy the serene time before I’m holding down vomit for 45 minutes and it doubles as a peaceful cool down thereafter. Despite the mostly acceptable neighborhood in which we reside and the current sunset time, I still imagine being mauled by an oncoming pervert.

stalking-is-when

AshBillingHay.co.uk

Being female, this is absolutely not shocking for me to admit and I know I’m not alone. Often if not every day, ladies encounter situations where we determine the nearest escape route, weapon or scathing line that might deter the psychopath from lunging at us, dick first.

It’s a natural fear that will likely never go away and has gotten progressively worse over the years.

A recent news story in Britain detailed an attacker who chose the wrong betch to eff with and got a beating deserving of his perv-asion.  The victim was 14 years old and had “years of martial arts training” that allowed her to not only remember all those hi-yas they taught her but to execute them flawlessly. She survived unharmed, her martial arts teacher started charging students more tuition and the attacker was ultimately caught. I’m pretty sure the writers of Frozen got soaked just reading about that but I became irate. Remember when Mary Swanson told Lloyd Christmas his chances were “more like 1 in a million?”

lloyd

Exactly. I would love to be as hopeful as Lloyd was in getting Mary as I would be in annihilating my attacker but that type of thinking will get you roped up somewhere living in a backwoods cabin for the next 20 years.

Instead, I take the “today is the day I’m going to be groped” approach and trust no one. Sure, that guy passing me on the sidewalk with a 1-inch ponytail and leather gloves might just have psoriasis but that won’t be for me to find out. I don’t have any formal martial arts training with the exception of cardio-kickboxing and boxing. So unless my attacker is hanging from a chain and is stuffed with foam I think the odds are against me.

Should I take self-defense classes? Dur. There is literally no argument that would suffice as to why that’s not a good idea. But I haven’t and I’m going to generalize by saying a lot of other ladies out there haven’t either. It’s not that I don’t want to I just haven’t made it a priority because I haven’t been scared straight. It’s easy to avoid learning a skill when you don’t think you’ll use it. What’s more is, I’m scared to learn this skill in a few empowering classes and 5 years later when I’m being diddled in an alley, I go blank:

Did my instructor say to the left, to the left or was that the Cupid Shuffle?”

Again, dumbest excuse ever but it’s my honest explanation as to why I have yet to take action. Being proactive is clearly the way to handle these situations and to prepare for the worst possible scenario. Until I decide to take the plunge into Self Defense 101 however, here are my go-to tips that have been met with nothing more than a few cat-calls (a completely different problem which I believe is dick-cutting worthy):

  1. Take self-defense classes – no explanation needed.
  2. Don’t go alone – Seriously. Stop being a fucking idiot and take someone with you. It’s one thing to be independent and it’s another to be stupid. If you are walking to your car, in the dark, and the street lights just went out due to a power outage and you’re wearing heels, take a friend.  My sister and I used to work in the service industry and she would call me on her way to the car so she could “describe her attacker to me.” Sound dumb? Don’t care because that guy never showed up.
  3. Don’t be friendly – This will do you zero favors, I promise you. Just mind your business and get where you need to go.
  4. Don’t draw attention – No, this is not one of those “she deserved to be raped because she was breathing” statements. Its just an extra precaution to take when in an already sketchy situation and has nothing to do with your clothes.
  5. Be prepared – My dad always taught me to basically assume everyone wants to murder and/or steal from you. He phrased it a little more eloquently but the lesson is still there. Don’t be distracted by your headphones, don’t be too engaged in your phone call and make sure you know the first thing you’ll do if a stranger’s hand finds itself on you.
  6. Weapon up – I was told my Mom bought a taser today waiting in the mechanic’s lobby so you have no excuses. Mace or pepper spray, a little pocket knife, your keys. Bear Grylls your mind around your purse and figure out what can be used to kick someone’s ass.

I successfully made it to and from my class today unharmed and only turned down one woman who offered me a ride. Hey, don’t be sexist, it could happen. I do promise if I have a run in or if I take a self-defense class, this will be the first place I go.

 

-Ess

Tanking Energy Levels

When were my preschool teachers going to tell me my youthful energy would quickly wear? Better yet, when were they going to forewarn me it would happen far before menopause or retirement? At 26, I feel this information would have been entirely more helpful than cursive.

meme

Memerush.com

Possibly the most infuriating part of becoming an adult is finding things out that seemingly no one cared to mention. I’m nearing my 27th birthday and still refer to men and women as guys and girls. I still don’t consider myself an adult and still look aspire to “be something special when I grow up.” So please tell me why the eff I am exhausted at a century old?

DAY TIME PLAYTIME

When the days are filled with chaos at work and clients are demanding erroneous things, I feel like someone hit my face with an iPad. Alternatively, when I exert minimal effort doing actual work and peruse Pinterest for the length of an American work day, said feeling continues to set in. Sometimes I attempt to outsmart my exhaustion by caffeinating hard, like really hard, like why can I hear my cells moving hard? By then my computer screen is shaking and that makes me tired. What about a workout you say? They give you so much energy and make you feel amazing, you say? Unless I missed a trick that the rest of the active world is doing, working out exhausts me beyond belief. I sleep great and don’t get night sweats from the day’s carb-loading but I pass out at an embarrassing hour.

WEEKEND WARRIOR

When the weekly grind is done and clients are no longer harassing me, I’m free to gallivant around in the nude until ungodly hours. False. The nudity is still rampant, of course, but I am still tired. Every weekend I sleep in until 9 or later after having gone to bed between 11p – 1a. As long as I have no interfering plans or I schedule my day around the priority that is my nap, Husband Face and I kill 2 hours of sleep around 3p – 5p. Coffee is guzzled and yet 11p arrives like a period; unexpected, loathed and painful to get through. Married to a sleep anomaly, I’m convinced that “you slept so long today you should easily be able to stay up until 2a watching South Park and giggling with me.” Maybe he doesn’t suggest giggle fits but they occur and are a treasured experience. Each weekend I have to suggest an excuse as to why I couldn’t hack it:

Friday night – I’m tired from the work week as a whole

Saturday night – I think the coffee wasn’t strong enough this afternoon and I worked out.

Sunday night – I need to get a good night sleep for the work week.

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

Despite my frequent and constant need to sleep, there is one scenario that defies all of my sleep logic. When I have been called upon to rage. Going out significantly less than my 20-year old self, it should make zero sense that I could hang until sunrise. But for some unexplained reason, the party fairy sprinkles her magical dust (this is not a drug reference) and I become a figure comparable to Frank the Tank.

frank

Quickmeme.com

Countless girls’ weekends have ended with people being genuinely shocked at my “abilities,” coupled with slight respect and possible fear. Yet, when the adrenaline of strip clubs and vodka sodas eventually wear, I find myself spending much of the following week being….you got it! TIRED!

DIAGNOSE ME

Because we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it wouldn’t be fair to ignore a possible diagnosis. According to WebMD.com, it’s possible I am tired because of how much I exercise, what I’m eating and how much I sleep. I’m pretty sure these 3 are true if they are “not enough” but we are well aware I sleep as much as a koala, I eat…oh, I eat and the exercise depends on how tight my jeans are but is regular.

Thanks to process of elimination (another fine skill my teachers paid little attention to honing but came in great handy), I’ve ruled the “top 3 reasons for fatigue” out.

Because it’s WebMD, that now means I am possibly:

  • Anemic
  • Deficient in key nutrients
  • Thyroid reject
  • Diabetic
  • Depressed
  • Sleeping problems due to sleep apnea
  • Heart disease

While none of those hit the nail on the head as I hoped they would, I am now depressed at the possibilities and fearful to eat cookies. As always WebMD, thank you for your guidance.

-Ess

Female Balls

Let me preface this post by stating how friggin’ excited I am to write about it. A massive thanks is owed to Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the inspiration and female-balls courage to do it. Also, I just figured out the title for this post.

fem ecard

Writing about an “ism” is hardly an easy feat. Freedom of speech becomes a slippery slope when these topics are discussed. As much as I admire those who can feel so passionately about these isms and defend them with every molecule within them, they are the ones that terrify me the most. One wrong comment, opinion or joke can mean a slew of cyber-bullies viciously attacking me in all caps. All jokes aside, an all caps message is terrifying when you’re on the receiving end of it.

But I’m an adult, damn it, and it’s time I start acting like one by having opinions about the controversial shit.

Until today, I hated the word feminism or feminist. Since I’m a woman, am I allowed to say that? Well TOUGH SHIT because it’s happening and all caps is ready to back me up. Before you start formulating opinions on the type of piss poor representation of a woman I am, let me explain.

My reasoning behind my distaste for these words is what people were making them mean. Feminism today doesn’t mean what our Rosie the Riveters intended it to mean when they put on all that denim. The voice that our predecessors fought so hard for us to have was becoming a voice that said how much better women were than men. That if men disappeared from this world, women would be better off. That we can fix our own cars, run our own companies and eliminate the NFL (stereotype). Instead of defending the intention for equality to exist, some women and feminists were becoming subject of many an eye roll. Of course, making a massive historical change such as giving men and women equal rights is something that requires the strength of screaming loudly when everyone wants you to shut up. But I never listened to the words being screamed and just assumed feminists were preaching about “no bra days” and demanding a female president, even if that meant Sarah Palin.

While there are extremists for every movement, it meant and means much more than the freedom to show tampon commercials in between the game. Feminism means having the balls to always stand up for the female population no matter the progress we’ve made. It means to make sure our voices are always heard even if people don’t like what we’re saying. It means being able to do all the fun shit men get to do and enjoying being better or worse at it. It means getting to swear and fart whenever the fuck we want. It means getting to go dress up and do our hair regardless of the “consequence of rape.” It means defending females against the fucking idiots who argue that rape is ever warranted. It means never being afraid to fight for a career and still wanting to be a housewife that drinks wine all day. Most importantly, it means never shutting up about it. The reason isn’t to say we aren’t grateful for what we have or that we can vote, or drive cars, or have infinitely more rights than women in other parts of the world. But feminism or any ism isn’t for any particular country, state or place. It’s for anyone who finds it important, anywhere in the world, man or woman.  If all the support on the topic can help even one woman have the rights she deserves, then it’s working.

lena dunham

 mtv.com

At long last, I am beyond proud to identify as a feminist to support equality and human rights. Along with my proclamation of “girl power” I also am happy to identify with any movement that aims to bring equality in an often uneven world.

I am fully aware of the opinions many will have of my rant and that’s fine. The best part about me having the right to post mine is you having the right to post yours.

 

Ess.

Savor the Memory

I get that it’s unfair for someone my age to complain about “the days of my youth” when, by some standards, those days are present. Rather than rant about the aches in my back and the hair sprouting out of my ears (the latter I’m still nervously awaiting), I’m feeling more nostalgic than anything else.

For my graduation present, my sister bought us tickets to “relive the days of my life before my educational journey began.” Her words, not mine. She also isn’t the type to say journey, she’s just hilarious. Immediately concerned and frantically running through the possible debaucheries she had planned, I was pleasantly surprised by tickets to…

Hope-Revolution-Tour-poster

Duplicating the days the entire nation went ape shit for black eyeliner and skinny jeans? YES, PLEASE! My sister’s devotion to Hawthorne Heights back in the day rivaled that of Penny Lane’s, minus the naked dancing. Her love and support of all things music meant my being her PIC for any and all local or major shows circa early 2000s. Granted the opportunity to travel back to a time where fist pumping and emaciated men were all the rage was the perfect gift.

Expecting to arrive at the usually packed House of Blues, we found a partially vacant and breezy. No sweaty, out of shape scenesters to elbow and not a PBR in sight. It was also abundantly clear the tour wasn’t meant to relaunch new albums but tantalize those of us dancing with 30 a visit back to Warped Tour. In fact, the tour was celebrating Hawthorne Height’s 10 year anniversary of their mega-album that made all the hunnies long to be the inspiration of Nikki FM.

The night was everything I’d hoped but different. Like visiting home and finding all your local hot spots being condemned buildings now. I mean the last time we saw these bands, I smoked menthols and my then boyfriend (now husband face) was sharing a house with 6 other people which was a real treat.

It made me realize that times in our lives are only as good as our  memory of it because that’s what lasts. The days of screamo bands are over just as much as chunky blonde highlights and khaki pants. As much as I long for simpler times, they’re meant to be savored in our memories. Life is a long ass journey that you can’t start over so freeze and bottle up every second of it to bring with you. Keep your old band t-shirts or concert tickets, take pictures of every person you meet and write down the seemingly insignificant moments. More importantly keep these nuggets of your life. One day they will serve as a reminder of how effing cool you were and how well you held your liquor. Your life is one giant memory of experiences so make sure you keep that thing sharp.

 

memories

 

On another note, I made myself a beet, carrot, apple, lemon ginger juice this morning to negate those Yuenglings I slammed at the show. The terror I see inside the toilet after consuming beets will never not give me cardiac complications.

Two Roads Diverged, and I…

Went back to school.

In 2011, I cheered and celebrated my academic achievements of completing college. Somewhere in the midst of getting married, graduating and training for my first and only half marathon that year, Bumfuzzled Jane was born. I cared for her in every way and got humbling feedback on her beauty. Devoting all of my now free time to her growth, she was thriving before my very eyes. But like any pageant mom, Jane wasn’t affording me the ability to handle the seemingly massive student loan debt looming nearby.

So I went back to school. This is 100% the reason I abandoned little Jane. I left her for dead in a public restroom toilet hoping no one would notice. I partially hoped she’d continue to thrive in that little toilet bowl and grow up to be the blog I’d always wanted her to be.

Last weekend I officially completed the feat that is grad school. Still awaiting my degree via post (online school problems), I am contemplating the meaning of life. Where do I go from here? Why is no one hiring me? Should I go ombre?  More importantly, should I rekindle the relationship with my long-lost blog?

Most of the future is unclear but a blonde ombre does look great on me. I also realized that Jane meant more to me than I previously knew. Despite the road I chose when two paths diverged, all journeys seemed to lead back here.

I won’t lie, I have been on a vigorous job hunt for 2 months and have copious amounts of free time. I’d like to think I won’t abandon her again when I pass into career-world but a relapse is always possible. At least to some extent.

Finally, as I return to becoming a full-time blogger and somewhat planning freak, I won’t make plans for her. I want her to dictate her own future and decide the tone, topics and content of which we publish. What I can confirm is it will detail you on every aspect of my adult life as I try to figure out what the hell is going on, it will be honest, it will be funny and it will be frequent.

Also, I’ll be trying a new sign off so bear with me as I nestle into something that fits.

 

Don’t be an idiot!

S

 

Becoming a Millennial

The millennials really fucked everything up for everyone. Left and right, people too young to rent a car are running multi-million dollar companies. What Kool-Aid did they get and why the hell was I not invited to that happy hour?

The foundations of our workforce were built in a time where having a long-term job with a stable company meant plenty of Wonder bread and Crisco to feed the family. Things like a 40-hour work week, 1-hour lunch breaks, not conducting business on the weekend and never on precious Sunday were created. Clearly, past generations weren’t planning on an Atheist population to exist.

But what if you’re not a millennial spending your Friday nights building alogrithms for the next social media craze? What if you missed the generational wonder and are a product of the 70s or 80s? Does hard work even matter anymore or do we all look pathetic for not having started a business?

While I have my fair share of gripes about the millennials, they are an anomaly to take notice of. Is it their “fuck you” attitude that makes the prime candidates to take a business risk? Do they have genius ideas because the rest of us just deal with sending a regular photo to a friend that lasts a lifetime rather than a dick pick that gets deleted in 10-seconds?  Pretty sure Snapchat was funded by politicians…

There is no one thing that defines a millennial with the exception of the time in which they were born. I only narrowly escaped this  horrid fascinating generation by a few years. I was born in 1988 and still understand the value of manners and busting your ass to reach your goals. I moved out when I was 18, you know, when you’re supposed to. I balanced school, work and an avid social life and never managed a DUI. I didn’t wait for people to praise me for my work ethic, I just paid thousands of dollars for universities to send me a degree to confirm that. When I fucked up my parents told me I did and that I needed to fix it.

If you were built on the same values but massively envy what appears to be shear luck of milllennial success, let’s hang out. Also, continue to read.

Why Millennials Succed

  • They don’t know any better – the older you are or the more you know, rather, the more you have to lose. You know what it means to fail and to fail hard. Psychology has a lot to do with success and if you don’t associate yourself with failure, you’re likely to succeed.
  • They see the solution to your problem -  our generation and those before us are satisfied and grateful for what we have and as the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Wrong. If it’s working fine, figure out a way to make it better, faster, stronger ( Thank you Kanye West) and the masses will love you for it.
  • They are impatient – another useless saying we were raised on is “patience is a virtue.” Millennials don’t have time to be patient when there are Coachella’s to go to. The desire or need to get results needs to happen as fast as possible. This could be mistaken for tenacity but because we’re talking about millennials they get impatient.
  • They don’t stress over a plan –  it’s safe to say they don’t stress at all but they definitely don’t stress over making a plan. Getting started immediately on the little things that add up to the bigger picture can shave months off the process. Not to mention, not having to visualize the steps it will take to reach their goal and doubting their success, they press on and complete what they can each day.

The true value in mastering these skills isn’t just throwing on some high-waisted shorts and starting a business. It’s being able to balance the enviable traits of old-school America with the annoyingly enviable traits of new-school America. You’ll set yourself apart from the dicks not knowing how to write a check or host a dinner party. You’ll also be able to thrive in the habitat of the most hated generation.

Sales is Everything

I blame the 90s for giving sales such a terrible reputation. Selling people overpriced products and services that either don’t exist or they don’t need seems to have been commonplace. While Wolf of Wall Street is merely a movie, it is based on factual events and factual characters. Not to mention, the wretched meltdown that involved Mr. Madoff a years ago was more factual than any of us wanted to believe.

Despite it’s reputation, I love sales. I love everything about the sale from prospecting to pitching to closing. Naturally, I haven’t always felt this way and haven’t always had such a passion for it. That came years after the ridiculous paychecks did.

My first sales job came to me when I was 21. By the time I could order a beer (let’s be real…it’s always vodka), I was raking in $1200 – $1500 a week. I wasn’t traipsing around the world in a private jet but I was making more money than I could spend at the time. It more than paid for the little amount of bills I had and the humble apartment I lived in. Before that job, I was making around poverty level which is more normal for a college student.

Aside from my seemingly natural ability to sell and the money I earned, I began to understand it on a grander scale. Sales doesn’t solely exist in commercials, car dealerships and telemarketing calls. Sales is everywhere. But it’s not just in places where you are being sold to. Chances are you’ve had some experience in sales without even realizing it. Interviews, first dates, class presentations. The ultimate goal is for your audience to like and want what you have to offer. Ta da! You’re officially a salesperson!

Sales is merely the art of reading, communicating and leading people into the direction you want. It’s not about controlling them and lying to them because that jeopardizes your repeat business, reputation and your effing morals! Essentially, the better you are at sales the better you are at reading people, communicating with them and understanding them. Call me crazy but last time I checked you’re going to need to do that for the rest of your life. Why not get good at it and make mad money?

I don’t mean to say that every person will excel at sales because that’s not the case. It does take a certain type of person to do the job and continually do it well. But if you won’t know you have this potential and never tap into it, you’ll never discover you’re one of those people.

Before you jump the gun and prejudge a position that entails sales of any kind, give it a shot. Chances are you’ve probably already had a successful sale or two under your belt.

 

What’s in an Interview?

Whether you’re 14 going on your first interview at Burger King or 55 interviewing for the countless time, all interviews share commonalities. The interviewer aims to catch the interviewee off guard with thought-provoking questions. Meanwhile, the interviewee’s deodorant is working overtime and a near blackout experience occurs. Eventually, the sweat deposits you once formed as a youth are less substantial as you’ve gotten some practice under your belt.  Over time, the interview becomes a conversational game that both sides aim to win.

Interviews are never about the face value of the questions asked. This is the difficult concept many won’t realize until they’ve been passed over on positions they swore their bubbling personality would award them. The truth is that interviews are a mixture of psychological analysis and communicative bliss.

Telling The Truth

When I was younger I thought interviews were an opportunity for me to express my thoughts, beliefs and personality in safe zone. This is very false.

I don’t mean to say you can’t be yourself, express your beliefs and elaborate on your hobbies, but realizing how to communicate this is the crucial step. Failing to recognize what the questions you’re being asked mean can cost you the job you’re dying to land. Interviewers want to know who you are but they don’t want to know all of you. Think of interviews as a first date. Would you tell the hunk across the table you spend most of your Sunday sitting in your own weekend filth, shoving pizza down your gullet and waxing your hereditary ladystache? If you answered yes to this I won’t hold my breath on a “save the date” from you. Assuming you said no, the same can be true for an interview.

The conversation is scheduled to make sure you’re not a raving lunatic that dresses as a pirate outside of work. Aside from your external appearance, the conversation also aims to dig into who you are and if that person fits in with the culture and can help achieve the company’s goals.

I don’t encourage lying in an interview because eventually that shit will come out. “Sure, I can code…” But I also don’t mean to encourage telling the full truth if it’s going to hurt you.

Interviewer: “Have you ever had an issue with anyone you’ve worked with?”

Truth

Interviewee: “Yes, at my old job the Human Resources manager and I didn’t really get along but I get along with everyone else!”

Ideal Answer (also truthful)

Interviewee: “Working with people can be extremely challenging because of the mixture of personalities but I am very professional in how I handle difficult situations and always welcome the experience to work with new people.”

Nailed it.

The interviewer knows not everyone can get along but they do want to know you’re not an erratic employee that throws staples at people. By delivering an honest and professional response will speak volumes next to the content of the actual answer you provided.

It’s Not Just You, It’s Them

Feeling the pressure of your next interview? Don’t stress just yet. Half of being comfortable in any given situation is knowing the other person involved is feeling the same way. Finding solace in their pit stains isn’t entirely what I mean but is somewhat helpful. Realizing the interviewer is also nervous or anxious to find a good candidate can help calm your nerves.

The interviewer is looking to fill a position in the company that is either not filled or is poorly filled. Of course you know this when you found the opening, but it’s easy to forget. Thinking of the position as a casting call is one way of looking at it but could hinder your confidence. The company wants to present themselves in a specific way too. Projecting their culture, their benefits, their current team and other cool-sounding aspects of their business pulls you in. Sure, you’re the one who applied for the job but aren’t they the ones who were looking first?

How to Be a Better Interview

Being better at an interview means getting in practice. As the age old lesson taught us, practice makes perfect. Yet another realization we come to as adults that perfection is not achievable but was the only alliteration-compatible word that fit there.
Aside from practicing with your reflection the ideal questions you’d like to be asked then getting sidetracked by your receding hairline, think deeply about their content. More importantly, think even deeper about your response.

  1. Pause before you answer – Unless you know how to respond like a boss and blurt out the answer to display confidence, stop. Take a moment to digest the question, understand the “why.”
  2. Change your resume – At any given time, you should have several copies of your resume ready to send and use. If you’re applying to be an accountant you wouldn’t put your experience as a substitute teacher as a focal point. Knowing how to rearrange your skills and past work experience to feature the relevant stuff will show them you know what you’re looking for.
  3. Do your damn research – If I host one more interview that knows zilch about our company I’m going to Hulk out. Why should I care who you are if you don’t care who we are?
  4. Change your answers – This one is similar to #2 but relates to the actual interview conversation. I always ask those candidates interviewing for sales, “What is your motivator? What drives you?” Too often I get “being happy,” or “my family.” While I appreciate your sincerity we all know the answer is “money” or “being the best, being successful.” Tailor your answers around the position you’re applying for so they make sense.

Before you begin applying for that dream job, take a moment think about the process on a deeper level. Remember that not all interviews are a perfect skill-set match to the job requirements. Sometimes a great interview allows the company to invest in the belief that individual can be great.

Be infinite!

 

Assertive > Door Mat

I’ll go on record to say that Bambi’s mother should have been spared and Thumper’s life taken to become a really soft coat. P.E.T.A can’t get pissed because it ain’t real and I’m in full support of 3-D animals’ rights.

I say this because Thumper taught my generation and millions of other children that “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Fuck that shit.

I spent the first 20 years of my life being “the sensitive one” and would whimper at the sound of a loud voice. Conflict induced nausea and something similar to topical heat stroke on my chest and neck. I was a complete pushover when it came to any decision needing to be made that didn’t involve my weekend drink of choice. Did someone say Franzia?!

When I turned 21, I was hired into my first “real job.” When my friends were still partying and stumbling into their closing shifts at Olive Garden, I was putting in 40-hour work weeks during normal business hours. While the job’s hours didn’t change me, the responsibilities required did. The position was a sales job that helped people get out of debt. The closing tactics I learned became addicting to use one people. By using basic psychology and decent communication skills, I was able to control people down the path I wanted them to go down.

Before you whisper that I am the devil’s baby and start calling me Wolfie, it was nothing like you see in the movies. Our company helps people get out of debt and contacts people who applied for the help. We don’t take money from people and invest it in overpriced vacuum cleaners that don’t exist. Regardless of the comparison between the Wolves of Wallstreet and more innocent sales people is that we’re all the same. We all want you to take what we have and want it so badly you can’t ever see why you never had it.

Being in sales you can’t be timid or insecure in any way. Think of a sales person you know and think again if they’re you’re most quiet friend? Doubtful. They are loud, they’re assertive, their borderline arrogant but they can sell a bike to Stephen Hawking if called upon.

Assertive not Asshole

The number one assumption is that if you’re assertive you must be a raging assface. While that may be true for some, unlucky people, that isn’t the true nature of assertion. Actually, if you’re an asshole when you’re attempting to be assertive then you’re doing something wrong.

Being assertive means being able to project your point with so much confidence few people argue or attempt to sway you otherwise.  Throwing in the dickhead factor only makes people want to punch you in the face. Staying confident in your beliefs while being considerate and open to rebuttals will make your point stronger while attitude is looked at as being a weakness or immature.

This isn’t usually a skill found in young people because they’re still figuring our their confidence levels and understanding how to communicate in full sentences. Becoming assertive is a process that takes time and practice. You’ll have attempts at it that don’t work because you second-guessed yourself. Other times you’ll get a wild hair up your ass and try to fire a random bystander. Over time, however; the process will become easier and you’ll be eternally grateful for the rewards you’ll reap.

Why Be Assertive?

Because being assertive gets shit done. Unless you’re still living as your 4th grade self, you know the world is a nasty place. I’m an optimist but I’m also a realist. The older I’ve become, the more I realize the “let’s all hold hands and sprinkle glitter on each other” is less of an eternal truth and more of a gay pride gesture.

As Hobbes and Machiavelli explained, we’re inherently evil creatures that operate under a self-interest. I don’t necessarily think anything is wrong with that simply due to nature. Have you ever seen a spider let his friend eat the food he caught in his elaborate web? Fuck no! He ate the hell out of that fly and his friend in any attempt to take it. It’s not because said spider is an asshole it’s because he’s being assertive and taking what he’s rightfully earned.

The world doesn’t have to be a miserable place where people don’t speak to one another or help out for the greater good. I’m in full support of helping each other out and being decent human beings along the journey of life. But as much as you shouldn’t confuse being assertive for being an asshole, don’t also confuse being nice with being a push over.

Saying something people don’t want to hear makes us uncomfortable but being uncomfortable makes us grow. We adapt to a way to get past it and find confidence solace in a new area of comfort.

How To Be Assertive

  • Don’t Ask – my German mother taught me that to get people to do what you want, tell them don’t ask them. While that might be slightly aggressive for some, it works.
  • Be Confident – any sense of insecurity will allow those more assertive than you to smell that bullshit from miles away and cower beneath them.
  • Avoid Aggression – being well-spoken, confident and calm is one of the sexiest set of characteristics anyone can have. The second you get loud, aggressive or disrespectful in any way, you’ve just ruined any shot at people respecting and complying to you.
  • Respect > Fear - as Michael Scott so profoundly put it, “Do I want people to love me or fear me? Both. I want people to be scared of how much they love me.” Nailing assertion means gaining the respect of your audience, not compliance through fear. 

I guarantee if you master this life skill you will lead an infinitely more satisfying life. Protecting you and furthering your self-interest will only happen if you make it so.

Be infinite!

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