Archives for category: Personal Rant

The last six months have been the biggest transition of my entire life. I have experienced more change in that span than I could ever imagine.

In this time I have gone from a college student to a professional, I have gone from working in a nonprofit atmosphere to an agency environment, I have moved from Austin, Texas to Washington D.C., I have gone from financially dependent to completely self sustainable. On top of all those things, one of my best friends got married, my parents sold the house that I grew up in, and I just found out that I am going to be an uncle (congrats Steve).

All of this change is a bit overwhelming at times. You struggle to find places where you feel comfortable, the people you are around are completely different, and at times, yeah, you do miss the sanctity of what you once called home.

But then I remember the reason why all of these changes occurred; opportunity. My brother is starting down a family path, my parents are selling their house to grow their business, my friend wants to be with the one he loves forever, and I…

Well I was given a chance.

From my personal experience, I can say that change brings on a completely new set of challenges. But the question that always puts change into perspective is “what about the alternative?”

What if I, or the people around me, never took the leap?

I plan to use this to drive me further in the future. Change can be scary, and for those of you who can see change in front of you, do what you can with it! Because change isn’t there to force you to be something you’re not, it is there to drive you to what you can be.

My story has had some fun and interesting plot twists over the past few months, but it is nothing compared to your story, I can’t wait for you to share it with me.

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I try to read as many other blogs as I can.

I even try to read the generic ones that offer “the 10 things you must do” or the “seven steps to success.” They are annoying and lack originality at times, which makes it frustrating to even consider the advice they offer.

However the other day I was reading a blog post offering advice about writing. The post was rather bland and really just focused on the basics. But guess what… it was stuff that I wasn’t doing.

My blog is not really focused on anything, it lacks direction and thus lacks followers. For me that is fine for the time being, because I like to use it as a sandbox for my thoughts and ideas. However I also use it to perfect my writing skills, and it was tough swallowing the fact that I really wasn’t writing good content.

So how do you write good content?

I don’t know… your guess is better than mine. But I do know that if you really want to improve your writing, yourself, or your world, you have to not only listen to counterpoints, but you also must be willing to swallow your own pride and submit to legitimate criticism.

So I will continue to read those lackluster blog posts and listen to their message, and will try to be willing to accept valid points when I am heading the wrong way.

So I ask you, are you willing to submit to new ideas, criticism, and admit when you’re wrong? Or do you get in the way of making yourself better?

My blog  just turned 40.

Like most that experience age 40, my blog is questioning itself in a weird mesh of reflection and bewilderment.

“How has there already been 40 posts?”

“Ugh, those paragraphs aren’t as tight as they used to be.” 

“Have I, after 40 posts, been successful?”

The interesting thing is that I feel a forty-year old would come to terms with the above comments much like I am coming to terms with this blog. A lot has happened over the time period of those 40 posts. The writing may not be as ambitious or written with the same intellectual vigor, but it has developed a tone; it now has structure. And yes it has been successful. It may not have won any awards, but it has carried a message, and has been received well by people.

So… am I supposed to buy a Corvette now or something?

Well, my blog is 40, not me, so I think the Corvette will have to wait. But in the meantime I do have some ideas for what I am going to do:

       1.     I am going to write to an audience, an audience that will listen.

When I started this blog it was intended to demonstrate that I was familiar to blogging, and meant to be a device to help me develop my writing skills. But I got tired of writing to some mythical job recruiter, and I decided to focus on writing to people who can identify with me. I will continue to offer this blog as a tool to recent graduates, employment seekers, and emerging communications professionals.

       2.     I am going to tell a story.

As I look back on some of my past writing, I realize that my best posts reveal something to the reader, and give them something that they can feel. A persuasive argument has no emotion, but an inspiring story can be quite persuasive and can hit people in the gut, where it really counts.

       3.     I am going to continue to strive for excellence.

While I feel I have made great strides in my writing, I want more. I want to engage a readership. I want to see a conversation take place via comments sparked by a thought-provoking post. I want people to tweet about my posts; to ignite conversations of their own. I want my pursuit of betterment to make other people better.

I do realize that those are some pretty lofty goals. But how else do you achieve greatness other than by setting the bar high?

I am fortunate though, to know what I need to do to achieve those goals: Listen. I will listen to criticism, I will listen to advice, and I will listen to my audience to make my online presence, worth something to others.

There is one more thing that I will try do start doing more frequently; leave with a call-to-action. So I say this to you: write. Write with everything you got. Put your head down on a piece of paper; punch out your thoughts on a keyboard. And if you are already doing that, great. Show me what you got. Share your writing with me, as I share with you. So that by the time you and I turn 40, our achievements will allow us to afford that Corvette.

Did you just graduate? …five months ago? or fifteen months ago?

So I am guessing you want a job. Well there are some things I would like you to consider, I am going to start with a cake analogy:

So we all know that cake is delicious. There are all kinds of cake, and cake can make just about any occasion better. And who makes the best cake? (Just answer that one in your head, it could be your Grandma, Aunt, Neighbor, or Person A.)

Well guess what, jobs are like cake, except YOU are the cook. Which means it is a little tougher to acquire said cake. And if you are anything like me, you have never really made a cake from scratch, so that can make it even tougher to enjoy cake.

But I do know that there are steps to making a cake, and I do know that there are people out there who have made some damn good cakes. I know there are some essential ingredients, and I also know that cake doesn’t just appear (although that would be nice).

Well guess what, all of the above applies to getting a job as well. There are people who know how to get a good job. There are certain ingredients that are necessary to getting any job. And jobs definitely do not just appear out of nowhere.

The best cakes are made from cooks that put meticulous amounts of effort into making their cake. They obsess over every step of the process, they always look for new recipes, and they always take a step back and sample their own work; they are their own toughest critics.

So I say to you, you can have your cake and eat it to. But you need to do your research; talk to people who have done it before. You need to know the ingredients; what people are looking for and how you fulfill those needs. You need to obsess over every step of the process, and understand that it is a process. And know that you have to be your toughest critic; always look for new strategies, and always look for what might be able to make your recipe better.

Baking a cake is hard, but finally landing that job you wanted tastes amazing.

There is too much clutter in world. Information overload used to be something you have to attempt to achieve, now you need to take extreme effort to avoid. A simple and longstanding premise has come to the forefront as the only solution to this; make it look simple.

The world is becoming more and more aestheticized to handled the new depth of information available to us.

This movement towards aesthetization can be seen in practically every aspect of our lives. People are supposed to look clean and appealing at all times. Magazines are supposed to have limited content and maximum visual appeal. And business presentations have never looked more artistic.

It is true that if we were just handed material with nothing but content we would never read; never learn. That is why it is imperative to have a collaborative mesh between creatives and content makers.

There is a mesh between creativity and content that is needed to make an impact.

I have seen more PR job openings looking for web developer/bloggers than one could ever imagine. I think that having the content maker be the designer and vis-versa is a direct path for failure. If someone holds that job, then half the time they will be serving a purpose that is not authentic to who they truly are.

Half PR Pro + Half Graphic Designer = Half-Assed Message 

There is a negotiation between aesthetics and content, one that I think is always needed to really deliver a message that has both cognitive and visual stimulus. I hope those people asking for all-in-one employees remember this and understand that such a case really negates collaborative creativity possibilities and will ultimately not enable their message to rise through the clutter.

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