Mental Quicksand

Fear is quick sand. It’s a pair of cement shoes weighing you down. It pulls you down and envelopes you until there is no light, no escape, and no forward progress. You can fight as much as you want, but it will only drown you quicker. You see the world pass you by as you suffer in silence. You wish you could do something, but no matter what you do, no matter how close you get to the surface, you still drown. The only way to escape it is to accept it and let it take you.

There’s a Pixar movie called “Inside Out” that really made me think. Essentially, your emotions are anthropomorphized beings who work in your head, effecting how you perceive the world, with one emotion holding the wheel. Ever since I saw that movie, I’ve wondered which emotion of mine holds the proverbial wheel, is it anger, fear, sadness, joy? I’m torn between anger and fear. I’m angry because I have ridiculously high expectations of myself and everyone around me, and get upset when they don’t live up to my expectations. I’m angry because I’m an emotional punching bag for hundreds of assholes at my bullshit minimum-wage job. I’m angry because I could’ve been better and achieved everything I wanted. But I’m also scared of everything, which is probably why I’m miserable.

It shouldn’t be this hard. Why can’t I overcome my fear when so many others can? Do you think that a Russian Infantryman in Stalingrad wasn’t terrified? No, but he muscled through his fear and achieved his goal, or died trying. What the fuck is my excuse? I want to be better, but there is this mental brick wall that I keep running into preventing me from advancing, and nothing I do can penetrate it. I wonder what the future holds, if this is just a temporary setback, or if it’s the battle of a lifetime.

Persistence Is Key

“You don’t start out writing good stuff, you start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistance” Octavia E Butler

I ran into this quote recently, and it got me thinking. I don’t think my writing is good, I edit and re-edit, and completely erase parts I don’t like, only to wish I hadn’t minutes later. I’ve been in a bit of a creative rutt lately, I’ve still got ideas, but executing them has been harder than usual lately. Maybe I need to go outside more, maybe I need to switch up my routine, maybe I’ll bounce back in a couple weeks, I really don’t know. What I do know is that I’ll probably still make terrible blog posts, until I don’t. I’ve found that the posts I work really hard on don’t do as well as the posts I shotgun out in 20 minutes, so maybe I don’t know what “good” looks like.

I think about all the things I’ve quit at; soccer, baseball, my pre-law major, my philosophy major, my journalism minor, and I can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like had I persevered. That Octavia Butler quote makes me think about the inevitable day that I quit writing, since I know that some day I’ll get a real job that keeps me busy enough that I won’t have time to write blog posts on my phone at work. I hope that I still have the time to write, it’s weirdly cathartic to bitch about things you don’t like on the internet for people you’ll never meet to read.

I’ve definitely improved my writing skills since I’ve started blogging, I don’t know if it’s been by much, but I can clearly see an improvement over even my first couple posts. Reading some of my early posts makes me want to go back and edit them and make them semi-decent, but part of me wants to keep them the way they are as a sort of time capsule of where I was at that point in my life, even though it was only a couple months ago.

Your Brain on ADHD

*Alarm buzz*

Time: 9:30am

“Ok, I’ve got time, I can totally just close my eyes for a sec..”

-20 minutes later-

“Shit, I actually have to get up and do things now. I wonder what happened to Shaggy?”

-30 minutes later-

“Ok, so Shaggy was a Marine who served in the Gulf War and sang to pass the time. Let’s see if I can find any pictures of him in uniform, because that doesn’t sound true”

-3 pages of Google Images later-

“Shaggy is an interesting dude, I didn’t know there was a recognized legal defense based on “It Wasn’t Me”

-10 minutes of watching YouTube videos of people losing their shit at Popeyes-

Time: 10:30am

“Huh. I was supposed to do something today, I probably should’ve written that down so I would’ve remembered”

“I wonder if squirrels have names for each other. I wonder what my name would be if I were a squirrel. Squirrel is such a weird word, who came up with that?”

-1 deep dive into the etymology of the word “squirrel” later-

“Damnit, I was supposed to take the trash out for the garbage people today, guess I’ll have to survive until next week.”

“What should I have for breakfast, I’ve been in a toast kick for a minute, but I don’t have much time, so I should have cereal or something quick.”

“I wonder how many Cheerios are in a box, has anyone ever counted them?”

“Shit, I’m late for work, I don’t have time to finish breakfast”

-5 minutes of picking the right album for the ride to work-

Time: 11:30am

“Why is there so much traffic, I didn’t know this many people lived in this town, what the hell?”

-Arrive to work 5 minutes late-

“Everything at work is broken, this day will probably suck. An Always Sunny and Workaholics crossover would be great, I wonder what that would be like”

-Write a spec script on the back of a receipt-

Time: 12:05pm

Only 9 hours before I get to go home…

How To Get A Job In Marketing

Getting a job is tough. You spend so much time making sure your resume is polished and your LinkedIn profile is set up, only to have all that work ignored. I’m dealing with that part myself right now, so I figured I’d try and help people who are in a similar situation.

Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

If you live in a well-populated area, or even close to one, look out for job fairs. These are good places to make connections, and put a face to your name. Try not to be too eager, but be persistant, and make sure you bring multiple copies of your resume to hand out.

If you’re just looking for something short-term and flexible, try your local temp agency, they rely on getting people jobs quickly, so if you’re in a pinch, and can make an appointment with a temp agency, do it. Even if you’re looking for something more permanent, temp agencies can help you, some jobs are temp-to permanent, so if you do well, you could find yourself in a decent position.

If you’ve got some decent sales abilities, you can try looking up companies you want to work for, and send them an email. Usually, this doesn’t work, but I’ve heard a few success stories, so you never know. Try writing your email like you would a sales letter or any other piece of copy, except think of yourself as the product. Highlight your abilities and ways you can benefit the company, while not sounding like a robot.

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial attitude, and some confidence in your abilities, you can try freelancing on sites like Upwork and Fivver. These sites have entry-level work that you can do from your home. Some posters offer low pay for unreasonable amounts of work, so make sure you clearly understand what your client expects of you before you accept the offer.

Non-profits are always looking for help and, contrary to their name, some of them pay pretty well. If you see a non-profit that supports a cause you care about, reach out to them and see if you can help them. It might only be a small project, but you’ll get your foot in the door, gain some work experience, and support a good cause all at once.

Use Social Media

Social media has changed the way we do things, from how we share videos, to how we communicate with each other. This makes it a perfect place to look for advice, networking, and eventually, a job.

A lesser-known place to network is Reddit, a collection of message boards based on a common interest. The r/marketing and r/advertising boards are filled with people in the industry, and are usually happy to guide students and graduates, and job postings are made once a month, so you can expand your search.

Facebook can help you get a job too. Besides being a place where uneducated morons vomit out their opinions. Facebook is home to tons of different groups, and those groups can be very helpful in finding a job, learning more about a certain niche, or even just networking with people. I’m part of a couple copywriting groups, solely to have my copy torn apart and improved by random strangers on the Internet, and it’s helped me immensely.

LinkedIn is an incredibly useful tool that I had written off for a very long time, but now that I’ve graduated and really need to find a decent job, I’m starting to realize how important it is. LinkedIn is social media for your career, so don’t put anything stupid up there, pick a profile picture that makes you look professional and hireable, dress to impress, and for God’s sake, smile. After you apply to a company, check out their LinkedIn page, and follow them. This lets them know you’re serious about working with them, and is a nice look into the type of content they share and the feedback it gets. You can also add your friends and acquaintances to your network, you never know who might know who, so it’s good to cast as wide of a net as you can.

Assorted Helpful Tips

Now, there are a few more things you can do to spice up your resume, and show you’ve got what it takes. There are also some sketchy companies put there looking to prey on your desperation and inexperience, so I’ll tell you a little about how to avoid getting taken advantage of.

First thing’s first, if you’re reading this post, you more than likely have your own blog. That right there is your first resume builder. Take your blog, and apply your knowledge to it and make it grow. The longer you do it, and the more traffic you get, the more value you’ll show to potential employers. You can also use your blog as a testing platform and see which types of content work, and which to avoid.

If your job doesnt have a dedicated marketing role, take some initiative and write up an outline of what you would do, and take it to your boss. They might see some potential in you, and it’ll quickly add work to your resume.

If you’re not sure if you know enough to be successful at your first “real” job, you can alway learn more by getting certifications from Hubspot and Google. These can be useful, and it’s another thing to add to your resume. The ones I recommend are Hubspot’s Content Marketing, Inbound and Outbound Marketing, and GoogleAds. These should prepare you for what you’ll most likely be dealing with.

There are a lot of misleading job postings filed under “marketing”, so make sure to always research the company before you apply, and if you see a posting that doesn’t look right, check Glassdoor and see what employees say about the company. Most of these companies use phrases like “residential marketing” or “field marketing” or “in-home marketing”. Don’t be fooled: they’re usually door-to-door sales gigs that burn through people constantly. I recently fell for a well-disguised posting for an Advertising Account Coordinator that turned out to be a bogus sales job selling cut-rate phone plans. Always do your research.

Lastly, think outside the box and do some spec work for fun. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should challenge you creatively. I started learning Premier Pro by making really terrible music videos using YouTube footage that I cut together. Whatever it is, make sure you find a way to enjoy it, and find a way to learn from it. I like to save my early attempts so I can see how far I’ve come.

So, that’s everything I know about finding a marketing job. I hope it helped someone start their career. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Musical Motivation: A Story of Productivity

Today was a good day, I actually finished everything I wanted to get done. Usually, I only get to two or three things on my To-Do List, and get distracted and end up doing something completely different. What changed? That’s simple: music choice and medication.

I woke up at 7:30, which wasn’t planned, but super useful because I forgot to take the trash bins out, and I’m not too fond of letting this week’s trash become next week’s partially-decomposed sludge. After rushing outside in my sweatpants, I tried to go back to sleep, because why not, it’s my day off, I deserve to get some beauty rest. I was unsuccessful. 8:30 rolls around, and my Adderall is starting to kick in, so all hopes of sleep fly out the window.

I had no idea what I wanted to do today, so I do my usual job search, typing in “marketing internships” and “content writer” into Glassdoor, and applied to every job I think I could do. Now, usually, I get about 4 pages into the suggested jobs before getting distracted. Not today. I went into a groove, which was helped by the groovy tunes I had in the background (Mississippi Mud by Black Blood & the Chocolate Pickles), and next thing I knew, I was on page 36, and had applied to more than 20 jobs.

Now, I can tell the difference between “hyper-focus productive” and “Medicated productive”, and this wasn’t either, I think this might be the start of something new for me, I might not be a slacker anymore. I hope this continues, and I hope I continue to crush this job search, because if there’s anything that I’ve learned over these last 5 years, it’s that I never want to work fast-food again, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Now, this post is called “Musical Motivation” for a reason: I’ve been switching up my music choices, and I think it’s actually doing things other than broadening my sonic horizons, I think it’s actually improving my mood and how I think about things. Usually, I listen to super depressing music, which probably isn’t good for me, but it feels incredible to listen to someone who understands how you feel, and connects with that. My favorite time to listen to music is that time of night between 12am and 2am, I think there’s something about that time that brings out a different side of music, especially sad music. I think my late-night listening, mixed with sleep deprivation, has taken me off my A-game, but I think I’ve found a great replacement for it: morning music.

Now, I’m terrible at getting up in the morning, I usually sit in bed until I absolutely have to get up, or if I have to go to the bathroom, but today, I was wide awake, and had nothing better to do than get things done. I think that if I go to bed early, and wake up early, not only will I get better sleep, I’ll get better results from my job hunt, my gym time, and my relaxation time, because what could be better than completing all your To-Do’s for the day at noon?

Why Going to the Gym is Great

When you hear people say they want to get into shape, where do they always say they’ll go? The gym. Where do those people never end up going? The gym. They’re missing out.

I have a lot of pent-up energy thanks to my ADHD, so I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to manage that energy. The most efficient way I’ve found is hitting the gym. The gym is the best place for me to burn off that pent-up aggression and anger and turn it into something productive. My gym routine is simple: I start off with a nice stretch, just to knock the dust off and limber up a bit. This is to make sure that my body doesn’t break more than it’s supposed to. After I’m good to go, I get on the bike and do 20 minutes of rigorous cardio while making fun of my friends on Twitter and checking the news. After burning a couple hundred calories, and losing faith in humanity, I move to weights. My weights routine is pretty simple: the first day I start with the lowest weight that provided resistance, do a set of 25, take a 30 second rest, add 10 pounds, rinse and repeat until my body decides that I should stop. This probably isn’t the most efficient workout, but it works for me. By the second day, my body usually isn’t too pleased with me, so I go a different route, quantity over quality. I start with my usual stretches, but instead of punching my muscles in the face, I take it nice and slow. I start around 60-70lbs and do 5 or 6 sets of 30. After working on all the various muscle groups and jamming out to some angry music, I grab a protein shake and go home.

The gym is very important to me, it keeps me balanced, and I definitely need to be balanced. Whenever I miss a day, not only does my body feel like it’s missing something, my mind does too. Whenever I get irrationally angry and grumpy, I can tell that I either need to hit the gym or write to make all that bad voodoo go away. The most important part of my gym experience is the music I bring with me. Usually, I like to fill my playlist with music that motivates me to go a little further, or that pisses me off enough to push through the pain. Recently, I’ve been putting a lot of Bobby Shmurda, Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and All That Remains on my gym playlist. These all help put me into the mindset that I can do anything, and that anything that gets in my way will be destroyed. It’s easy to run 5 miles when ScHoolboy Q is (allegedly) shooting up the block over a DJ Dahi beat that sounds like the soundtrack to a home invasion.

In summary, for those of you who like to skim through articles, GO TO THE GYM. You won’t regret it, and you’ll feel better about yourself, and your physical ability.

The Pharmaceutical Paradox

If you have ADHD, you may have had the same problem I had today: I’m out of Adderall, and need to get more. I need to call the doctor’s office, drive over there, wait for my prescription to be ready, drive back to a pharmacy, and wait until it’s filled. This is a lot of steps for someone who can’t really focus or do anything without their meds. There are so many steps that need to be done in order for me to get the thing that helps me focus. Instead, I got distracted and didn’t do any of them.

I knew I was in trouble when I had the random urge to play Civilization 5. If you’ve ever played before, you know that it’s a great way to accidentally spend 6 hours. Civilization, if you haven’t played it, is a turn-based strategy game where you build a civilization, grow it, and try to take over other civilizations. I at least tried to be responsible: I set an alarm for 45 minutes so I could go over and get my meds, but disaster struck with 15 minutes to go. In the game, you have opportunities to build famous landmarks, and I had almost completed the Sistine Chapel, only to have it snatched away from me by the Aztecs. All semblance of responsibility and time-management went out the window, and I devoted the next 4 hours to destroying their civilization and burning their cities to the ground. It was glorious, but it also ate up my chance to get my prescription filled.

There should be an auto-refill option for people with ADHD, so I can pillage Aztec cities with impunity, and not have worry that I might get distracted or forget to do something.

Why Failure is Important

Everybody has failed at something, if you haven’t, you’re probably not good at anything. Failure is incredibly important, but no one wants to fail because it makes them feel like failures themselves. This is why failure is so important: it fuels you to do better.

I fail all the time. Usually, I just pick myself up and move on, but sometimes that failure builds up, and becomes permanent. The more I fail, the angrier I get, and the angrier I get, the more I fail, so I’m trying to just roll with the punches and accept failure as a learning experience. I’ve been trying to get a new job for the last few months, sending out dozens of applications every week, usually to no response. This hurts more than I’d like to admit. It sucks that I’ve put so much work into trying to be better at what I do, only to have nothing to show for it. Maybe it’s for the best, I’ve worked so hard, given up things that I enjoy, prioritized my goals over everything else in my life, just to be kicked in the face. I’m not going to give up, rejection makes me want to work even harder to show that I’ve got what it takes to get where I want.

Failure isn’t fun, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t feel good, but it is one of the most important feelings that we have. If failure felt good, no-one would try to better themselves, no-one would try to change their mindsets, no-one would ever think that they could do better. Every time I write a blog post that no-one views, I get a little bit sad, but that feeling goes away quickly, and I learn from my mistakes and adapt. I see my friends fall down when they start to care too much that they refuse to act, and I get it, some people are so scared of the downsides of life, that they forget the upsides and hide from them. You can change. You can be better than you are right now, but it will cost you.

Failure is educational because it lets us see how our ideas work in real life. If you think that you have a good idea, and you decide to take out a business loan and run with it, you could end up bankrupt. You get to see what worked and what doesn’t work, and that is more valuable than people think. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to make the same mistake twice, so if I identify a problem, I do everything in my power to prevent making it again.

I hope this reaches someone who needs it, too many people let failure run their lives. Picture it this way: working out doesn’t feel good at first, but when you look at your six-pack abs in the mirror, you feel damn good. It’s usually worth it, so what are you waiting for, go out and fuck something up.

The Poisonous Pursuit of Perfection

“Nobody’s perfect” is such bullshit. I know quite a few people who are perfect; perfect jobs, perfect relationships, perfect bodies, perfect lives. The thing I don’t see is how achieving perfection affects them. I’m a perfectionist, I don’t like putting things out that haven’t lived up to my colossal standards, and that holds me back greatly, and I assume it’s the same for those people. My problem is that if something isn’t “perfect”, I’ll pick it apart until it’s completely different from what I started with. Then I start to think “You fucked it up, run it again.” That starts a cycle of edits and self-doubt that lasts until I either get angry and quit, or create something I think is great.

Perfection is such a shit concept. The idea that something can be so good that nothing can change it for the better is such a toxic idea. I’ve had nights where I couldn’t sleep because I had a test a week later, and I knew I could be studying, which lead to me doubting myself, which fucked my head up enough so that when I don’t do as well as I think I should, I think that it’s because I’m not as smart and talented as people think, and not because I didn’t sleep for 2 days before the test.

Long-term perfection is hard. Do you know how often I mess things up? Literally every single day. Those “perfect” people have to be the same way. There have to be Buddhist monks, who have devoted their lives to being self-actualized, who have probably cut someone off in traffic. Elon Musk must have loudly farted in front of potential investors, unless my theory is correct, and he’s an actual cyborg. Those compounding failures form a fog of war that clouds my judgement, making me doubt things that should be no-brainers. The pressure for me to do better is always there, always biting at my heels, always telling me I suck, and it’s pretty fucking annoying.

I think perfectionists are driven by pressure. I certainly am. It’s wild, I’ll procrastinate for days on a writing assignment because I really like writing and want to do well, but I don’t think that my ideas can live up to the expectations I have in my head. This leads me to fart out some half-assed word salad, that actually does well. You’d think that this would make me happy, but usually all I think is “Wow, this person took it easy on me.” Which leads me to think that people are just telling me that I’m smart because they care about me and want me to feel good, and that I’m actually too stupid to see that I’m not talented. I’ve got crazy high expectations for everyone in my life, especially myself, and I get let down when they don’t meet those standards. My brain telling me that I’m terrible keeps me motivated, as bad as that sounds, and I’m sure it’s responsible for a decent amount of good things, but it has absolutely ruined so many others.

I don’t know how to change, I don’t know how to stop being hard on myself, and I’m worried that if I do, I won’t be able to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. If you’ve read my other articles, you know I have ADHD, and I’m sure that it has a part to play in why I am the way I am. I don’t know if I’m really smart, or if people are just too polite to tell me to my face that I’m a moron. If you’ve dealt with the same thing, please comment on what you did, I’m sure that someone else can use the same advice.

Directional Politics is Stupid, And So Are You

I really don’t care if you’re left, right, center, diagonal, or fucking horizontal. You’re still a moron. Unless you’ve got a Political Science degree, and have worked in politics, you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re wasting valuable oxygen regurgitating half-remembered facts from http://www.I’mRight.com. Fuck off, you’re just as dumb as the rest of us, you just don’t know it. I’m sick of all these uninformed dipshits who get their entire worldview from Fox News and think that Trump is the second coming of Jesus. He’s not. God’s not real, and the fact that I haven’t been smited by Holy Lighting yet means that either he’s not real, or he agrees with me. Donald Trump is a moron, anyone with two braincells to rub together knows it, but let’s break it down.

Leftists aren’t any better. Can’t you people get along? What is your problem, why do you have to attack everyone you don’t think is as “woke” as you? Shouldn’t you be uniting as a group instead of picking off people who kind of agree with you, but who don’t force politics into every conversation? You people need to shape up too. What, you think because you’re against Trump, you need to be against everyone else? Go fuck yourselves, you pretentious cock-goblins. I used to believe in you, I want all people to be happy and healthy and free, but if that means I have to cancel Dave Chappelle because he made a joke someone didn’t like, I’m gonna tell you to fuck off and gain a sense of humor. I get most of your views, but the sheer amount of Social Justice Warriors on Twitter getting offended over jokes makes me think that you’re all so miserable that you need to make everyone else as miserable as you so you can feel included. Shut up, get some therapy, and pour yourself a drink you uptight assholes. The worst part about the Left is how you are all such unbearable dicks. Your worldview is based off of taking things people smarter than you that you agree with say out of context to prove you’re right. Do your own research, go outside, and shut the fuck up.

Don’t think I’m done with you, Righties. You’re the reason I feel uncomfortable to vote Republican. You’ve ruined the brand, and now I have to pick one of these uppity dick-lickers who are going to spend all my tax money on stupid things that don’t work. Every time one of you goes on TV, I feel my brain starting to hurt as you fumble to explain how the government is going to take your guns, even though that’s never been a thing. Wake up people, politicians found a way to weaponize your fear and stupidity and laziness and turn it into Republican votes. Every moron I know with an understanding of economics gained from selling weed and watching Wolf of Wall Street can be swayed by propoganda disguised as memes, or by listening to media sources made to make you think you’re smarter than everyone. As I’ve said previously, you’re not, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner people will stop calling you an unbearable douche. I’ve never seen stupidity like I’ve seen on the Breitbart comment section, it’s like entire communities didn’t bully the stupid out of racist morons unfit to pour my coffee in the morning. If you think Climate Change is a hoax made up by the Chinese to destabilize our economy: get a vasectomy, you are too stupid to be allowed to reproduce.

We didn’t used to be like this, so I have total faith that we can change. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, and it will cost us greatly. If we’re to move on from this colossal fuck-up, we’re going to need to forgive each other. It’s going to suck, no one wants to admit they were mislead, that they were wrong, that they aren’t as smart as they thought. The alternative is total destruction on a scale not seen since the Roman Empire. “America isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. But it can be.” Jeff Daniels was right, we’ve lost our way, but I can’t give up on the people of this country, even though I really have no interest in talking to 95% of you. We need an event that brings us together, I’m not talking about a mass shooting, or a terrorist attack, or a speech on TV. I’m talking about something that shocks us to our very core, something that the 24-hour news cycle can’t hide. I don’t know what that event could be, but I know that if we keep going down this path, we will alienate the people we share our country with, and that is fucking unacceptable. I don’t care about your politics, one of my best friends is a huge Trump supporter because he likes how he talks shit on Twitter. He’s not a racist, he’s not a billionaire looking for a tax cut, he’s just an uninformed consumer looking for more content, regardless of the real-world consequences. We need something to reunite us, we need something to be As American As Apple Pie again, we need Pam Anderson’s tits bouncing on Baywatch, because if there’s one thing that everyone can agree with, it’s that boobs are awesome.