Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I can ollie.

Yesterday was one of those days you think about when you are looking for jobs: wake up, struggle to get out of bed, feel unfathomable amounts of frustration and exhaustion, and struggle to get any substantial tangible work done.

I knew these days would happen, but they are the worst when they come. I sat in front of my computer screen listening to the music my friends make fun of me for and got very little done outside of emailing a few people back, and even that took all of my brain power to not spit out electronic garbage for words.

I talked to a friend for a while and, after the fact, I realized this is all just a complete test of patience. I can't go to the library for 3,000 straight days and not expect to become frustrated. I have spent at least several hours a day for the better part of a month straight doing something whether it be working on a resume, cover letter, responding to contacts, or sending my resume and cover letters into the vacuous void known as an online job application. (Has anyone ever been hired after just applying online? Seriously, I would love to know...leave a comment or facebook me or something.) I rarely get to hang out with friends seeing as I work on the nights when every other human on the planet (hyperbole) gets to hang out, so if I don't get something done one day...whatevs.

Today I set my goals back a little bit and focused more on responding to a couple people, making sure I was happy with that 'all-purpose' resume that is more general for instances like sending it to someone who wants to pass it along, and looking into a few more companies that have openings.

I can't just go 100% all the time and not expect to burn out. It's not like I need to go on a zen quest for a week and relax my soul, but I do need to chill sometimes. I'm just a human.

This video is most of what I got done yesterday. A little physical activity never hurt anyone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Caffeine-less Rambling Thoughts

Solid week for the job search. I really think some of the contacts I've made in the past week or so are really going to help. Everyone I've been talking to is a friend of a friend or on a flag-football team or some other random relationship, but this is how the world works. You don't get jobs because you are awesome, you get jobs because other people think you are awesome, and if people are referring you to others, the others likely assume you must be some sort of big deal that needs their very valuable help. People like love giving advice, and I love hearing everyone's advice, so it's a win-win situation for everyone. 

I've been applying for a bunch of jobs in the Social Media sector of marketing recently. This is where I have sort of led my focus to, and I think it will work out. This site is averaging over 1,000 hits a week, so I must have some sort of ability to use the interwebs to make people follow a story. Take notes employers, and thank you to everyone who keeps coming back. 

I have put in a ton of time the past couple weeks. I have a resume with a design from the future, a stop motion video (gracias a Matthew Flynn y Will Pearce por la ayuda), and tens of thousands of hopefully cleverly and interestingly written words. I still don't have a job though. Progress is great!!!

Thoughts from the 3rd Floor of the Library
Just a few random things that have entered my brain recently.
Who doesn't like a cute dog on a Friday?
  1. How is Nickelback famous?
  2. Who ever described Nickelback as the Beatles of Canada?
  3. How is Nic Cage famous?
  4. Why do I love Nic Cage movies?
  5. Is Nic Cage the lead singer of Nickelback?
  6. Why do fraternity children wear tall black socks? I thought skaters did...
  7. Irony versus Coincidence: Used to confuse me.
  8. Who owns Boo, the world's cutest dog?
  9. Semicolon - puncuation used to to separate two independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction, often overused by Bubba Atkinson.
  10. I need to lay off the caffeine this weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Some People Grew Up Tap-Dancing, I Learned to Play Guitar

Think of all the people you have known that have played in bands or seriously played an instrument....

....they typically aren't the cookie cutter types are they?

My previous career as a rockstar.
Music Farm circa 2005.
Now imagine throwing 4 or 5 of those VERY different people in a group together and trying to make quality and cohesive music that will at the very least appease likely intoxicated 'fans.' It is not the easiest thing on the planet. The reason I think of this is because I want to work in a very creative environment, and I was imagining some of the different types of people I could encounter and how being in bands for the better part of the past decade has prepared me for working with completely different personalities to achieve particular goals.

Every band I have ever been in has bickered. I am still friends with everyone, but we inevitably disagreed on some sort of creative idea at some point. Everyone has their knowledge of music, ideas of what people want to hear, and what they are good at writing, and since no two people are alike you can imagine the potential for disagreement. I like to use this to my advantage. My friend Nick and I often like writing music together. We like very different music and we write very different music, but somehow we always bounce ideas off of each other until it becomes a hybrid of exactly what we want. The final product always comes out better after we have consulted with each other. I think these same principles will apply in the marketing and advertising world.

I will never be an all-knowing source of marketing and advertising information, nor will anyone else, but through working with a team of ultra-creative people, I can only imagine that the sky will look like a limit for antiquated ideas.

My sister from another mister, Carrie Burris, wanted me to mention her in a post. She gets REALLY excited about the possibility of being mentioned. So, here you are, little Carrie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Happened?

No time to shave; must find job
Having been at the library a LOT lately, I have really been noticing the students and their habits inside the library. It got me thinking: what are these kids going to do for jobs? Why am I looking for a job?

This is just my personal opinion FYI. I think the culture of the world today is just different than it was throughout the past 50 or so years. College degrees used to be an accomplishment. They still are, but they certainly don't hold the weight they used to. I think about my path that led me here today: ritzy private high school education --> automatically went to college without much thought of any other option --> graduated with no idea of what I wanted to do.

I could write all day about what I did, but here is what I should have done: I should have either taken time off to figure out what I wanted to do, or gotten unbelievably involved with as many things as possible while in school to figure out what I wanted to do. I really believe that college has become a time for people to attend 'Camp College' and amass stories about drinking and hilarious situations. Believe me...it is, but I wish I had taken advantage of more opportunities when I had the flexibility to. I have a select few friends who I watched take advantage of college, and I sit in utter jealousy here today of what they did. Work for free now? Unlikely seeing as I have to feed myself. Work for free then? Sweet fancy moses I wish I had taken a different internship once I realized I wasn't totally interested in mine. That's what they're for aren't they? I had no gauge on the gravity of the situation come graduation; it was like a giant what now?

So now, having been through the trenches of finding out what I want to do, hitting a personally set rock bottom, and now having the motivation to climb out of this self-created hole, I do what I should have done long ago: talk to as many people as humanly possible about what I want to do. If you don't have a job, or you are still in school, I highly recommend reaching out to someone in a field you think you may enjoy. They may turn you on to that field or make you realize you don't like it. I now know exactly what I want to do, and I await the day when I go to Olive Garden to celebrate my promotion to the real world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Restaurant Skills

There is a perception that working in the food and beverage industry is a half-assed career or time-buyer for people who want to make quick money and go out and blow all that money on alcohol and drugs. But I happen to disagree. It is not the most difficult job on the planet, but I would love to see some people who think they are above it to come try it out.

Waiting tables takes patience, communication skills, and planning like you would not even believe. On a near daily basis I deal with people who are having the best day of their lives and want to celebrate, people having the worst day of their lives and want to relax or blow off steam, couples on dates (just imagine how awkward this can be sometimes, then multiply the awkwardness exponentially), and many more scenarios. At one moment, I may be trying to diffuse a group of angry rednecks locals because I haven't had a moment to refill their Diet Cokes and Sweet Teas for the 6th time in a half hour, and the next moment I may be attempting to explain the difference between an oaky/buttery and an un-oaked chardonnay to a table who clearly has no idea about wine in general after not understanding that a red zinfandel is in no way similar to a white zinfandel. It can be downright difficult to make everyone happy all the time, but there is no harm in trying. After all, it is my job.

So, what skills have I learned while working in a restaurant? Multi-tasking, planning, and a multitude of other skills, but by far the most important is communication. I try to understand what my table wants out of me within the first couple seconds of meeting them. About 200% percent of the time my tables ask me about my name, so I can quickly gauge what kind of people they are and in what mood they are. Sometimes they are down to business and only want straight professionalism, sometimes they want to chat and make jokes, and sometimes they are rude and there is nothing on the earth short of a newborn puppy that will cheer them up. Without understanding who the person is and what they want, I would be completely lost, and an incompetent server.

I have always wanted to understand why everything is the way it is. Whether it was my golf swing, people's reactions in conversation, or tables getting upset with me when the food (which I very obviously did not prepare) is not up to their standards and expectations, I have always wanted to understand what led to the issue or problem at hand. Through this curiosity, what may have taken me decades to learn about behaviors, I have learned in a very short period of time the past couple years. Will this apply to the marketing world? ABSOLUTELY!!! I do not know how each company is structured and I will not know until I am hired and working, but I know I will be answering to people: people who may be having the best day of their lives, people who may be having the worst day of their lives, and people who may have just run out of Diet Coke. While they may not be sitting at a table waiting for food, they will be demanding some sort of service out of me, and I will know how to deal with them when confronted with any circumstance.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Job Getting with QR Codes

Saw my friend Gray at the library on Saturday.
We didn't know it would take 4 pictures.
This weekend was actually fairly productive. I came to the library on Saturday to try to get some ideas for the new and improved resume design. I bought this graphics editing software called Pixelmator from the Mac App store and have used it to edit some of the photos for the stop motion video, but I've been trying to figure it out so I could design my resume as well. After 2 days of doing some awkward figurative dance moves with this software, I would like to think we have become pretty decent friends. I spent about 7 or 8 hours on my resume yesterday coming up with the design and making sure spacing and colors and everything were perfect. It took a while to get comfortable with the program seeing as it doesn't just create you a resume template just like Microsoft Word does for everyone else, but it seems worth it after seeing the final product.

QR Code, get me a job. Go.
I added one very interesting thing to my resume yesterday: a QR code. I recently downloaded and read the "Handbook for the Recently Unemployed" available at Huntsy.com, and it had some incredibly interesting things in it with the addition of the QR code being in one article. (If you are looking for a job, I highly recommend heading to Huntsy and checking it out. The site should be up soon, and the Handbook has down to earth articles about what to do to enhance your chances at getting noticed and getting a job.) All I can do is think about what I would do if I saw one of these things on a resume; I would wonder why the hell someone would put one on there, would immediately download a scanner app, and follow the link to see where it would take me. Well, it leads you here, a transparent look into my life, skills, and thoughts, so I'm hoping some unsuspecting person in New York reads this and is intrigued enough to get in touch with me. I have to thank the guys at Huntsy for hooking me up with this handbook; it really had some awesome ideas like this one and many others. It really inspired me to redesign my resume.

After getting the resume all set and checked out by Melyssa, the girl with whom I was chatting on Friday, I wrote a cover letter and applied for a social media marketing job at an awesome Ad Agency in New York that just happened to be named the Ad Agency of the year. I feel good about it for some reason. Obviously, there are tons of qualified candidates out there, I just happen to know that it is something I would love to do and I'm positive I would be awesome at it. But, the rest is up to them, and that is why it is called job getting hunting.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Starting to get noticed....

Vans on blogs.
This really is a job. After working until midnight last night at the restaurant, I woke up with absolutely no desire to go sit in front of a computer screen for hours on end at a library with a bunch of bright-eyed and eager college kids waltzing around me thinking they are busy with homework and studying I only wish I could return to. (If you can't see the jealousy rising out of your computer screen, you are blind...bring me a small time machine and I'll show you how clear hindsight really is.) But fortunately for capitalism, jobs do not just rain from the skies...so I return again to spread the word so I can prove my worth to a potential employer. I think it is really important that I consistently do at least something every single day. Proving that I do have the motivation to put decent clothes on, make my way to the library, do some work, and write about it is one of the most important things I can prove to a future employer.

This blog is and will be my proof. One thought I have been referencing a ton lately is that people respond to facts and data far more than they respond to abstract thought. It is nearly impossible to refute empirical data. When met with a troublesome guest at the restaurant, I usually state the facts and allow the guest to determine the right course for solving the problem as I use my judgement to determine if that is a possible scenario. I take the decision making out of my hands and give it to them to not only diffuse the situation, but to take wrongful blame out of the equation. This allows us to start over with a completely new scenario. By applying this same tactic to my job search, I have begun to compile data exposing who I am and what I am capable of. I can tell you how awesome I am all day everyday, but until you see substantiated reasons as to why for yourself, my words carry about as much weight as the career I currently hold in my hands.

I am starting to get in touch with people that really matter. Expanding the viewership of this blog is consistently on my mind, whether I am writing blog posts, writing cover letters, or serving food. I have reached out to several different people so that my message can be on several different mediums. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment or reach out to me. I am really excited about several opportunities that have been presented to me. None of them are jobs, but they could certainly lead to them. Small victories lead to big victories.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back to Blogging

Cole Huggins, skateboarding extraordinaire.
I hope everyone has seen the video...and passed it on to a few friends. I purchased a nice camera a few years ago because I have always loved taking pictures. (The picture to the right is one of my all time favorite shots: a good friend of mine, Cole Huggins, taken Thanksgiving Day a few years ago on top of an empty parking garage.) My room is littered with 8x10's of pictures I have taken over the years, and a local embroidery company even hired me to do the photography for their product catalogue, even placing one of my favorite pictures ever taken on the cover. The company is owned by my parents, but either way it still gets my photography out there. This video was awesome to shoot, even as awkward as it was to be sitting at a desk dead still in the middle of public areas. Big thanks to Matthew Flynn and Will Pearce. Flynn and I did some test runs and wrote the whole script for it, then Flynn took over photography, and we called in Will for some assistance and he was a GIGANTIC help getting the shots done in time. It was a touch under 400 photos and hours upon hours of shooting and editing, so you can imagine how tedious it was, but we are all really happy with how it turned out and are already looking to what we will do next.

Back to the normal job search. I recently sent my friend Skylar (who lives in NY) my resume asking for advice since she is one of the more motivated people I have ever witnessed in my entire life. She knows a ton of people and gave me a list of marketing and advertising firms to look at, and they are some of the coolest looking firms I have ever seen. Going to the websites, I am filled with excitement just imagining myself working in some awesome firm like those she referred me to. I do however, have to scale back on the excitement and focus on making my best effort to portray myself in the best manner. I am positive that everyone that reads this can relate to that experience: going to a company's website and finding a job that is perfect for you. You read and fall in love with the description of the specific job, find out that you meet or almost meet all of the qualifications, love the company and everything it is about, and then reality sets in: you and everyone else have the exact same thoughts, chump. You are then filled with this gigantic fear that you will never beat out all of the other candidates that apply. Then your brain spins into this thought of, "Oh no...I better get used to working in a restaurant. This could take a while. I may actually need to buy some new work shoes if I really am going to be there for a while...maybe shirts too. Ugh." But please recall that this is not 20negative11, this is 20positwelve!!! I really just need to figure out how to get noticed by these companies. It's just like dealing with attracting girls; don't look like an idiot, be yourself, put yourself in the right circumstances, and everything should work out if it is a good fit. I just have to put myself in the right circumstances now...and not look like an idiot.

So I sent off an email to a couple different companies, which took way longer than expected. At this point, I don't want to be put in the trash pile of resumes just because of a poorly worded and unprofessional email. So writing a concise, professional, creative, and interesting email that will get the attention of whomever receives it has become one of the most important and thought out things that I do.

My sister also got me in contact with a friend of hers that works in a talent agency specializing in several different sectors of marketing. These contacts I'm getting in touch with are HUGE, and I'm really hoping my sister's friend will be able to give me some leads or some good quality advice. She works in the industry in NYC, so what better contact could I possibly have?

The more people I talk to, the better chance I have of getting a job. I emailed a girl back today that I have never met and I'd love to explain our relationship just to show how awesome people are: one of my friends from the dorm I lived in freshman year became good friends with another guy from College of Charleston when they roomed together on a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While I lived in Santiago, Chile, I went over and hung out with them and became pretty good friends with my buddy's roommate. I haven't spoken to him in years, but he reached out to me after seeing the blog, got in touch with his friend who works in marketing in NYC, and she gave me some great advice about LinkedIn and an informed me of an event I should attend in New York coming up soon in February during a week that I think I will be going up there for the weekend. That relationship is fairly random, but it is little things like that that will lead to me finding a job.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's make it viral.

I just finished editing all of the 400 photos Matthew Flynn and I took yesterday for this video. I'm hoping it will bring a little bit more attention to the blog. Tell a couple people you know to check it out...it involves very little reading and is pretty neat. Let me know what you think about it. FYI: It works better if you just go to youtube and watch it in a larger format.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Anyone remember Crystal Pepsi?

TGIF, ey? I don't know about you guys, but I'm so ready for 5 of my friends to come over and have a slumber party tonight. Their moms are dropping them off after school, then we're going to play manhunt and throw the football before we watch Boy Meets World, Step by Step, and Family Matters back to back to back. My mom got us a bunch of Crystal Pepsi (the clear version circa 1992) and we're ordering some pizza. I hope my mom lets us stay up late playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Sega Genesis; I haven't been able to stay up past 10pm in a while.

Just kidding...I'll be waiting tables all night during Charleston Restaurant Week: the week that sales of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Sweet Tea rise about 12478392104%. Why is this? A ton of people make it out to restaurants during restaurant week because of the deal available. You can have 3 very nice courses at my restaurant for $20, so it attracts a plethora of people who wouldn't normally come in to the restaurant. It is honestly a great thing for restaurants around town because it does attract business during this supposed downtime after the holidays, but it is a totally different vibe as people are looking to come in, sit, eat for as cheap as possible, and leave basically as fast as possible. Hence the soft drink sales.

I wanted to come to the library and do work about as bad as I wanted to run suicides across the interstate all day, but a grande caffé latte temporarily upped my spirits and reminded me to get working, or else I'll be slinging sodas for much longer. I learned from a friend that the latte may be a good way to level out my caffeine intake without going overboard, for sometimes I feel as though I could explode with the amount of energy I have...very literally. However, today is not one of those days.

I spent the majority of the day so far answering emails and writing people back...the whole networking thing. One girl I emailed yesterday works for an ad agency up in the city and I'm really looking forward to hearing back from her. She is going to help me better understand what happens in an agency from the bottom up so that I can approach the search and application process in a much more educated and efficient manner. Since I don't know much about the in's and out's of everything, I personally feel like it would be a better idea to wait and apply for positions once I know exactly what I am applying for and why I would be so unbelievably awesome at it.

I've got a pretty neat idea for the blog that I'll be working on this weekend. Stay tuned and make sure you come back to check it out. May take several trials and a ton of editing, but I'm looking to make this idea tangible.

Observations and Thoughts from the 3rd Floor of the Library
A) I was thinking back yesterday to some grammar lessons from middle school (attempting to recall the proper use of the semicolon, seeing as I use them all the time) and started remembering my experiences from English classes throughout my life. I received failing grades on so many papers in high school it was unbelievable. The German exchange student consistently made better grades than me, much to the delight of most all of my friends (shout out to Anna-Sophie Schmitz). I vividly remember 2 teachers in 2 years calling me in after class demanding that I be tutored in writing because I clearly didn't understand it. Every teacher I had knew I was a math whiz, but I never understood why I was so unsuccessful with writing. I even rarely had points subtracted from my grades for grammatical errors. I wonder if my writing has really changed, or if the teachers were just too close minded to appreciate my writing.

B) It is really funny to see how people act. I was in Starbucks today waiting in line behind a girl who was all done up: bright red lipstick, eye-shadow, trendy clothes, and clearly ready to take on the world. The girl behind me was rocking Uggs, sweat pants, fleece jacket, wearing sunglasses indoors, and had hair reminding me of some combination of a pine cone, Ryan Cabrera (may your career rest in peace), and Sonic the Hedgehog. The girl in front of me looked so confident and was ready to take on the world whereas the girl behind me seemed like she was really ready to get her coffee so she could return to the cave she just came from. Obviously, I have no idea why these girls carried these appearances and I don't care, but it just reminded me how important appearance really is; if you feel like you look cool, you are cool. I have found myself dressing slightly nicer every day I come to the library to get this work done. I think it helps to look decently nice if you want to get work done. You are what you wear to a certain extent, I suppose...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Going for an afternoon blog.

I almost feel like an adult today. With the 8 mile soundtrack blaring to pump me up, I put on my big boy suit that Santa accidentally dropped off in early November, my man-shoes, tucked my shirt in, and went to meet with the president of a Marketing Research firm here in town. 

Classy? Duh.
He gave me some really solid advice about the situation I'm in and where I should go from here. I have all but totally ruled out the financial services industry. From all information I have received, it is not an industry that is hiring. I have received advice to basically take a...and I quote..."horrible job for several years" so that I can weasel my way in after a few years when the economy isn't pretending to be Amy Winehouse. I do think I would be great at it, and it is clearly an unbelievable career to be in, but I don't think it is worth it to put in astonishing amounts of time searching for jobs that simply aren't there. Everyone I have talked to about that industry talks about it like it is the bubonic plague. Even a guy from JP Morgan Chase with whom I went to lunch with in a recent trip to NY was just baffled as to why I wanted to work in the industry. This came from a guy making 6 figures. If a job in the financial services industry drops from the heavens into my lap, I'd be happy to work my ass off, but I am going to focus on what I really want to do and what I'm interested and passionate about. I'm only 25 years old. If it takes me a year to be where I want to be...whatever, I'll be 26, not 86.

Step 1 is being in New York, the Mecca for Marketing and Advertising. I have decided this is totally and completely the route I'm going to take. The guy I met with today made a very intriguing statement about how one must create their own narrative. He probably could not tell, but this hit me like a ton of bricks, especially with this blog up and going and a few people reading it. He said, "you have to create your own narrative and make your life follow that narrative." Whoa. Deep. It's funny to think back to my competitive golf days, but I really did know if I was going to play well before I even teed off. I already had the round played in my head, so all I had to do at that point was go do it. Well, now is the perfect opportunity to make this happen. I never realized it was possible to go into the marketing industry with an accounting degree, but I don't have to be boxed into anything. I am good with numbers, analytical, logical, very interested in creating content that people enjoy, I love writing, I am interested in what people like and why they like it, I have incredible good looks, unending amounts of wit and charm, the energy level of a meth addict, and the desire to put all these things to use. So why not this industry?

From here, where shall I go? I have shot off racks on racks on racks of emails at people trying to get some information about what I should be looking into specifically. I'm obviously new at this and want to learn everything I possibly can about it. I hope the help and advice I receive from these people will help me figure out exactly what I should be looking into. The thought of working for a Marketing/Advertising firm in New York sounds about like the coolest thing ever. I want to work for a company in which I can actually make a difference. Who doesn't? I don't care if it takes me a while to make a difference, just having the opportunity to be in that position would be unreal.

It is looking more and more like I will be moving up to New York (hopefully) soon. I can work in a restaurant for a little while to buy myself some time. I'm certain that some members of my family (ahem, Sister) and close friends will think that is a horrible idea, but what's worse: moving to New York, not finding anything, and having to come back home to Charleston, or running on this never-ending treadmill of waiting tables in Charleston? If I need to convince anyone, I'd be very happy to make a lovely Powerpoint presentation demonstrating what I have to lose versus what I have to gain; I can be very convincing. Since I have nothing, I'm good to go.

So for the next little bit: more researching marketing and advertising firms, networking like I have never networked before, more networking, and working on these cover letters. A couple people have given me some awesome advice on these, and I'll be putting in some serious time making myself sound professional and interesting in less than a page, single spaced of course.

This blog is helping a ton, and I want it to continue. Please make sure you come back and read and check everything out. I don't want to get annoying, but obviously I have to post on Facebook and twitter about the blog right now so I can get my name out there. If everyone reading this could please just tell a couple people to read it, or post a link to it on your Fabo or twitter. Working with an army of people is far easier than going at it alone. I hope to get some interesting stuff up on here, and I really want to have a video interview up later this week. If you have any suggestions or comments...SEND THEM TO ME. I'm so open to new ideas its unbelievable.

This over here to the left is my main man Drue. He is happy to bring humor to literally any situation. He  and his brand new wife are nothing more than a pleasure to hang out with. He wanted to stop by and say hello, so naturally he gets a shout out. On the right, we have my transportation for getting all this work done. I can thank Affordabike of Charleston for this machine. It has been nothing but awesome, and very fuel efficient. They even hooked it up with some lights for night-riding. There's also sticker on the bike, and that there is my surf shop, Las Olas. They have provided my clothes for several years, and my man Daniel is always kicking it at the store on upper King Street, so go by, say whatsup, and pick up a legit watch, some sick sunglasses, or snag some high fashion clothing. 

Only one interesting tidbit today from my life outside of searching for a job. Last night at work, I was unbelievably tired and ready to leave as my last table left. Then, a group of 7 ladies came in to drink, and requested a server. I was displeased to say the least, but it is my job, and I do love money. I go over to the ladies and tell them, "My name is Bubba and I will be your server tonight." The ladies then proceeded to start laughing uncontrollably. They told me I looked more like a 'Josh' than anything else, henceforth calling me 'Josh' or 'Joshie' for the rest of the night. Rude? Of course. I could tell the class of 'ladies' they were because I had to explain to them that the restaurant does not allow smoking inside...twice. However, the man with whom I spoke this morning seemed downright fascinated by my name and that I made good grades as an accounting major, can speak spanish, and don't sound like a complete redneck. I suppose it's all about your audience. Here's to hoping I'm off of James Island soon. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holy Blog Hits

The past 24 hours have been absolutely crazy.

I deactivated my Facebook account late in the summer of 2010. I had not missed it one bit. I always knew it would be there if I ever wanted to be back on it, but I stay in touch with most of my friends anyway. I didn't really care to know that a girl I had Computer Science with my sophomore year is now an Aunt, or any other incredibly awesome trivia such as this theoretical situation. I just had too many friends and too much unimportant information to sift through every time I logged on. But, after starting this blog with the goal of getting the word out as much as possible, I decided to give in and activate once again so that I could reach a bunch of people I haven't been in touch with in a while. I had no idea what was in store when I activated my account yesterday at about 10:30am. I made a post about this blog and it was like a bomb went off.

The response was immediately massive. I thought I would get like 50 hits throughout the day and had a goal of getting 100 hits yesterday. I only had 29 hits on Monday, totaling just under 200 hits, but by the end of the night last night, I had over 500 hits, and I am already over 800 as I type this right now. Only about 700 of them were me. Just kidding, it doesn't track mine. But, WHOA. This is hands down the best feeling I have felt in a very long time. Very. Long. Time.

I have heard from people I never thought I'd ever speak to again. I have heard from friends that I didn't know had jobs or were doing anything with themselves. I've heard from parents of friends. This was literally my goal; to get in touch with as many people as I possibly could just in case somebody can give me some information or advice. I haven't even had time to apply for a job today, and I'm not upset about it. The job market today obviously favors networking over the blind application process. As I asked yesterday, who knows the mood of the person that gets their hands on my resume?

I would first like to thank everyone for spreading the word. Without people reading this and telling others about it, these would only be empty words from the 3rd floor of the C of C library just holding me back from food and beverage induced insanity. But since everyone is reading this, tweeting about it, and making Facebook posts about it, I'm really making progress. With a little help, I set up a meeting tomorrow to meet with the president of a Marketing Research Firm here in town. The level of excitement I have about the opportunity to speak to someone in that field is unfathomable. I can't wait to put on man-shoes for this meeting and not skate shoes. (I'm sure many of you will find this statement very entertaining seeing as I believe I did say in a very immature time of my life that I would never work at a job in which I could not wear Vans.) I'd really like to thank those that have gotten in touch with me to check out my resume, cover letters, give me advice on up and moving to NY, or passed on my resume to others who may be able to help. You know who you are, and your efforts are appreciated to an exponential degree.

Excuse my deep thoughts, but if you know me, you probably know I'm the 'emo' kid (emo being the unfortunate abbreviation for emotional.) You can probably tell, but I think about things...ALL THE TIME. Some call it being over-analytical, but I love to know why things are the way they are. I rarely just stop and accept things. I like to understand the process of how everything came to be, because then I can fully understand if a situation can be improved upon.

Since graduation in May of 2009, I have found myself wondering what would happen to our generation post graduation. I watched a bunch of upper class kids waltz through school, only witnessing a precious few really take full advantage of the situation. After the economy went boom-splat everywhere as my friends and I graduated, I wondered if our country was just in a total readjustment phase. I always thought I would get a great job in Charleston because I was better at golf than most, made good grades, and can talk to people without putting them to sleep. What I've found was that no one gives a (insert bad word here) about my grades, and if I don't work unbelievably hard, I just plain won't get an opportunity to show that I am the coolest and hardest working dude you've ever met. (Take that phrase as you will, but I still think I'm the baddest Mamma Jamma around. If I didn't at least think that, how would I ever get a job?) I became downright jealous of people that did get/earn great jobs.

The outpouring of support for this blog has made me totally change my mind about a lot of things. From July 22, 1986 until December 31, 2011, I was possibly the most cynical, sarcastic, and pessimistic person you have ever met. Maybe not on the outside, but internally I had very little faith in everything else outside of myself. After not getting a job shortly after graduation, I thought I was destined for a career in some extremely mediocre role, and I could only imagine myself at the age of 40 with a beer gut yelling at Bubba Jr. to stop rolling in the mud outside of my trailer. But with 2012 rolling around, I vowed to change the way I think, I got a tiny idea I thought may possibly work, and I found a whole community of people that can totally relate to my situation and are willing to help. These people I was jealous of are the ones who will help me the most, because they have been there and they have found what works and what doesn't. I consistently get made fun of, in a hopefully endearing way, by my friends for having a dry erase board next to my door that reads, "I want to look back at my life a year from today and be happy with where I am, but be much happier and content with what I've accomplished over the last year, 1-1-2012." These 'emo' notes to myself really help, and I highly suggest them.

To be perfectly honest, I don't have a job at all yet (besides serving, caddying, and playing bass in several cover bands...but I'm talking about long term career jobs), but if this keeps up like it has the past few days, it won't be long. In just a couple days, I have this whole new perspective on things. People really are willing to help, but you can't expect handouts. I now understand why I am where I am and I understand why others have been successful. It took me a while to understand these things, but people don't just have things happen to them.

Observations from the 3rd Floor of the Library
Really, Bubba?
So, on a lighter note, rejoining fabo (Facebook) yesterday made me wonder: WHAT WAS I THINKING??? Anyone ever gone back and read old posts or looked at your old pictures? Dear 20 year old Bubba, you can keep the stubble, but please cut your afro, wear some decent clothes, and if you wear your hat backwards, wear it backwards and not cocked to the side. Sincerely, 25 year old Bubba. I would love to jump in my handy dandy time machine and talk to that little boy and see what he was thinking, because clearly he didn't have his head on straight. The picture today, however awful it may be, is a not so subtle reminder to go through your fabo and clean it up. And, if you read this and you are 20 or somewhere thereabouts, don't forget to not look like an idiot. College is for figuring this out, but it doesn't hurt to expedite the process.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Library is Slowly Getting More Populate

People are very interesting. It seems like each day I go on, people become more and more interesting to me. Some people get frustrated with others and fight them, some argue, some laugh, but I just get so intrigued by people's reactions. Something so simple as an idea triggers all these crazy responses and emotions from others. Why do I say this?

For starters, some people are critical of the manner of this job search. Some people do not think that being this informal out in the open helps my chances of getting an opportunity at a job. Let me ask this question: would I really want to work for someone who found this blog offensive? I have always become nearly best friends with all of my co-workers, so if someone really didn't think a blog showing proof of work and ideas in a clever and entertaining manner was a tactful idea, I kind of think that maybe we wouldn't get along anyway. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Possibly. But I'd rather be hired for being myself than acting. I don't feel like anyone shies away from honesty.

Some people are also critical of my desire to move to New York as opposed to somewhere else. I would consider opportunities elsewhere, but I really want to move to NY. When I go out to eat with friends, and someone orders the least healthy item on the menu, I don't interject with, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THAT IS SO UNHEALTHY!" I obviously let them make their own decisions and let the consequences of those decisions play out. I want to move to New York. I like the city. Having had an excess of humidity my entire life, I'm ready to make a snowman. There are a lot of opportunities there. What more is there to say?

Another aspect of people being interesting to me is totally encompassed in the entire application process. Did I submit my cover letter/resume combo immediately after the girl in HR who processes applications got dumped by her boyfriend via text? Because that would be very unfavorable for me...and her I suppose. Did my cover letter get read by a hiring manager who was in a good mood after seeing a funny youtube video of a dog speaking English inquiring in reference to bacon, "Yeh? The maple kind?" I'd like to think my chances would be greater after that. (Maybe I'll start off email or application with a link to the panda sneezing video...its only like 15 seconds long and no one hates it.)

I guess it's probably something that I overanalyze, but I believe that to be the reality of the situation. People get jobs from being in the right place at the right time, and I whole-heartedly believe that. So, I need to figure out how to get people to get into that state of mind just by reading my cover letter. That's the first thing they see, right? So I need to sell myself better and more efficiently in like 500 words or less. Beard of Zeus that sounds difficult.

Picture of the Day
I found a friend in the library! This is Justin Hare, the Youth Minister at St. Michael's Church. He and I played a TON of golf together growing up, and we used to dominate high school golf back in the day. We won a bunch of state championships, but more importantly, we looked really good doing it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Prestige Worldwide

I'm back on the grind this week after a tiring weekend of working. The average person is really busy in the middle of the week, but I get busy Thursday through Sunday. This job hunt is to break that trend into a million little pieces so I can truly enjoy the song by Loverboy, "Working for the Weekend" from the album so wonderfully titled, Get Lucky.

After last week, I felt pretty good about myself having really started this job search. I had some good ideas, got some solid work done on my resume and wrote what I believed to be some quality cover letters. Then reality set in this weekend; this is going to be a brutal and awful process (that I will look back on fondly of course, in due time.) I recalled all those jobs I applied for last week and thought about how I would handle the applications. Let's just say I don't feel to optimistic about my chances applying for a job online.

This has caused me to re-evaluate how I am going about this. I will not just get a job by applying for it. For starters, I don't think it helps that my name is Bubba. Close your eyes and imagine what a Bubba looks like and how he speaks. Since it is my name that I have gone by for approximately 25.5 years, I will not be changing that, but I can only imagine some New York resident perusing a plethora of applications and seeing the name Bubba, followed by some giggling. I hope this isn't the case, but unfortunately I deal with this on a near daily basis when I walk up to the tables I serve in the restaurant at which I work. I say, "Hello, my name is Bubba and I will be your server this evening," and then respond to laughter and/or inquiries about the origin of my name by explaining that no, I do not look or sound like a Bubba, but it is my name I go by and it was given to me by my parents. It has bothered me before, and on occasion, it bugs me to death, but this is the year of positivity, and I will overcome this minor speed bump by turning it into an advantage by portraying myself as a unique person with a unique name, not a bumbling oversized redneck.

So, today I took a slightly different route than last week. I applied for a couple jobs, then I did some research to find some people that work at those companies. I sent out some emails explaining my situation and basically asking for some help on getting my foot in the door. Getting a job in this world is going to take the efforts of myself, but also others that are willing to help. So, I need to do substantially more networking, even if it is with people I don't know. If they aren't willing to help, whatevs...at least I can say I tried. Hopefully people will sympathize with the position I am in. That's honestly my best bet; finding someone who is willing to help because they were also in a similar position.

One specific job I applied for today was for an Associate Digital Strategist position in an advertising agency in NY. I mean, if I'm not made for this position, I don't know what to think. One of the qualifications was "Strong Writer: humorous style, witty." Sweet fancy moses I would love to have that job. So I applied for it with an extremely original cover letter that hopefully portrays my skills and desire; my only hope is that it wasn't too lengthy. I also emailed someone on the contact page, stating the job I applied for and asking if there was anything else I can do. Hopefully my efforts don't go unnoticed.

I also responded to some emails from people I had asked for advice on getting jobs up in NY. The largest obstacle to getting a job up there is the massive continent sitting between us. The cost of removing that obstacle is something I am trying to figure out. As much as I never want to work in another restaurant ever again, maybe moving up there and getting a restaurant job would really help to get some interviews or something just because actually being there would have to naturally improve my chances.

What I really need is my own little Catalina Wine Mixer (see Step Brothers) in which I can just prove to people I can work and I can do a good job, even without the Strictly 80's Billy Joel cover band.

Sites and sounds from the weekend:

College children probably need to do a little growing up. My bird's eye view from the stage playing with a band gives me the perfect perspective to watch the happenings in a bar on a Friday night in downtown Charleston. I watched a clearly underage girl fall into a trash can, watched 3 guys come out of 1 bathroom stall (randomly guess what happened in there), and watched a little boy just throw his pint glass on the floor for no other reason than the fact that he was done with it and he was leaving the bar, leaving shattered glass directly in the entrance to the bar. I would write more about this, but it's probably funnier and more appropriate if I just leave it at that.

Also, I would like to personally thank Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy, and Green Tea for my survival. What am I surviving you may ask? Nothing life threatening of course, but the "job hunt in library to night of work to late night cover band gig to early morning caddie to repeat" does take its toll on this bod, and without these lovely creations, I would be a very tired almost-man (I'll consider myself a man when I have a job.)

Hopefully tomorrow is another productive day, with ideas very outside of the box, and more networking. Bubbafindsajob.blogspot.com worldwide, all over the interweb, 2012.

The picture for today is my command center. Typically doesn't have feet up on it, but hey, it makes a better picture. It does always have water by it, for hydration is the key to life. If you know me/have seen my room, you know I'm obsessed with black and white photography; it's so much more emotional.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Did you know the Barenaked Ladies "One Week" spent one week at #1?

So one week in the books. I can't stay for long today because I have to go to a band practice shortly, then work immediately after, then play a gig after that. It has never been a dream of mine to play musical masterpieces such as "Wonderwall" and "Wagon Wheel" for sloppy drunken 19 year old girls at the Silver Dollar, but I do enjoy playing music...especially when I receive money for it. Hey, it's a capitalist world, no?

I completed my profiles at Viacom and Time Warner today. The analyst positions there seem like I am tailor made for them. Combining marketing research, my love for Microsoft Excel, and the entertainment industry, I do not know if there is a better fit for me. I have an EXTREMELY analytical mind and I pay crazy attention to detail, but I like to think I am very creative as well. If I could just get my hands on one of these positions, I would never let it go, much unlike Jack and Rose in Titanic.

This week was pretty solid. Obviously I have a ton to learn and a plethora of people to talk to about this process, but it is nice looking back over the past few days knowing that I've gotten something done. The willingness of people to help is really encouraging as well. Sometimes, I have felt very...'blerg,' just feeling frustrated, annoyed, and confused, but at least I can tell myself I'm trying and not just sitting back waiting for the perfect job to come to me. Don't worry though, I fully intend on continuing my quest for winning the lottery as well. This is a non-discriminatory job search, and I consider lottery winnings a very just and sincere way of earning income. If you know me, you know how detailed my plans are for my lottery winnings. I'll leave it at that before I go into a 50,000 word detailed business plan for my post-PowerBall victory.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Unauthorized Autobiography

Maybe just a few words about myself and why I am writing here, just in case all 6 people who may read this want to know the background of this fantastic voyage.

I am a 25 year old named Bubba (this is 3 year old Bubba over here with the balloons.) I am about the last person you would ever expect to be named Bubba. Ever. I play bass guitar in several bands, I love to surf, and I really don't like long walks on the beach unless there is a particular destination because you can feel, hear, and see the awkwardness when a person or group of people decide it is time to make "the awkward turnaround" at the mid-point of their infamous long walk on the beach.

I graduated from College of Charleston in the Spring of 2009 after 5 glorious years, earning a major in Accounting and a minor in Spanish. I did a study abroad program in 2007 in Santiago, Chile which was an eye opening experience as I really left Charleston for the first time.

As I progressed through school, I really did not give much thought to what would happen after school. As an immature college student, I was really focused on making good grades and making money I could spend on the weekends. I worked all through school after I retired from the Golf team at C of C, but I only had one job that had any sort of substantial experience in a possible career field. Looking back, the professors did an ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE job of portraying how the real world works and how to get where you want to be. My accounting professors had their heads so far up their figurative accounting asses that they were incapable of seeing what happens in a real world situation outside of academia. Obviously, they are not to blame seeing as I am responsible for virtually everything in my life, however, they did all of nothing to help. It did not help at all that I became somewhat of an outcast in accounting classes after I was wrongly accused of cheating by a professor, who coincidentally was recently fired by the College (Karma's a whore isn't she Doc?)

From there on out, I took a job at a restaurant because I needed money, and proceeded to very half-assedly (there can't be a good way to spell this) look for jobs. I had a bunch of interviews and I applied for tons of jobs, but I was always on the outside looking in, not making my best effort in hindsight. Fast forward a couple years........

I decided in the middle of last year I needed to get off my ass and find a job soon, or I would slowly fade away into a self-created vacuous hole in the service industry of Charleston. I love working in a restaurant; I have learned more about talking to people than I ever could in another field, and I will look back on it fondly, but I am not content waiting tables...there is nowhere to progress, in my mind at least. So, I looked at a few fields and decided banking would be a good fit for me because I am really good with numbers and I can talk to a very wide variety of people. I got an interview through some connections for a position at TD Bank as a part-time teller.

Let's talk about this interview. I thought with my education that I would certainly get this job. The first interview went unbelievably well. Within the first 2 minutes of the final interview, this branch manager is telling me about the management program at BB&T. In my head I could think none other than, "You can't be f*^%ing serious telling me that you are going to hire that extremely nervous girl for a customer service position that is literally rocking in nervousness in the lobby over me are you?" Being 'overqualified,' along with having a good friend of mine in town to open my eyes later that weekend, made me decide I had to leave Charleston. I have come to the conclusion that if you are never uncomfortable, you are never progressing. I am REALLY comfortable here. (BTW...I'm in no way overqualified for an entry level position at a bank and I really disagree with why I wasn't hired. I was hired as a glorified bus boy at the restaurant I work at after obtaining a college degree. No job is above me.)

So, I really want to move to New York. My sister is there, one of my closest friends is there, and 3 or 4 other verrrry good friends are there. I will look at jobs elsewhere because it would be stupid not to, but my goal is to get to NYC. I was going to write my progress down just so I could look back and see what I have accomplished, but then I decided, why not make it entertaining? I hope people read this, because I need all the help I can get. I will do stupid things, I will say stupid things, I will make mistakes, I will get frustrated, but I am not stopping until I am out of a restaurant and wearing man-shoes instead of skate shoes. I am like the Creed of job hunters; only positivity. I will greet my job with arms wide open.

Day 3

So today was shorter, but probably more productive. I applied to 17 different jobs today. Let's break that down:

-2 jobs were for phone sales that I do not want, but would consider with a base salary/potential scams
-2 jobs in financial services that I am unbelievably unqualified for at JP Morgan Chase and also Prudential. Only hope I have at these is that I have an accounting degree and hopefully that portrays that I can retain very large amounts of data that is in no way exciting.
-A few other Marketing analyst positions at Experian, Logan, and Open Systems Technologies

The NBC jobs seem neat. I'll leave it at neat because I'm sure they are brutal since they can probably get anyone they want to come work for them, but it would still be neat to work at a place like NBC just in case you meet someone important.

I also emailed a couple dudes I know at PricewaterhouseCoopers and I think the other guy works at Goldman Sachs...at least he used to. One is an auditor and the other an operations analyst. I hope they have some decent advice, because I would seriously doubt that they would have any pull at all. My sister is an Assistant Vice President/Rocket Scientist at Wells Fargo and still doesn't have much pull. Not to mention the entire financial world is basically in a hiring freeze since a bunch of amazingly brilliant people decided to ruin the economy.

I'm sending off these applications as if they will actually do something, but each time I complete one, I fully feel like I just purchased a lotto ticket. Yes, there is a chance, however, if someone at NBC randomly decides to pick up the phone and call a kid named Bubba in Charleston, South Carolina that has worked in a restaurant for two and a half years, it would be a f%^&ing miracle. I'm hoping these people I'm getting in contact with will be much more help.

Side notes for today: parking in Charleston is unreal. I have gotten up from this desk every 55 minutes today to move my car because I parked in a 1 hour residential zone. There are less than 6 cars on Pitt street outside of the C of C library, and there are tickets on almost all of them. Is that really necessary? I can only imagine the honest intrigue I would experience if I encountered a parking enforcement 'officer' writing a ticket for my car. It would be no less than a downright lovely conversation.

On monster.com's college graduate website, there is an option to be born in 1887. If I do some simple math, carry the 1, thats 125 years old. I am no rocket scientist, but that seems a little old to be graduating college and/or entering the workforce in the entry level position world. It seems as if some people running shit in this country forget to think. I pray that I am never one of these people. Let us not waste our time doing stupid things for stupid reasons, people.

This picture should take people back to the library days. 2nd floor, far side near Pitt Street, cubbies. In this very spot, I can vividly remember learning Intermediate Accounting near a disgusting homeless man one summer, trying to make David Bixler get off of thefacebook.com (throwback reference) and study, and walking by a kid snorting Adderall off of his desk. Oh, memories....

Day 2

Behold, yesterday was a glorious day indeed! Not really, but that seems like something they would say at Medieval Times. It was fairly productive though. I got in touch with a former professor and a very good friend of mine, Mrs. Hanahan, who has a hookup at Times Inc. and Mr. Hanahan knows Stephen Colbert from growing up in Charleston. That would be unreal, however, it is a touch unrealistic to think anything may happen from it. Low expectations with high levels of effort prevent disappointment; Bert taught me that one.

I've decided any position that says analyst is what I'm looking for. These analyst positions are in every industry I'm looking for including, but not limited to Marketing and PR, Financial Services, and Accounting. I applied for 2 jobs at MTV/Nickelodeon, and McGraw-Hill, and 1 each at 24/7 Real Media, and Capital Markets Placement.

Let's talk about how long it takes to apply for a job. You create an account, upload your resume, then just retype all of your information into the website's poorly designed 'work experience and education' fields. Redundancy may be one of my largest pet peeves. Why would I not just be able to upload a resume, copy and paste a cover letter or something like that, fill out information about myself like I'm white, then click apply. I wonder if it's a test to see if people will fill it out.

One of the jobs I applied for required 3-5 years of experience in an analyst position, I can't remember which one. I put a pretty shit-eating line at the end of my cover letter just to see if I could get someone's attention, because I'm clearly not getting that job unless I just stick out like crazy:

"When you hire someone such as myself, your team or group saves money on salary, while output remains the same. My education and working skills will undoubtedly be an addition to any client service representative team, and my age and position in life bring unbelievable flexibility to the situation. Why not?"

I mean, it can't hurt for a job like that.

Side note: people in the library at C of C when school is not in session are very interesting. There is no one in about 100 seats in this giant room, but this dude comes and sits like 3 seats away from me and is just going to town on his bag lunch at like 10:30am.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 1

Today is the first day of blogging. I will be doing this to keep track of myself finding a job.

After questionable amounts of caffeine, I made my way through the freezing temperatures to the library on January 3, 2012, the beginning of the end of the beginning. I will be finding a job in which I do not press buttons on a computer screen in order to take food orders to a table. I will not be blamed for the kitchen ruining food anymore, and I will not have people walk out on tabs anymore. I will be paid a salary instead of making ends meet by the dubious art of 'tipping.' I will no longer have to carry golf bags for over-paid and uninteresting golfers. I will no longer give unbelievably correct and appropriate advice, only to watch these golfers do exactly the opposite, fail, and blame their innocent caddie for their misdoing.

But 2012 is the year of positivity!!! And Exclamation points!!! So, what did I accomplish yesterday?

I worked on my resume a good bit focusing on the verbiage in the descriptions of my jobs. It is incredibly difficult to portray your talents without sounding arrogant; being detailed, without being wordy. It still has a touch of work to be done, but it is about 85% of where I think it should be. After that, I created an account with Monster.com. This took....WAY LONGER THAN EXPECTED...but I figure it can't hurt to join. Plus, I had to write a general 'personality statement' which is basically a broad cover letter. I was emailing with friends all day getting tips and advice about this letter and my resume. Everyone always has something very interesting to say. I don't take all of it; if I did, I would have no personality. It is very nice to have people so willing to help the kid who just worked in a restaurant a littl...way the hell too long.

After I finished that, I applied for my first job of 2012! It was for a Marketing position in NYC for a restaurant management company. I think I will apply to a ton of Marketing positions. I think it is something I would be good at. I can do numbers, but think I am a little more colorful than that.

Anyway, that's day 1. Put it in the books. Day 2 here we come.