That Awkward Time I Lost a Marketing Job Because of THIS BLOG

Back before I got started in my current position, I had applied for a job with an exciting local marketing firm.  It seemed like a really cool place to work.  I could easily imagine myself as a part of their creative team.  My days would be spent collaborating with my brilliant colleagues, sipping coffee, having great ideas, and putting together snappy writing for high-paying clients.  


I had dropped a few applications at marketing/PR firms around the city, but I really liked this place.  I loved their crisp, colourful website.  I loved the good things I had heard about their reputation and work.  I also loved how they seemed to treat their employees.  

Creatives are a special bunch.  We tend to wither in grey cubicles.  This place didn’t have any.  It had open rooms for discussion and one hell of a break room.  (Apparently their employees also have video game tournaments sometimes? Not really my thing, but it’s evidence that they seemed to encourage fun at work.) 

Their firm definitely appealed to me…the opportunity to write for a living while also actually enjoying my time at work?  YES, PLEASE!  I applied to this company and I included a portfolio of my work.  

My stuff is pretty varied.  Sure, I can write an ad for a truck, but I might also write an essay about something that matters deeply to me. Or a poem about an interesting experience.  Some of my work is philosophical.  Some of it is a bit more frivolous.   Some of it, quite honestly, is centered on fitness-related topics.  I like to write, and whether it’s about a political injustice, or the proper way to supplement with creatine monohydrate, I’ll try my damndest to produce something meaningful.

Right.  So they got my rather varied portfolio, a little time went by, and I actually got called for an interview!  Huzzah!

The big day came, and I was nervous.  I dressed nicely and did my best to maintain composure. I made a valiant attempt not to appear shaky or to sweat through my clothes.  I arrived on time, checked in at the front desk and was asked to wait.  No problem…except it was at this point that I noticed a bit of a red flag.  I had to stand and wait, because there was no chair.

Huh.  Why would you have this ultra-modern firm, with this spacious reception area and with all of these beautiful décor items, and no freaking chair?   In a reception area?

I couldn’t help thinking that this was a huge oversight. What if not everyone is able-bodied?  What if people visiting this office are sometimes tired?  Pregnant?  What if they just want to be able to sit comfortably?   Nope.  Too bad. Shit out of luck.  Once you’re in this waiting area, you’d better be prepared to stand around, awkward as heck, waiting to finally be ushered in to your big meeting.

Whatever.  I paced around a bit, and shifted my weight from foot to foot (all the while continuing to sweat, obviously) until I was finally called in.

I was shown to a brightly lit boardroom, which was about 90% occupied by a giant, white, plastic-y office table.  There, I sat (ahhh, finally!) across from a manager and the creative director.  

It was a really decent interview.  They liked my stuff. I said a lot of the right things.  My nerves had wrapped themselves around my excitable personality and I was doing that whole “silver tongue” thing I sometimes do.  (It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, everything comes out of my mouth sounding just a little smarter than I anticipate it will.  It’s a weird, unpredictable superpower! ) So yeah, everything just kinda came together.  This interview was easily one of my better professional interactions.

Afterward, I left the “no-chair” marketing firm practically bouncing.  I was so convinced that I had crushed it!  Now I just had to wait.

Nearly two full weeks went by before I got called back for another interview.  It was enough for my excitement to have cooled a bit, but at least I was still in the running!

So, I went back for interview number two.  Once more I waited in their insufficient reception area.  I resisted the urge to mention the chair situation. 

THIS time when I finally got to the plastic-table boardroom, they were even more open and honest with me.  The interview proceeded in a relaxed and jovial fashion.  I successfully made them laugh.  They told me more details about the actual position.  They really seemed to like me.


Turns out they wanted someone to write online copy.  Ok!  I can do that!  They wanted it to be very tourism-oriented.  No problem!  Hand me a sou’wester!  They were looking for celebration-of-Newfoundland-type stuff.  Sure! I’ll write about puffins, white caps, and craggy cliff faces to beat the band!

Unfortunately, it is at this point that I made a mistake.  

THEY were telling me about how they wanted this tourism-style blog thing, and I got excited and wanted to be impressive, so I was all like, “blogs?  I love blogs! I have a blog! YOU SHOULD READ MY BLOG!.” (Ugh. Why? WHY???)

As a real, live, working human being, when I take to my online blog, I am not usually looking to create interest in the many products, services and experiences available in this fine province.  I’d rather rant, journal, play with words and use this space to just…think about stuff. 

I’m also not much of a photographer.  These facts taken together mean that my blog does not look much like a tourism ad! 

I don’t know if there was a communication issue, but apparently that was somehow what they expected.

Within a day and a half of having access to my blog site, I received an extremely curt email.  Two lines to tell me they were “going in a different direction.”  (No video game tournament for me.)  

Bummer. After 2 AMAZING interviews.  After I had become genuinely excited about this prospect.

This sucks so much, because there is not a doubt in mind that I could have written all that kitschy stuff.  If I had my time back, I would have clarified exactly what they wanted an example of and offered to produce it.  (Especially since I know that they had liked at least some of the things in my portfolio.)

Lesson:  Not every style of writing will work in all situations.  (My deeply personal blog was not a boon here, but a turnoff.)  Also, I still need to work on being ASSERTIVE.  I could have helped myself out a couple of years ago by communicating better.  I also should have taken control of the situation by getting the details and going ahead and producing a sample.  (And I should have been VERY CLEAR that my blog was filled with personal reflections, thereby modifying their expectations.)

Upside to console myself with: I at least saved myself from working with a bunch of heels who can’t be arsed to get a couple of chairs and a decent coffee table for their waiting area.  

I don’t care how sleek your design is, there’s just no excuse for that! 



The Hard Truth of Managing Your Own Happiness

(How to Avoid Feeling Like a Smooshed Grape)

I’ve gotten to this slightly jaded place, where if you start talking to me about vision boards, or even mention the “law of attraction,” I start to feel a sense of cringe.  A small part of me wants to roll my eyes. I guess I’m feeling more sceptical about all of that fluffy-bunny woo-woo stuff these days.

I don’t fully mean that of course.  In fact, I’m making fun of myself just a little here.  I’m pretty fluffy-bunny woo-woo. I’m no stranger to crystals and pendulums, herbs, essential oils, tarot cards or healing energy.  I love all of that stuff. I just don’t think it’s wise to make the mistake of thinking that anything can replace hard work, motivation or perseverance.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m still a little resentful of some of the new age philosophy I bought into as a teenager (and stuck with throughout my early twenties). I’ve got a little baggage going on, because I now believe that I was only getting half of the answer.  Somehow, I had absorbed the message that if you just visualized hard enough, things would fall into place.  

This is perfectly encapsulated with the whole idea of “the cursed how’s.”  I remember reading things that were literally telling me that I didn’t need to worry about the steps to accomplishing my dreams, aka “the cursed how’s.”  I only needed to focus on the end result. The Universe would take care of that pesky bit in the middle.  

Utter malarkey, of course.  

Yes, visualizing is good.  Yes, I think you should practice it.  Heck, you should get SO GOOD at visualizing that you are able to practically smell your dreams manifesting.  You should get as involved in your visualization as possible. You should try 100% to make it real for yourself.

And THEN, and see, this is the bit I was missing, you have to come back down to earth and make a plan as to how to get there.  You MUST consider the “cursed how’s,” because your day only has so many hours in it.  You have to turn your goals into step-by-step actions. Houses don’t buy or clean themselves.  Abs don’t magically arrive just because you visualized the perfect body. Getting caught up in a daydream of end results is not the same as rolling up your sleeves and putting in the effort. You cannot wait for the Universe to pluck you out of obscurity and say, This one.  I pick this one. This one’s special.  Trust me.  Tried it. It doesn’t work.

Please bare in mind that all of this is coming from a self-confirmed New Age hippie.  I believe we can do a lot with our energy. I think there’s more to the world than meets the eye.  Yes, I even believe that you can attract a better life by improving your energy. However, you also have to accept your role in the transformation.   As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.”

All of this doesn’t just apply to big life stuff, like dream houses, finding true love, or losing 50lbs. I think it also applies to your daily emotional wellbeing.  Like, you have to take charge of your own happiness. You have to build it yourself, and protect it, and work on it, or it may not stick around.

I don’t know… maybe other people have a more robust, durable sort of happiness, but mine is not.  Mine needs tending to like some kind of fussy, exotic flower garden.  

I journal to deal with my “flower garden” of feelings, and the other day I wrote this: 

I feel like I am being smooshed like grapes for wine.  Like someone is dancing on my soul. Like they are gleefully crushing it beneath their disgusting bare feet.  (Ha. These days, I’m not even so hung up on the wine, just the smooshing.)

Ok, so my soul is being smooshed.  What now? Do other writer-types feel this way?  Do they feel like their 9-5 is sucking away their creative potential?  Their time? Their energy?  

Ha ha.  I’m writing this while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and Sheryl Crow’s “If it Makes You Happy” just started playing.  Personally, I think that was a little heavy-handed of the radio.

Yeah, my personal journal rants and a little dramatic, but the bad feeling of being “crushed” was, I think, due to my lack of organization/motivation in keeping up my own happiness-inducing habits.  For me, those habits, those “cursed how’s” are so important. My fussy, exotic flower garden requires: adequate and regular sleep, cardio and strength training contained in 4-6 workouts a week, time for writing, time for reading, time for singing, healthy well-balanced plant-based meals, time for meditation and time spent with friends and family.  If I start lacking in any one area, I am off. Life is bad. My emotions get…well, you saw the journal entry!

The only way to get it all done, and to avoid the “my soul is being smooshed” feeling, seems to be to schedule my life, and then maintain the motivation to actually carry through with my plans.  

I’m drawing attention to that last bit because I feel like that’s where I tend to fall down.  I can come up with a great schedule/plan and then get distracted, or get busy with something else, and all of a sudden it’s 10:30PM, and my real goals for the day are yet to be accomplished.

And I wind up feeling like a smooshed grape.

Vision board away.  Feel free to send your hopes and prayers.  (You can even send ‘em my way!) Maintain a rule of “good vibes only.”  Just remember, it’s still you who has to put in the grind and the effort.  You are the only one capable of rowing away from the rocks.