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! 



A Great Night’s Sleep and a Productive Tomorrow

10:30PM really snuck up on me tonight. I’ve taken a late Christmas vacation. I’m no longer accustomed to going to bed remotely early. Been leaning a little too hard into the whole “night owl” thing, I suppose. I really have to make this fast, because I have work in the morning.

I don’t ever really talk about my job, partly because it is very boring to talk about, and partly because it is one of those jobs that you’re really not supposed to spend a lot of time discussing publicly. (Believe me, I don’t want to bore you with the more bland details!) That said, I’ve gotten a (kind of?) promotion at my somewhat beige job, and it starts tomorrow!

I say “kind of” because while yes, it is a promotion, it’s an ”acting position.” That means that after the term of my position is up (in April), I could wind up going back to my current position. (Hoping that doesn’t happen, but we shall see.)

Anyway, same workplace, new role. I’m super nervous because now I have to be more of a resource person for some of my colleagues. Yikes. People depending on me. I’ll be trying to do everything to be as by-the-book as possible.

It may not come as a shock to anyone that I’m not an overly “square” person. I have to force myself into the more regimented parts of the job. I excel at the person-to-person stuff with clients. I like to think that I’m usually pretty decent at “getting” people, and at being a real human being.

I don’t know about this. I’m comfortable in the wings. I feel like I could be a really good political speech writer. I also know that I’m ok with the spotlight. I don’t mind singing or acting in front of a crowd. Being in a mentor/resource person role though? Totally different. I’m so comfortable just doing my own thing. The idea of anyone’s success being directly tied to me is…uncomfortable.

Come to think of it, I really ought to have done to a little ritual to feel ready. Perhaps bedtime could wait but a moment longer?

Here’s to a great night’s sleep and a productive tomorrow,


Corporate Cluelessness

So, if you were at a work meeting, and someone mentioned having just discovered Buddhism, how would you act? Or, if a friend of yours in the office confided, loudly enough to be overheard, that she just taken up a Hindu meditation practice? Or, how about all those colleagues I sometimes hear talking about a shared experience at church? What’s the proper office protocol?

Granted, the office really isn’t the place for religious discussion, but if we’re being honest, from time to time it does happen. And, if we’re all going to be tolerant of one another, ideally it shouldn’t really matter if it does. That said, I think if you encountered any of these situations above, as a rational human being, you are going to greet the person with respect. You might even be a little curious! You definitely wouldn’t laugh. That would be exceedingly rude.

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the following situation in a training class at work today…

There’s this middle-aged woman in my class, and I don’t know how they got started on the topic, but somebody asked her if she was Catholic. And she said, “actually no, if I’m anything these days I feel like I’m mostly Wiccan.” Which I thought was a lovely thing for her to say, and very honest too! And the girl sitting behind her burst out laughing. And I mean she really laughed.

It seems to me that most other religions would expect a little more respect. It also seems to me that my religion deserves every bit as much respect as anyone else’s. It’s hard not to react negatively in that type of situation. But I suppose I have to understand, it might just come down to cluelessness.😤

Perhaps there’s a way to gently educate my coworker? I haven’t said anything yet.

Green Smoothies, Getting a Job, and that Terrible Budget…

I’m going to go ahead and call this past week an all-round interesting one.  I will say that, although I STILL do not have any set-in-stone plans for my future, and things are still feeling very up in the air right now.  (The excitement!) I believe that things will work out for the best, and I am very curious about the opportunities the Universe is currently presenting me with.

As of right now, I actually DO have a part-time, and fairly unexpected job. (!)  My ex-boss from 4 years ago, back when I was writing commercials, is…now my boss again.  I met with her earlier this week, and I have been invited back on a part-time basis.  Very cool.  It actually felt amazing to be back in the building after 4 years away.  (It was terrifyingly also a little like ‘coming home’!)  I am excited to use my writing skills once more, and I am thrilled to see some folks I haven’t talked to in a while, as well as to meet some of the new-to-me faces around the building.  I’m pleased to at least see where this thing leads.

I also managed to do a little soul-searching and to revamp my diet.  I think feeling a little blue kind of derailed my regular eating.  When you start eating crappy food, it can be really hard to stop, and I had definitely noticed that I sorta fell off the wagon.  I also know how good I COULD feel with the right food, so I am deep into raw food again. I say “again,” because I have experimented with raw veganism in the past.  

I want to reassure those of my friends who may worry about me, however.  This time, I am NOT doing things with an iron-clad strict approach.  I am also NOT even eating entirely vegan (just a lot of vegan-friendly food), and I have every intention of sitting down to a decent, cooked supper most nights.  (Jason would have it no other way!)  I am not aiming to be perfect, only to put what I know about proper diet into action.  Hey, who doesn’t like to feel good?

Right now, I am ramping up the amount of fruits and veggies I eat during the bulk of the day, and, again, I aim to have a heavier meal with my family in the evenings.  This sort of approach (based on SOME of the thinking in the highly-popular “Raw ‘til 4” movement) works really well for me, and makes me feel very alive.  Again, for anyone who knows me, I want to stress that this is so that I can feel/perform my best.  I am NOT restricting calories, just crappy food.  I always find that a couple of days with a LOT more greens and fruit-packed smoothies will make me feel like wonderwoman.  🙂

In the realm of positive change, I really think I’ve eased up on myself  more recently, and that’s a good thing.  I’m 33, I’m 5’5”, and I guess now I’ll never be a teen model. 😉  I still love experimenting with fashion, and I love makeup, but yes, there are times when I know I may be using it out of insecurity.  Like, when I worry about my uneven complexion, and wind up using corrector, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, blush and highlighter all at once.  

I want to stress that there is NOTHING wrong with any of that stuff, and I am NOT about to give up my bronzer or anything, but when you feel like you NEED it…that’s a bit of a warning sign.  

I had a good think earlier the week, and I am proud to say that other than moisturizer and sunscreen (my poor nose always burns!) I have been leaving my skin goop-free.  You know what else guys?  I look totally fine.

So I guess that’s it.  Some distinctly interesting possibilities in my life right now, a lot of bananas and dates, and learning to live with my natural self.

Oh, and the Newfoundland budget is flaming terrifying, so I made this:Library

Happiness Tips for the Unemployed (and Underemployed)

Society is pretty relentless in showing us what “success” looks like.  We know it well from television shows, music videos and social media.  It is a sun-drenched life of privilege and freedom.  It is a life where money is no object, and where everyone is almost effortlessly beautiful and popular.  It is, of course, what many of us want for ourselves.

Unfortunately, lots of us must grow up to face a life that looks very different from the life of our hopes and dreams. No one’s goal is to be unemployed, or to feel underemployed and underutilized at work.  The child within us, the one with the big ideas, cannot help but become dissatisfied.  Where are those awards?  The accolades?  Where is the totally sweet company car?  Where is all the money that the media tells us over and over again that if we just work really really hard for, we will certainly get?  (Not to mention the big house, the beautiful, adoring partner, the luxurious vacations and, these days, the thousands of online followers!)

It can seem like we want to collectively sweep anyone who isn’t at the top of their game under the rug.  Like we would rather ignore them until they get their eyebrows on fleek and some dolla dolla bills in their bank account.  That’s hell on the ego, and with the current Newfoundland budget, it could also turn into a lot of sweeping.  

So, what do you do if you’re the one facing tough times?  How do you keep up your happy if your life isn’t quite the vision of success you were hoping to achieve by now?  

Without further ado, here are my top ten tips for keeping your sanity, and your good mojo going when you are out of work, frustrated with your work situation or otherwise under financial strain.

  1. Pull yourself together!  The temptation exists to let yourself slide when your prospects take a downturn.  Fight this urge.  Get dressed and put on your face, if that’s what you need to do to make yourself feel great. (Eyeliner makes me feel better every time!)  Wear decent clothes.  Eat a sensible meal.  Make sure your household mess is tamed to a dull-roar.  It’s cheesy, but when you make your world look and feel better, it’s hard not to be at least a little happier.
  2. Honestly assess your situation.  It’s more convenient to play ostrich, but it’s way better for you to get this entire bummer situation out into the open first.  This could mean that you sit down alone with an open computer and an open mind, and/or this might be a conversation you have with your partner.  Either way, get out that budgeting app and look up your bank accounts too.  It’s time for a thorough examination of where you are, so that you can get a handle on what it will take to get to where you need to be.  Are your expenses basically covered?  Can you afford to save anything? Do you have a cushion in case things get worse?  Is there any spending you could conceivably cut back on?
  3. Take the best financial care of yourself possible.  Once you’ve taken stock, you can make a goal-oriented plan. Seeing a way to move forward the best way to fight the blues!  You might not get a job (or a raise) today, but you can at least be informed enough to know where you’re headed.  (It may be highly beneficial to read up on finances, or seek out a financial adviser.)
    Also, if you need to submit time-sensitive forms, (for EI purposes for example), make sure you do so early.  Write those due dates down, or put reminders in your technology!  It is depressing to have to ask for money, sure.  It is more depressing to have NO MONEY because you didn’t take the time to do some basic steps.
  4. GO OUTSIDE.  It turns out that staying inside worrying and staring at a computer screen isn’t very happiness-inducing.  Don’t do this to yourself.  You DO have permission to go outside.  Even if it’s just for a little while, and especially if it’s sunny out.  I never come back home and think, ah damn, I shouldn’t have taken that half hour walk in the sunshine.  
  5. Plan your days.  If you go to bed knowing that you have no definite plans tomorrow, it can really drag you down.  But wait…why don’t you have any plans?  You may not be working, but, are you allocating some specific amount of your time to looking for a job?  Do you still practice your hobbies? Do you make time for that walk we just talked about?  A full, planned day when you are not working will keep your spirits up, and help you be more productive.
  6. Maintain a BUDGET.   I mentioned a budgeting app earlier.  It doesn’t have to be an app, but that’s certainly one convenient way to go.  I am surprised by the number of adults I know who don’t keep track of personal finances somehow.  It is so worthwhile!  If you don’t want to use app and you like excel, or some other method, use that, but do something.  Simply ‘hoping for the best’ money-wise is rarely a prudent approach. Track your budget, and actually log what you spend your money on. You could be very surprised!  
  7. Don’t fixate.  If you are taking good financial care of yourself, you are allocating time in your day for your job hunt, and you are trying your best to be on top of your budget, give yourself a break.  You can worry about money when you do budget stuff, or when you actually sit down to pay the bills, but not for the rest of the day.  If you have to, you could even write down your money worries to address later when you find them cropping up in your mind.  You are allowed to use your mind for other things.  (Yes, you are even allowed to be happy!)
  8. Hobbies.  You have to do the things that make you “you,” even if you feel down. Whether it’s singing, or lawn darts, or Filipino stick fighting, or putting together giant puzzles in the basement, include some time in your plan for things that bring you genuine joy.  These small pockets of activity will brighten your mood, and that tends to spill over into the rest of your life.  
  9. Treat yourself.  Ok, if money is tight and/or you’re between jobs, this might not amount to a weekend at a fancy resort.  How about a new lipstick?  A cool t-shirt?  A haircut or a book to read?  Even if your resources are limited, you can usually afford the occasional something that puts a smile on your face.  Plan to make those small indulgences semi-regularly.  
    If even a few dollars seems impossible, make a list of non-monetary treats you can rotate through.  You and your partner could exchange 15-minute massages.  You could make a date with a friend for a walk in the park.  You could make a trip to your local library. You could take a long, leisurely hour of yoga.  The most important thing is that this be a brief celebration of you!  We are all human after all, and  we all need some excitement…just like how every calorie-counter needs a cheat meal!
  10. Maintain Your Contacts and Stay Professional.  It is important to not let any simmering resentment cloud your judgement on what constitutes “professional” behaviour.  Do not burn bridges.  Do not spurn former colleagues.  Do not simply disappear either.  Instead, challenge yourself to keep on top of your industry.  Study up.  Periodically email people whom you admire in your field.  Check out forums surrounding whatever it is you do.  You will feel much better if you are a part of the conversation.
    As well, remember that employers typically waste no time in checking whatever publicly available information there is to be had on prospective employees.  This underscores the need for an impeccable online profile.  Make sure you represent yourself well in general.  Are you someone YOU would hire?   

    All in all, good luck, keep that smile on your face, and keep trying. I really do know it’s tough out there!