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A101

Where to begin?

It still feels unreal, and here’s my forewarning to you: it might get sappy. 

TL;DR: I got offered a pretty perfect position, and I’M STOKED. And I will be returning to Austin, TX…sometime.

LONG READ: Fall 2014. I’m feeling a little mopey, but I’m searching for jobs on full blast. I have an extensive Excel sheet to prove it (thank you Jaime for inspiring that). My Excel sheet had everything: company name, contact info, what industry, when I’ve contacted them, links and status. Down the list, you would see a company called Manes & Co. I found them through ACL. Yes, that’s right, Austin City Limits Music Festival. I had been Twitter stalking, and found the agency because I discovered that one of their clients was one of my favorite brands: Cuvée Coffee.

An email was sent out of curiosity, and I wasn’t expecting anything back…but I received a response from the Mane guy himself. Pro Tip: People will tell you that submitting emails to “info@companyname.com” or submitting a form is futile, but let me tell you- I’ve gotten a job offer/agency tour/contacts from submitting a form. Not all hope should be lost. 

Anyhoo, emails were exchanged, questions were answered, but unfortunately they were not hiring at the time. I was bummed, but the overarching theme: not all hope should be lost. He let me know that 2-3 months down the road, I would have a shot. Excited for the possibility, but continued on my search. If you’ve been keeping up, I’ve experienced a few jobs since then and now.

*Fast forward to July 2015*

Scrolling through my Twitter Feed, as I do, a job posting caught my eye. It was from Manes & Co. Here it was, that shot. It was a long shot, but it was a shot nonetheless. And I kid you not, as I was drafting my email to Manes, the Mane man emailed me. A few revisions to my resume and several drafts of emails later- *airplane e-mail noise.* A phone interview was scheduled and a talk later- I was offered a job.

I was offered THE job.  

I would get the opportunity to represent one of my favorite brands, be a part of building another one and be a Mane team member. (I am already obsessed with making this my Mane pun. Now, I finally understand why people make puns out of my name.) What a feeling. To not only be offered a [pretty perfect job], with an ideal situation, and for your soon-to-be-but-now-is boss to be so confident in you and your abilities.

It’s nice.

For a couple of weeks, I was feeling static, professionally. I love what I do, but I didn’t know where I was going…and I was wondering if I was going anywhere at all. A part of it was feeling directionless, but a part of it was the lack of motivation to pick up a map. You know? But I was 100% aware that no one was going to give me that map, I had to go and direct myself. Hope is not lost, but it’s if you keep that door open, if you keep going toward it, if you still want it. (Whatever “it” is.)

And while some people may believe that this job fell into my lap, I assure you it did not. Feels like it, sometimes…but no job ever does. Nothing ever falls into your lap, but maybe if you knock something over while sitting. *knee slap* (No one? Ok.) So, yes, I will be making my way back to the city of music, the city of breakfast tacos, the city of every festival, the city of ESK, Pieous, ABW and of course, Cuvée Coffee (and Tecovas Boots!). Sooner than I expected, but not too soon! I’m still slinging coffee, so come visit me sometime Houston friends.

What’s the title of this blog post again? Oh yes, not all hope should be lost.

thu texas flag

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Little by little, I’m becoming more vulnerable on this blog. What is Houston doing to me? It’s making me soft…

Or maybe it’s age. Or maybe it’s because I’m choosing to be more willing to share. It’s probably Brene Brown and Jamie Tworkowski, too. WHO KNOWS? But now I know that I’m circling…

Anyhow, I’m not talking professional life today, I’m talking about personal. And this may be my personal blog, but I find that Instagram is the top platform where I get pretty personal. With that being said, I can tell you that my Instagram is an inaccurate representation of my life. (But isn’t everyone’s Instagram?)

When I post things anywhere on the Internet, I try to be as authentic as possible. Even with my food puns. I choose not to post certain things. However, I never intend to mislead someone to thinking that I have some ideal life when there are times that home girl is crying while she watches a Shaytards vlog. Home girl is me, by the way. But I guess there’s a large part that is uncontrollable. Because people will piece together whatever they choose how to perceive your life. And it doesn’t matter how authentic or genuine you are trying to be. I’m still circling…

Here it is, TL; DR: If I post sad Instagrams, is that wrong? Am I searching for pity? If I only post happy Instagrams, am I being unauthentic? Will people think that I’m a back-door-bragger? Am I doing it to accumulate Likes, comments or is it something else?

I really think about these questions. Granted, I post [some of] them anyway, but there are those thoughts that cross my mind. I mean, what has it come to for me? Why do I worry? Why do I care? Am I overthinking it (this is what I tell myself a lot. It’s just a photo sharing tool.) What am I searching for? Am I searching at all?

What is driving my compulsion to share?

Here’s a real personal example: This past week hasn’t been the greatest week. It’s been filled with a little bit of everything: anxiety, disappointment, hurt, sadness. And I posted this Instagram. It may have been one of my most sad and honest Instagrams. It didn’t get that many Likes. Not as many as the one that followed, which was a “happier one.” Why is that? And then I think, why care? I shared a real moment. I wanted to, because it was accurate. I tried to end it on a good note, because in reality in my mind- no one wants to find a sad Instagram on their feed…and I didn’t either. 1) Because that’s a downer, no? but 2) With the sadness I felt, I am surrounded by people who wanted me to feel better, to talk with me, to spend time with me. I felt thankful and encouraged, and I had to share that moment of clarity.

Anyway, that’s how I Instagram. It’s a part of my life. Hello.

Feel free to piece what you think my life is (@thutexas). Or, feel free to share with me what you think about Instagram.

screen grab thu texas instagram

Update: I totally wrote a post similar to this, with similar feelings. So I guess I’m not a robot after all! 

So, I work two part-time jobs. I barista and I intern at a marketing agency. I’m your basic, typical “post-grad-20-something-year-old.” *waving hand emoji*

I’m lost, I’m broken and I don’t have direction. I’m standing at a fork in the road, and I have no idea which path to go down. I’ve talked to friends and family. At the end of the day, it’s up to me.

Damn it.

So, naturally I’m blogging about it (re: typical “post-grad-20-something-year-old”). I know I’m not the only one, I work with other baristas who struggle with similar to identical dilemmas. They are in transition, working and trying to figure out where they want to go after this. Recently, I’ve been gaining more responsibility in both respective jobs. I’ve been learning more about my performance and more about my own work ethic. How does this help me go down a career path? Strangely, it doesn’t. Or maybe I’m not paying attention. I’ve talked to one of my bosses about my concern. My concern that I’m familiar with a lot of skills, however, not an expert in one or two. Specialization, that’s what the Industrial Revolution was all about, wasn’t it?

Has the status quo changed? I shouldn’t even be concerned with the status quo. Yet here I am, thinking to myself, “What am I supposed to be doing?” I’m thinking to myself, “There must be an answer (and someone else knows it, if I don’t).” This is when the left side of my brain kicks in, the logic…however illogical it actually is. A question is proposed and there should be an answer. Should. Right?

A part of me knows the answer to that question: it’s a fat “no.” The answer is my own damn answer, whatever I choose. But there is so much weight that comes with it that I can’t bear to stick to one answer. I’m noncommittal. It’s something I’m trying to fix, and I’m not given the proper time…and unfortunately time stops nor pauses for no one.

So I come to this fork in the road, and I have these paths to choose from: Do I want to pursue more agency experience in content marketing? Do I want to go back and see if I want to do client services in another setting? Do I want to start at square -1 and pursue design? Or do put all of my time and heart into propelling the coffee shop that I work at (in addition to succeeding in latte art)? These are all real questions.
I’m not bullshitting and hiding behind vagueness, not today.

What do I do? I’m at a fork in this weird, weird road.

the beginning of everything

The thing about gold is that it easily tarnishes.

And after I read that sentence, I was sold on the book. The Beginning of Everything was everything I never thought I would like or read. It’s fiction, which is “red flag” #1. It’s in a high school setting, which is #2. Although now that I think about it, most of the fiction books that I do read…are all set in high school (with the exception of East of Eden).

Anyway, aside from the fact that this was a book I unexpectedly read…I also read it all in one day. And that’s one thing that I like about fiction books, they’re quick reads. There’s just something about not being able to wait.

So, The Beginning of Everything talks about personal tragedies.

Personal tragedies in the sense of the typical high school tragedies: boy steal girl, girl hate, high school romance, debate team drama, etc.
And then there are other personal tragedies specific to this book like self-esteem, death, trauma, and feeling like an outcast.

I wondered what things became when you no longer needed them, and I wondered what the future would hold once we’d gotten past our personal tragedies and proven them ultimately survivable.

Whether it’s that boy-steal-girl tragedy, or death-in-the-family tragedy, I think we subconsciously ask ourselves this. Personally, it took me a long time to get over the death of my grandma. When this tragedy proved itself to be survivable, I almost asked myself, “But how?” Almost feeling guilty of the fact that I survived emotionally, when in the literal sense, my grandma did not.

Doesn’t this sound like a real catch of a book? It really is. I really enjoyed it.

The book also quotes Mary Oliver, “Tell me what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?”

In this current chapter of my life, I ask myself this question in a variety of ways, practically every single day only coming to a very vague and ambiguous answer. And now I’m asking and wondering to myself, “This part of my life seems like it won’t end and it’s kind of terrible (It’s not that terrible). My new personal tragedy of this post grad life. But I know it will end, and I will survive, and then what?”

So, I have this folder on my Bookmarks Bar called, “To Read.”
As you know, I do read a lot/most things, but not everything (who can though?). I also Bookmark things so that I can read it later…
…well it’s piled up and I have a feeling that something in the folder could help me in the job search or self-esteem or creative rut, etc.

To clean up this folder and keep my learning gears running, I’m going to commit to reading 5 articles, writing notes, hyperlinking them, and posting them on here. I think I’m going to call this series “TL;TR,” which means “Too Long; Thu Reads.” I’ll do it weekly until I run out of articles.

too long; thu reads

Sorry if you’ve seen these links from X years ago, X months ago, X days ago. I’ve had this folder for a while. I also don’t remember how I’ve come across some of these articles, soooo. And last disclaimer or preface because I just read the first article in this folder: This is super revealing of what I Bookmark, and I feel vulnerable.

With that said, here are my first 5 articles, starting from the very top, enjoy!

  • My Posthumous Advice for My Daughter
    Notes: Be nice.
    Nine times out of ten, you’re not having a full-on nervous breakdown (this is true).
    Choose your friends. Ask questions.
    Life stories categorize themselves in “amazing, enjoyable times” or “appalling experiences that will make future amazing anecdotes.”
    “Host extravagantly, love constantly, and dance in comfortable shoes.”
  • In 20 Words or Less, What’s Your Creative Philosophy?
    Notes: This article asks San Francisco creatives…because it’s from the SF Egoist.
    This article has a ton of creative philosophies, this is probably why I stopped reading *scrolls and scrolls and scrolls.*
    I like the people at Argonaut, how do I get there?
    Notable creative philosophies: Creativity isn’t chronological. -Conal O’Doherty, Head of Growth at Argonaut
    Encompassing philosophy: Collaboration.
  • REALiSM
    Notes: This article features a collection of graphics that depict…realism. It’s worth scrolling through if you’re not looking for something text-heavy. Lots of 20th Century vs. 21st Century comparisons.
  • Kat Cole: From Hooters Girl to the Corner Office
    Notes: Under 40 years old, and she’s running Cinnabon. Um, okay. Before 25, she was traveling internationally to oversee global management training, working [corporate] for Hooters. It’s one of those stories, but who doesn’t love a good story?
  • 11 Life Lessons You Get From Shopping at Target
    Notes: Well this is a touch embarrassing, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t an avid ThoughtCatalog reader a couple of years ago. It’s a black hole that can suck you in if you’re not careful. I had to know what these “life lessons” could be, I had no idea there was anything to learn from shopping at Target except for the fact that it is also a black hole. I never get anything I’m supposed to at this place…and this is basically what the article talks about.

So…this was longer than I intended. Maybe I’ll just do one-liners next time? Thoughts? Concerns? Comments? Leave something below as I read the next 5 articles, and prep for next week!

I’m not going to ACL this year and it’s weird. I’ve gone every year since I was a freshman (it became a tradition for me) and I actually have opportunity to go. I mean, it’s two weekends, it’s arguably “bigger”, and I actually get paid at my job. So why am I not going?

Two weekends + arguably bigger = stresses me out. I don’t know why, probably an internal thing, but when ACL was one weekend, it already stressed me out. I think I got really anxious and that just drove me nuts. It’s my own fault really, but I digress.

So in my absence of not going, I thought I would share some things that I learned through my ACL experiences. By all means, add a comment below if I’m missing anything!

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ACL Fest 2013 Tips:

  1. Don’t stress. I don’t know why I did, but if you’re a person like me, go get a drink.
  2. On that note, stay HYDRATED. Shows, walking around, and being outside for 12 hours a day- you don’t want to end up at the medic tent, keep yourself hydrated, bring a water bottle. (Over-21’s: double-fist beer and water!)
  3. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT IT SHOULD BE #1: If you can get on a bike, bike to ACL. You’ll save yourself from the stress (#1) when you see the nightmare of traffic you’ll run into right around Lamar & Barton Springs. It’s faster, there’s designated bike parking, you’ll thank yourself later. And it’s fun!
    Bike rules: Safety in numbers, be well-lit, don’t be an idiot.
  4. If you are one of those people (I was), make a flag. If not, the Texas Tower with the ACL schedule is a good alternative. Everyone else meets there.
  5. Expect that you’re not going to see everyone you want to see and you might see people you’ve never heard of [and love them]. I think that’s what stressed (#1) me out. It’s going to be OK. I learned this three ACL’s too late.
  6. Bring extra toilet paper/paper towel sheets/sanitizer. You never know when you’re going to need it and you can’t really trust porta-potties to be stocked with toilet paper by Day 2.
  7. Try to get as much free stuff as you can. It’s mostly marketing but if you’re going to get a bandana with your face printed on it? Yeah, I’m going to sign my e-mail (and then delete it later).  I also shamelessly took 3 Sweet Leaf Tea chapsticks, so… just do it.

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A101 (def): Tips on life taught by yours truly in hopes that maybe you can relate, share your story with me, and take something away from this. Not that I think I have some sort of God-given right to do so… I’m just hoping someone can relate and feel less alone in whatever situation they may be in. It really is a dream of mine to teach a class called “A101.” Ask Hannah.

I say “fake it ’til you make it” all of the time, but now I know that I’m wrong.

What? I’m wrong about something? That’s a first.

Just kidding, I’m only human. Humans can be wrong (even me). I do say “fake it ’til you make it” a lot though and here’s why: mostly because I like to kid around, but I did feel this strong belief toward it. Now I’m not advocating being a fake by any means but I think that sometimes we are our own person to our fullest potential…behind closed doors… or in the comfort of our home… or just around our friends. We only reveal our best selves in front of people we feel comfortable around and to everyone else we fake being a person of lesser potential…I do it sometimes. I do it a lot when I feel intimidated- like in an interview or talking to a professor, even when I meet new people.

When I evaluate myself after an interview, I sometimes think, “Man, I didn’t get to say _____ because I was feeling so nervous and now they won’t know I’m amazing and I deserve this job.” I am sure that I am not alone feeling this. It’s that post-first-impression-dissonance-type feeling. You wish you could take that moment back, rewind, and do it again. There’s a french word that I read in Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? that describes the feeling you get when you come up with something clever but only after the fact. (I obviously haven’t learn my lesson to write things down.)

Then I watched this: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

Here’s the thing: I love nonverbals and this video is all about that. I love reading them, I love learning about them, I basically geeked out the whole time I was watching this. If you have 20 minutes of free time and if you’re reading my blog, you do, watch it! Nonverbals matter. When Amy Cuddy mentioned “Fake it ’til you make it,” that only furthered my geeking out. But I also had a realization and came to agree with her when she said, “you shouldn’t fake it ’til you make it…you fake it ’til you become it.”

Now what I think she meant by this is what I was talking about above. We are incredible human beings but for some reason cower in these “low power positions” when we should really be posing like Wonder Woman, defeating job interviews and social situations with our best selves (you kind of have to watch the video to know what this means…). Study shows people who did these “high power poses” were willing to take more risks, had more testosterone, and less cortisol (stress hormone). Fake it ’til you become your best self, because when we do that, we are present, we are authentic, etc. Next time I go into a job interview, I will be doing the Wonder Woman pose in the bathroom so don’t be taken aback if you see me!

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Found this on my jog on Saturday | What’s stopping you?

Seriously, watch the video, it’s fascinating.