Please be kind.

This photo has nothing to do with my post, it’s just a beautiful day around here today so I thought I’d share.

Please be kind. It’s a general rule for life, yes. But I find this time of year everyone seems to be stressed out and some people really don’t handle it well while in public. This is just a reminder that, instead of losing your cool on the poor cashier who didn’t cause the issue and can’t solve the issue, just be kind. Don’t yell at the Post Office Attendant because everyone in the world wants to mail something at the same time as you. Don’t walk out of the restaurant without tipping your waiter/waitress just because the kitchen was slow. That’s not your servers fault, everyone eats out this time of year. Also, please, please, please don’t harass, belittle or mistreat the gate attendants if you’re travelling. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are all trying to get somewhere for the holidays and they’re only trying to help. They cannot control plane maintenance, weather, where you’re sitting or where your bags end up. So please remember that when you embark on your travels.

Please be kind.

Practice patience. Be kind. Leave yourself a little extra time to get things done and the busy stores, restaurants and post offices won’t seem like as much of a hassle.

And, as a general rule of thumb, whenever you get the urge to be an asshole, stop yourself.

What do you want for Christmas?

Photo Credit: earth.com

I find this question really interesting to ask people because there are so many different ways a person can approach this question.

There’s people who’ll say “a million dollars” and people who’ll say “I don’t want a thing”. There’s people who’ll say items that they really know and love, and people who’ll provide practical options they know that person can afford. Some people even ask for donations to be made in lieu of gifts.

Honestly, to me, what people provide as an answer tells me a lot about who they are. Not that any one answer is better than another. Well, perhaps some answers are better than other’s. If you told me you wanted to kick a puppy for Christmas then I’d think you’re a bad person But, that was a huge tangent and I should get back on track. For the most part, when people answer this question, I really think it tells you a lot about who they are. I read a lot into what people ask for Christmas.

Me? People look at me oddly when I say it, but I tend to tell people that I want the staples for Christmas gifts. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, makeup remover… these types of things. Is that weird? Possibly. My thoughts behind it is, if people give me these things as gifts, and I can use them for the next 3-6 months (or longer depending on what they give me) then that’s expenses that I don’t have to worry about. It’s practical to me. And I think that’s really thoughtful. I mean, whoever buys me those things are going to be giving me something that I’ll like and get use from.

Decorative blankets are great and all but there’s only so many of them a girl needs, ya know? And heavens, I’ve got enough clothes, shoes and accessories. I don’t need any more. Of course I’m always thankful for someone thinking of me, but if someone is going to go ahead and spend their money on me, I just hope they’d take me seriously when I say I want thinks like shampoo and toothpaste, etc…

I’m curious to know, what do you want for Christmas? Are you the ‘ask for everything’ type? Are you the ‘ask for something I know they can afford’ type? Are you the ‘I don’t want anything’ type? Or do you prefer experiences over tangible gifts?

Find out who your friends are…

I’ll probably be posting a lot today. I tend to post more when I’m sad, and today I am really sad. I guess that’s life though. Some days you’re up and some days you’re down.

Also, I have a lot to say.

Also, I just like this place.

Alright, I’ll stop justifying myself and start.

The song ‘Find Out Who Your Friends Are’ is ringing true today. Actually, it’s been ringing true to me for most of this year. When I got fired, I thought that I had friends at my job. I thought that I had people who would be there for me, people who cared, whether I worked with them or not. To my shock, my being fired was met with dead silence, or messages of ‘That sux!’ from the people I worked with.

‘That sux!’? Yeah, it does suck getting railroaded because your boss is breaking the law. You knew what was going on, you saw that I got railroaded and you’re still going along with it.

The people that were there for me when I got fired? Knight. My two best friends in Vancouver, volunteering to get on planes and telling me to come live with them. The people that weren’t there for me? The friends I thought were friends at my work. Guess our getting along was contingent on my being their coworker.

Nevertheless, I’ve heard from former coworkers four times over the past ten months, the most recent of which being today. Each time it hasn’t been to check on me, to reach out, to see how I was doing or any of those things. When they reach out, it’s been to ask me how to do things, or how I did things.

Each time my response has been: “That sounds like a problem for Clint (former boss)!”

Today one of my former coworkers texted me with an offer of a trip. When I said ‘No thanks’, they responded with ‘Shoot, I was hoping you’d say yes so that I could ask you for something!’.

Go figure eh?

I don’t like associating people who only offer something when they know they need to ask for something from you. To me, when you give something, there are no strings attached. When I give something there is certainly no strings attached to it.

I was not shocked, nor surprised to hear that they wanted something from me. The song reads:

You find out who your friends are
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get their fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’
They just show on up with their big old heart

And with people like this, they’re always asking ‘What’s in it for me?’

All I can say is, I know who my friends are. I know who’s been there for me, always, no questions ask, nothing required in return.

Oh, also, to my former coworker who wants something from me today… go ask Clint. No amount of trips or money or anything that you could possibly offer me would make me want to do anything for your office. Leave me the fuck alone.

Switching gears entirely…

I wrote a Guest Post for a friend’s blog. If you haven’t heard of ‘Rethinking Scripture’, please go and check out Dwain’s blog, and read my guest post. I’ll admit, it might be a little sad. But, people tend to appreciate my ‘Dear Self’ letters, so if you want to see it – this week’s ‘Dear Self’ is on Dwain’s blog. Go to Rethinking Scripture >

Throwing me a lifeline.

I’ve been going through a bit of an existential crisis lately. Turning 31, still struggling to find anything employment wise, fighting (literally physically fighting) with my family at what seems like every turn, and getting a lot of hate on this blog as of late has been causing me a lot of worry. My thin skin is shining through and it’s just crossed this barrier beyond stress to a point in which I’ve been genuinely struggling to make it through the day.

I’m really having a hard time. I’ve felt like I’ve been drowning. Slowly. Little by little. Day after day.

I’ve been living off my credit card. And, as that gets closer and closer to my limit, I get more and more afraid about what the next few months are going to entail. Last night, out of nowhere, like the Knight in Shining Armour that he is, Knight sent me money. Just because. I can’t even begin to say how much of a weight it lifted off my shoulders. It’s not that I needed the money, or that I’d ever ask him for it. It’s almost as if he just kind of… knew.

To me, it wasn’t the fact that he sent me money, it’s the fact that he knew. He knew I needed someone to extend a hand.

I’m trying to hold it together. I really am. I’m just having a harder time lately. People tell me it is because I’m coming up on a year of unemployment and I’m afraid to reach that date, though I shouldn’t be because it’s an arbitrary date… nothing more than a date on a Calendar.

I have thin skin, an anxious mind and a restless heart.

And honestly, it’s moments like last night that I remember he’s the one who’s been with me through it all. The one who’s supported me, the one who’s encouraged me, the one who’s made me feel like this awkward in-between stage of my life won’t last forever and that I will get through this. I’m so thankful for that.

I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to have a Knight in their life.

SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

I know that I ramble a lot, so I am going to try to keep this brief.

First and foremost, if anyone doesn’t know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

In layman’s terms – SEO is trying to make your webpage appear at, or near the top, of google, bing, duckduckgo, etc… when people search certain terms.


SEO without an established blog and brand is a waste of your time.

But why?

Well, the idea of SEO is ranking your blog/website high on search engines so that when people search certain terms, your blog/website is one of the first things that they see. It’s the idea of gaining raw, organic traffic to your site.

But, and this is a big but, if your brand and blog are not established, what’s the point of ranking at the top of search engines? Heaven knows, if you actually write something that goes viral, without an established brand for your blog, people are going to accidentally stumble on your page, read only the searched term and leave.

Now, if you’re thinking ‘hey, at least I got that traffic!’ I would strongly recommend you readjust your thinking. Successful blogging involves building a community. You want readers to find your blog, read your blog, fall in love with your blog and want to come back. You want them to hit that follow button, like your posts, or submit their email address for subscriptions. Why? Because this is blog growth.

If you write something that does happen to go viral, you want people to read it and to want to come back. If your blog isn’t established, what are people coming back for?

I see a lot of bloggers feel the desire to jump on the SEO bandwagon right away. As much as I hate the statement, you really ought to learn to walk before you can run.

Build that blog. Create that community and that space which you’re damn proud of. Make it a place for people to come, fall in love with you, what you share and who you are. Make it yours. Design a layout. Talk about your passions. Make a safe space for thoughts, hopes and dreams, and everything that you love to write about.

Picture it like you’re building a house. Jumping on the SEO bandwagon before your blog and brand are built is like moving into your master bedroom when the roof hasn’t been put on the house.

SEO is a great tool, when you’re established. And when you’re established, it’s something that you’ll find a great deal of fulfillment in learning and trying to master. But, until you’re established with your blog, any of your posts ranking highly on search engines will likely garner only temporary attention. A day or two of a lot of a traffic might be exciting in theory, but in reality, it’ll show a fatal flaw in your blogging structure in that, you’ll be failing to keep any of that traffic as a piece to your community.

I’m not saying don’t ever establish SEO for your blog, I’m just saying that there are more important steps to establish first.

Build the blog (people will find you from WordPress during the process) then invite the people from the interwebs.

Adventures in job hunting: a clarification

I know that my adventures in job hunting series can, for the most part, come across as quite negative. Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time is aware that job hunting is quite stressful and can be filled with a lot of false leads, unfortunate events and people who just don’t seem willing to be honest and up front about what they’re looking for.

This is not to say there aren’t positives in this process. Because there are. But I like to talk about the negatives and rant about the employers who seem to be conducting their hiring processes all wrong because, quite frankly, I know I’m not alone. These types of things happen to everyone.

Through the past few months, being selected as one of the final two candidates several times, getting hired and then having my job offer rescinded (due to “corporate restructuring”) and so on and so forth, I’ve learned to be a little more mum about the things I’m excited about… the things I’m hopeful for. Why? Because when I get excited, it often ends in disappointment. Actually, since I’m still technically unemployed, I’m batting 0 for the year and, it always ends in disappointment. That doesn’t mean these weren’t good experiences though. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good HR people out there. That doesn’t mean that nothing good ever comes from job hunting.

For me, it’s hard to get my hopes up, to get excited about it and to really believe it’s going to happen only to have my dreams quashed when they ‘take a different route’. That’s not to say I have any negative feelings or ill-will towards that company, that’s just to say they didn’t want me.

There are good people working in HR. I’m sorry if it comes across as my bashing HR. I have had good experiences. There are good hiring managers in this world. I’m sorry if it comes across as my consistently bashing these workers. Because in spite of all the idiots and assholes I cross paths with, there are some really good ones in this world.

It’s just, when I’m dealing with the disappointment of making it all the way to being final two and then I don’t get selected, it’s tough to then turn around and tell stories of my consistently not being good enough. For that reason, ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ tends to be a series more about the epic failures of companies that I cross paths with in this unemployment journey. Adventures in Job Hunting is all about the struggles that I, and all too many people go through to try and find a job. It is by no means a reflection of job hunting as a whole.

I just like to vent about the shitty stuff, the assholes and the liars. Because venting about it helps me get over it and move on faster.

Because… I’m onto the next. I’m not giving up. I can’t give up. Someone, somewhere out there is going to realize my value and what I could bring to their office. Someone is going to know they need to hire me. Until they do though, I’m sure there’ll be many more ‘Adventures in Job Hunting’ posts to come.

Sorry, not sorry. That’s life.

Adventures in job hunting: Misleading job descriptions.

I had a phone interview for a job scheduled for today at 11:00.

The job that I applied for was for a Marketing Coordinator for one of the most major beverage companies in the world.

I read the job description and it talked about creating and implementing a marketing plan, determining new markets and sectors for which to expand the brand, using communication platforms to deliver messages and promotions of the products and deciding events to sponsor. These are all typical marketing related tasks.

The ENTIRE job description mentioned that it was for this particular beverage brand. NOWHERE in the job description did it mention that it was for any other brand, or anything but this particular beverage brand.

Get three minutes into the phone interview and he lets me know that the job isn’t actually for this brand at all, it’s for one of their subsidiaries.

Fine.

Whatever.

Then, he asks me what makes me want to work for this brand – the subsidiary, not what I thought I was applying for.

I told him the position seemed like a challenge that I would be great for and I was excited at the prospect.

Then he said ‘No, not why you want this position, why do you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

I again mentioned the position seemed like something that would excite me.

And again, he said ‘I know why you think the position is great, but why did you want to work for this brand (the subsidiary)?

Well, sir, I didn’t actually know I was applying for a job with this subsidiary until about a minute ago when you told me. There was no listing of the subsidiary anywhere in the job posting. At all.

Scuffles on the other end of the phone.

‘You’re not very quick at thinking on your feet, are you?’ he asks.

‘Guess not!’ I said and tried to laugh it off, knowing this was going to be held against me.

Then he goes on to say ‘Well, I’ll explain to you a little more about the position. As a member of our sales team..’

Hold up.

Nothing in the job description mentioned ANYTHING about sales. ‘Oh, the job description didn’t mention anything about sales?’ I calmly, casually suggested.

He says ‘Well Marketing Activation is, by definition, sales’.

I disagree with that statement on its face. But whatever.

He goes on to explain that this position is a sales role and commission based.

So I applied to a job that I believed was going to be branding, marketing and establishing this company into new avenues in Western Canada.

The job was actually for a sales position for a subsidiary company in which the job-holder is to drive around the prairie provinces asking different gas stations and arenas and venues if they’re willing to carry this product and what kind of deal I could arrange to sell them these products.