The worst things about unemployment.

Photo from motherjones.com

Anyone who has found themself unemployed for any period of time can absolutely understand the struggle that it takes to just get through each day. It almost feels like you’re in a downward spiral staring down the choices of a lose-lose situation and there’s no possible way to dig yourself out.

There’s a lot of shitty things about being unemployed. The following being some of those things that I find to be the worst:

Family and friends who don’t know what really happened assume that it’s your fault. They believe that whatever lead to your unemployment was your own doing… that you’re the one who’s difficult to deal with, because if you weren’t, you would still have a job. Having signed an NDA means that only the people you trust most in this world get to really know what happened… and that, well that’s a very small pool of people. I can count those on less than five fingers.

Potential employers hold your lack of employment against you. There are A LOT, not all, but a lot of potential employers who form judgments about your unemployment and use that against you. Without ever asking why, they’ll simply breeze over your lack of employment and move on to the next candidate. Or, if they go so far as to ask, they won’t accept your reasoning as you’ve provided it and say something like ‘Yeah, but…’.

People think that you’re lazy and entitled if you cannot find work. With an Bachelor’s degree and nearly a decade of experience working in professional circles, when I take my resume to places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, they ignore it. They presume that I’m just going to leave right away so I’m not a worthwhile investment in hiring. Because of this, I continue trying to apply for professional, career positions and continue making it to the last round of interviews to not be selected. People don’t see that, though. They don’t see the behind the scenes. All people see is that I’m not going to work each day and they judge me for it.

It wears you down. It’s extremely disheartening. Rejection after rejection after rejection is hard to take. The fact that you never actually get a legitimate reason for the rejection only makes it harder because you never actually get to know what you did wrong. I would really love to know what I’m doing wrong. If for nothing else but to improve my chances at the next round of interviews for the next job.

Everyone has a different opinion of what makes a good resume a good resume. As much as I love and appreciate help, everyone seems to say something different. With so many people having so many different opinions of what makes something good, how do I know what format I’m supposed to go with?

It becomes really easy to think that you’re the problem. Because, if I wasn’t the problem, I would have been hired by now, right?

I want to work. I want to contribute. I want to succeed. I know that bring a lot to the table. So I find myself feeling as though my talents are being wasted away with each passing day that I’m playing the ‘Will you please hire me?’ game.

Why I dislike ‘Influencers’.

This is a subject that I’m really passionate about. I dislike the term ‘Influencer’. I dislike promoting ‘Influencers’, but I will talk about a couple in this post, or examples sake. I just don’t think they deserve the publicity they get. I dislike the fact that they claim their fame willingly and are happy to reap the rewards of said fame, but hold very little accountability when it comes to the things they do.

  1. Influence is a powerful thing and something that should never be taken for granted, yet I find that so many influencers really don’t give a damn about that fact. They’re just out for money. And damn, if they have a large enough following it doesn’t even seem like they have to work for that money. It just seems to get handed to them. Vegans promoting meat, minimalists promoting stockpiling, devout Christians exclaiming their followers should save themselves for marriage whilst sitting there unmarried and pregnant. It’s a weird, weird world, the internet.
  2. They seem very entitled. “I don’t owe you guys anything” is a statement that really annoys me when I’m watching Youtube videos. You choose to put yourself online. You choose to sell yourself to the likes of coffee creamers and adult diapers for a dollar and then when someone asks you questions the answer is ‘I don’t owe you guys anything’? If you don’t want to owe anyone a response, don’t make the statement to start with.
  3. They seem so disingenuous. There is one particular ‘Influencer’ who I watched peddle a product on their Instagram in four separate photos talking about how amazing it was and how it blew competitors out of the water. Two months later, I saw them make a Youtube video in which they proclaimed they had never actually tried that product. Girl was getting so many sponsored Instagram posts that she couldn’t even remember what she was sponsored for long enough to not put her foot in her mouth. And, when she was called out on it, for her Instagram photos, she deleted the Instagram photos and then began blocking those users calling her out. She presently has 3.7 million subscibers on Youtube and when anyone calls out her ‘slip-ups’, she blocks them. And honestly, she’s not a one off. It happens all the time. On Youtube channels big and small.
  4. Influencers promote mass consumption/over consumption. Honestly, the makeup, the clothing, the ‘HAULS’ the excess of everything that they need to have and brag about having… it’s not necessary. None of it is necessary. But, if you put a smile on your face and slap a filter on it, there’s always someone (a naive soul) on this earth who will spend their money on it.
  5. None of them appear to be making original content anymore. Have you ever watched a Youtube video before and thought ‘Man, I’ve seen this 30 times already!’ Yeah, that seems to happen a lot these days. Favourites videos and fashion hauls, so on and so forth… it’s all the same no matter what Youtube channel you watch.
  6. I absolutely despise when they post ‘Hauls’ and leave the tags visibly on the products because you know they’ve only purchased the things to make a video and then they’re sending the products right back. This isn’t just with clothes, it’s with makeup and toys and home goods and luxury goods. They want to make it look like they’re spending a lot of money when in reality, you’re never going to see that item again because it’s going right back to the store it came from.
  7. “Full transparency, this video is not sponsored, I’m just going to go on and on for the next eight minutes about how much I love this one particular product for no reason.” Full transparency doesn’t mean much to me on the web. People lie. All the time. Especially in the world of Youtube, especially with ‘Influencers’ who live in countries in which there are no regulations stating they need to acknowledge when content is sponsored. If you’re ever in doubt, there’s a 95% chance their content is sponsored.
  8. I wholeheartedly believe they’re given so much stuff that they lose sight of what basic things cost because they just don’t have to buy them anymore. There’s a good chance when an ‘Influencer’ claims something is affordable, it might be… for them… because they don’t buy anything anymore. But for us regular folk, it’s definitely not affordable.
  9. So much drama. Seriously – The majority of James Charles’ audience is young teenagers and look at all the shit he’s pulled this year! Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau held a fake marriage in Las Vegas and charged people $49.99 to watch a livestream of it. Nikita Dragun paid a male model to be her boyfriend. Jaclyn Hill released defective lipsticks and started insulting people when they called her out on it. There’s a reason why Gossip Channels have skyrocketed in popularity this year… it’s because they seem to be the only channels wiling to be transparent and honest.
  10. “I make more than a doctor.” Girl, we get it. You make a lot of money. That totally natural photo of you leaning out the window of your hotel in France to promote a lipstick we’ll never see you wear ever again probably pays you a quarter of my 2018 salary. And those adult diapers you claim to make your 9 and 10 year old kids wear on roadtrips because you don’t like to stop, probably boosted your pay to half my salary last year. None of it seems natural though. None of it seems even remotely real. And I hope that I’m not alone in thinking this.

Personally, I cringe when I see #AD #SP #Sponored #Partner or any other remotely similar thing included in Youtube Videos or Instagram post. It immediately makes me think ‘well, I know what the company told them to say, so how about I go and find a video or post that was not sponsored to be able to see a real review. Because these ‘Influencers’ have cornered the market of the very real reality that is people use google for review of products before they buy.

Men, women across the world are making millions of dollars advertising products to people online that they’ve never seen nor used and they’re being less than transparent about it. And not just money they’re getting either. They’re getting free trips, tickets to Coachella, being given vehicles and so on and so forth. It’s just not real. They’re chasing this fancy, exorbitant lifestyle so hard that they’re willing to sell anything in the process.

Think it’s just adults doing this? ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ is a multi-million dollar making seven year old that deceptively markets, through his Youtube channel (with help of his parents), a multitude of products to young school and preschool aged children in violation of rules from the FTC. It’s estimated that 90% of the content on the channel is sponsored, leaving just 10% to be organic genuine content. If adults have a hard enough time trying to determine what is and isn’t sponsored on Youtube, imagine how impossible that would be for a preschooler.

I guess the point of this rant is just to say, don’t believe everything that you read online. Odds are, if there’s money involved, there’s more to the story than what you’re being told.

Life with social anxiety.

Drawing by user: 12littlegiant21 on DeviantArt.

I once read somewhere that social anxiety is self consciousness on steroids. That’s actually a pretty perfect description of it.

I’m not very good with people. If you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one. Every day activities like ordering a coffee or purchasing groceries can be extremely difficult for me. I live with a fear that I’m being judged. That if I slip up, that if I am not perfect, people are going to remember that, that it’s what I’ll be known for… forever.

People who know me describe me as quiet. And most days, I’d describe myself that way too. I’m quiet to those who don’t know me. I’m quiet because I worry – about what they think of me, about being enough for them, about not being an embarrassment.

People who don’t know me often describe me as having permanent resting bitch face. They say that I come across as cold and… uninterested. I listen, I hear, I understand, I just… don’t know what to say back when they talk to me. I stare blankly into the abyss hoping for something to come to mind, but it never does.

Small talk is awful. I mean downright awful. Having a simple conversation with someone – a coworker, a bank teller, the bus driver, anyone really… it takes a great deal of effort for me. Effort that quite often comes across with people believing me to be a closed off shell of a human being.

Some days are better than others. But some days, it’s all I can do to not live in terror of my non-existent flaws. Because they’re there. You may not be able to see them but I can definitely feel them.

I overthink absolutely everything. Even the smallest of interactions can send me into a fiery spiral of anxious energy that I don’t know how to control. It’s something that can keep me hiding in my house for days at a time. And I wouldn’t tell you if that was the case. I’d simply either not answer your calls or, make up excuses to try and convince you (and myself) otherwise.

I can say that their words don’t matter to me, that they have no value and there is no stock in what they say, but they still hurt. As much as I don’t want them to, some words cut like a knife.

There are handful of people in this world I feel truly understand me. Those who love me, those who appreciate me, those who tell me things like ‘I’m robbing the world of the chance to know me’, because they know I don’t like meeting new people. They know I have a hard time with human interaction. They know I’m afraid of what people will think and they love me anyway. That, well that’s the kind of love they don’t write books about. That’s the kind of acceptance I think we all seek to find.

I believe that people sense I’m a good listener. I think they can tell that I’m hearing them when they speak… not just ignoring them and moving on but actually processing their words. I think it’s irony in a sense… being terrified of human interaction whilst people find you to be the best listener they know. And yes, I know I just misused the word irony.

The most frustrating part of social anxiety is that I know I’m being irrational. I know the decisions that I make and the actions that I choose are not those of a rational human being. I can’t help it though. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve had anxiety for longer than I knew what anxiety was.

Social anxiety is hard to explain. If you’ve never experienced it, you might not understand why I don’t want to go out in public without my headphones. You might not understand why I try to get into and out of public places as quickly as I can, why I try to avoid conversations with absolutely everyone at all costs. I’m an introvert, but it’s so much more than that.

I’m trying to remind myself that there will come a day when people see me for me. When I allow them into my world without fearing what they think. I’m trying to believe that there will come a day when I set the standard, when I am the rule and not the exception, when I can play ‘Words With Friends’ without worrying if they’re really my friend. I’m trying to convince myself that I can overcome this feeling, that the anxiety won’t always win.

Until then, please go easy on me. Because like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one…

Is there such thing as privacy in 2019?

As adults, we make conscious decisions every day to be recorded, wherever we go. And as adults, we are able to make these informed decisions, no matter how much they make us cringe, because we are aware of the ramifications of our choices.

If we didn’t want to be recorded, we simply don’t have to go to that place. Of course that would mean that you likely wouldn’t go anywhere anymore. Nevertheless, I digress.

Where does that leave children?

I ask because I believe that it should be a parent’s choice whether or not they choose to share pictures of their children online. And I don’t believe that anyone should post a picture of someone under the age of eighteen without expressed written or verbal consent from that child’s parent.

A friend of mine works a relatively public job. He’s no Justin Bieber or anything, but let’s just say that he’s ‘google-able’. Because of the nature of his job, he’s aware that he’s in the public eye and that it could be harder for his kids to lead a normal life. He and his wife have a policy that they’re not going to share photos or videos of their children online. They want their kids to be able to make the decision if they want to lead public lives when they’re old enough to do so.

My friend has been to the school, to the baseball association, to the gymnastics studio, and so on and so forth to inform all of these places that he and his wife don’t want photos of their children appearing online. He does this to make sure that the places they’re taking their children are either: okay with this, or if they’re not okay with this they are informed so they can pick an alternative option for their kids.

Last week as my friend was dropping his son off for his first day of Kindergarten, two mom’s took pictures of him and his son in front of the classroom and posted them on facebook.

These weren’t innocent ‘caught in the background’ style photos. These women went out of their way to take photos of my friend and his son to post them to Facebook and brag about who’s child is in their child’s class.

My friend, simply trying to give his kids as normal of lives as he possibly can, was hit with snide remarks and a swift ‘not a chance in hell’ from the mom’s when he asked them to please remove the photos from their Facebook pages. One of the mom’s went so far as to say that if he doesn’t want photos taken of his children then he ought to home-school them.

As I mentioned earlier, I think that the only person who has a right to post a child’s photo is that child’s mother. Clearly, though, not everyone thinks the same way that I do. I can’t lie, I’m having a hard time seeing the other side of this argument. When he told me the responses he got from the women after asking to have the photos removed, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Does privacy is exist in 2019? Do we forgo any privacy we might have, even for children, if we leave our houses? I don’t have kids, so I’m not seeing this from a parent’s perspective, but to me it’s a little creepy to purposefully take a photo of someone else and their child to post to Facebook and brag to your friends.

I don’t think that my friend was out of line in requesting the photo be taken down. But I’m curious where other’s opinions lie with respect to the subject.

*Please Note – I am all for parents sharing pictures of their children. If you want to share pictures of your own children – go for it! I love pictures and videos of cute kids. It brightens my day. I just don’t think anyone should have their decision to not post pictures taken away from them. Each parents decision should be respected.

Adventures in job hunting: the fastest rejection I’ve ever received.

I applied for a position of Marketing Coordinator with this company on Monday, September 9th at around 8:30 pm via online submission.

The following is an email chain that went on between myself and this company yesterday, September 10th.

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 9:00 am.

Good Morning Vee (my full name was used),

We have reviewed your application and are impressed with your qualifications and experience. We would like to know if you could come for an interview at our office [insert Calgary address here] on either Tuesday, Sept 17th or Wednesday Sept 18.

Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Thanks, G (full name was used)

Response email that I sent: Tuesday, September 10th @ 12:00 pm.

Good Afternoon G,

My apologies for the slow response.

Given the distance it would take for me to get to this initial interview, I am wondering if there is there a possibility that I could do my initial interview over the telephone or Skype?

Please let me know.

Thank you, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:00 pm

Hi Vee,

Please kindly note that this job is located in Calgary.

Is that what you are looking for?

Response email that I sent: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:11 pm

Hi G,

I am most definitely looking for a position in Calgary. I would like to relocate to Calgary to both work and live.

Thanks, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 1:30 pm

Thank you for your response, Vee.

If you would like to relocate to Calgary then why are you unwilling to come to Calgary for an interview?

Thanks, G

Response that I sent: Tuesday September 10th @ 1:35 pm

Good Afternoon G,

Please note that I am not unwilling to come for an interview. I am simply asking if, for the first round of interviews, I might be able to do mine over the telephone or skype.

Then, if selected as one of the candidates you most like, I’d be happy to come to Calgary for an interview once the candidate pool has been whittled down to your final candidates.

Thanks, Vee

Email from potential employer: Tuesday, September 10th @ 4:55 pm

Good Afternoon Vee,

Thank you for clarifying.

While I would very much like to offer interviews to candidates from other cities and locations and offer the opportunity to do interviews over Skype and the telephone, we have already offered this position to another candidate and they have accepted.

Best of luck in your career search.

Thanks, G

Though it notes in several places on my resume that I presently have a BC address, what I’ve learned from this email chain is that they really didn’t read much of my resume.

I do not believe that they’ve hired someone for the position. I just think once they actually realized that I do not live in Calgary they stopped considering me for the job. And when they stopped considering me for the job, they needed to come up with a reason to explain why I was no longer being considered.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

As a hiring manager, to offer someone an interview on Tuesday morning for seven days in the future, how on earth could you then have hired someone for the position less than twelve hours later?

Also, if you’ve hired someone for the position, wouldn’t you take the posting off of LinkedIn and Indeed?

To conclude: It appears as though this company is not looking to hire the best candidate for the position, they’re main priority of importance is to hire someone that already lives in Calgary.

Why you shouldn’t buy followers.

Do you ever notice how some people on youtube can have millions of subscribers and only get 10,000 – 20,000 views per video, while others have millions of subscribers on youtube and they amass 500,000+ views per video?

Do you ever see someone with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of WordPress followers post something to their blog only to get three or four likes… and rarely ever have someone comment on their page at all? You may not be able to see their analytics, but you can see the responsiveness to their blog and it makes you wonder… why no one cares what they’re posting if they have so many followers.

If you do notice this, do you ever wonder why this is?

I have a theory. A theory that I cannot prove, but a theory that I am certain is what’s happening.

About three months into my blogging journey was when I amassed my first 1,000 followers (which was a huge day for me!) on WordPress. About that time was also the point in time when I began getting inundated with messages from people who promised me things like: 5,000 organic, responsive followers for just one single payment of the low, low price of $49.99!

$49.99… that sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?

Actually, one offer that I got for just $200 was for followers on my WordPress page, Twitter account and Instagram account! Good little leeches saw all of these accounts connected and got creative!

These messages come in through my ‘Contact’ page on WordPress and through DM on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve never paid a whole ton of attention to Twitter, so being bombarded with these messages there was… interesting. I guess if you meet their criteria, they really do want to sell you their ‘product’.

In case you’ve yet to figure out, their product is not ‘organic, responsive followers’. These followers are bot accounts, made in masses, created to be sold to people wanting to get ‘InstaFamous’ quick.

How do I know this? Because I’ve purchased followers for Corporate accounts before.

About three years ago I was put in charge of Digital Marketing/Online Engagement for an international event that was happening in Ottawa. This event, while very familiar to people in certain parts of the world, has failed to garner the international attention it desires for being an international event.

My boss wanted a larger following on the social media platforms – specifically twitter and instagram, so that he could promote these mass groupings of followers to potential sponsors to gain more sponsorship money for the event. How do you get a larger following on social media on Friday when your boss’ first sponsorship proposal is being pitched on Monday morning? You buy them of course.

I didn’t like the idea at the time. I didn’t feel right about the idea at the time. We really didn’t know where the money was going, or to whom it was going to, we just gave over the corporate credit card for the promise of 50,000 new followers.

It’s worth noting that when you buy followers, you’re buying the number alone. Engagement is not guaranteed, or even likely.

We went from 6,000 followers on Friday at 4:00 pm to 56,000 followers on Saturday at 4:00 pm.

My boss was happy. He got what he wanted. He could make his pitch on Monday proclaiming that we had a massive following of people to which we could influence through social media to buy their products, and for that reason, they should sponsor our event.

And he did that.

He sold the crap out of our social media following and brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue as sponsorship for our event.

The problem was, we could not actually provide any return on investment. To the outside eyes, we had 56,000 followers. In reality, we had 6,000 followers. 6,000 concentrated followers from one area of the world.

It’s also worth noting that when you purchase followers it distorts your performance metrics.

My boss went to these International Corporations selling ROI for a following of 50,000 plus when in reality our following was 6,000.

He got the sponsorship revenue that he wanted, but in return, we could not provide these companies any ROI. Actually, in the end, he wound up having us ‘fudge’ the analytics to make it look like we had larger responsiveness than we did. This caused a rift in the relationship with these sponsors because he essentially blamed lack of investment in this companies on these companies. Let’s just say… they weren’t interested in sponsoring more events after that.

The purpose of this story? Don’t always believe everything that you see online. My theory is that a lot of these major Youtubers that people might be watching, they bought a lot of their followers. If someone has 1.2 million Youtube subscribers and are making an average of 10-15 thousand views per video, something’s not right. If someone has 10,000 WordPress followers and garners 5-10 likes per post, something’s not right. You may not be able to prove they bought their followers, but you can think twice before you accept any recommendations for products or advice they’re giving you.


REASONS TO NOT PURCHASE FOLLOWERS:

  1. It’s dishonest. Whether your accounts are for business or personal, shouldn’t your main goal to be honest with the people you’re interacting with?
  2. You’re not purchasing organic, responsive followers for your page, you’re purchasing bot accounts to make it look as though you have a lot of followers when in reality. If you think your content is good, these bots aren’t going to care.
  3. Purchased followers distort your performance metrics. If you have have 100 followers and a 60% read rate, your performance metrics are what I used to call ‘Bomb.com’ in the marketing realm. If you purchase 1,000 followers, your performance metrics are still 60 followers of 100, but your metrics look like you get 60 of 1,000.
  4. Instagram and Twitter have people on staff to purge fake accounts. This purging of bots has gotten even more strict after the last Presidential Election in the United States.
  5. If you have a desire to give ROI with respect to your social media platforms, you’re essentially lying to any companies you’re doing business with. You’ll be lying to get their business and you’ll need to lie to them (and ‘fudge’ the analytics) once you fail to meet the designated ROI.
  6. If your goal is to influence, you’re not going to be able to influence bots.
  7. Bought followers can often bring spam with them.
  8. What you lack in credibility after purchasing followers, you’re going to have to lie to cover up, or let people see the truth… you lack credibility.

I wholeheartedly believe that purchasing followers is wrong. I wish that brands would pay more attention to the people and companies they’re doing work with. I want them to look beyond the number of followers that someone has to ask for real time analytics and proof of engagement.

I won’t name any names, but I can think of at least a dozen people off the top of my head I feel like would struggle to show real time metrics/analytics to any of the companies they do business with. That being said, there seem to be a lot of companies in this world who see that follower count and don’t look beyond followers. I guess you could say that’s the company’s fault, and yes it partially is. But then you get into the ‘fool me once…’ cliche.

If you’re really wanting to be organic, open, honest and real with the genuine people who do choose to follow you on social media, buying extra followers isn’t going to do you any favours.