Monday, April 12, 2010

Those Other Three Little Words

Today’s post is not about any one discrete event, person or situation—but rather a phenomenon I’ve noticed for a while but have been unable to articulate. And I’ve been itching to write another blog on relationships since the last one was so well-received…

You see, there are very few absolutes in life—and little, if any of them, apply to relationships. However, in my opinion, it’s time for people to stop being so damn fake.

Fake?! Yes, fake.

Oh, yes, I just went there. Honestly, it’s not meant as an attack on anyone—this is more about a cultural and societal issue of not being upfront with others. And it happens so often in dating and relationships that we must call ourselves out and stop this nonsense.

So, how do we do that? Well, it’s easy! You see, we all need to learn those other three words that are so vital to being honest with others—and ourselves. We all need to learn how to say, “I’m not interested.”

Oh, boy: the age-old question of, “Does (s)he like me?” It’s a toughie. And there’s never a 100%-assured answer. Oh, unrequited love, how you torture us!

But, to be honest, things would be a lot easier—and we could all live much more fulfilling and transparent lives—if everyone could just be, well, more honest.

I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard that go like this: X meets Y. X and Y go on a date. X likes Y, but is unsure if Y likes X in return. X and Y hang out several more times and everything seems to be going great. Then, Y disappears or becomes some other form of “shady.” Well, what the hell happened? Did Z get jealous of the alphabet action and decide to jump in? (Ha!) But, for real, this is a scenario that happens all the time. I like to call it “being phased-out.”

It really makes sense if you think about it. Something had to happen with Y to all of a sudden become disinterested or unavailable. And it’s not necessarily important what happened; however, it is critical that all of us Y’s out there learn how to communicate with the X’s (no pun intended) and tell them “I’m not interested.” Conversely, all of us X’s must learn to adapt to the situation and not over-react too early on in the game, or be clingy.

Because nothing is more unattractive than desperation.

At the same time, though, we all deserve a little clarity—some reassurance that our investment into the connection is a worthwhile one. This is where the honesty comes into play. Guys and girls out there: learn how to be more in touch with your emotions and communicate them with others. Life is too short to play games or get hung up about letting someone down or being let down.

And all of us Y’s out there need to learn to stop letting the X’s down easy. What’s the purpose? Us X’s don’t want to hear any of the following:

1. “You’re a great person, but…”
2. “It’s me, it’s not you.”
3. “I still want to be friends.”
4. “I don’t deserve you.”
5. “One day you’ll find someone who will love you like you deserve.”

Hey, Y’s: you don’t mean these things when you say them, so why do you even bother? You’re not helping out the X’s by letting them down easy. Actually, you may not realize it but you’re making it more confusing for the X’s because you’re not being honest. Muster up some courage and self-respect and start admitting how you really feel:

1. “You aren’t the right person for me.”
2. “It’s definitely you and not me.”
3. “The connection just isn’t there.”
4. “I don’t think you deserve to be with me. (Duh, I’m dumping you!)”
5. “Good luck! I’ve got another date after this awkward breakup.”

Because you’re not doing anyone any good by being fake. And we’re all guilty of it. We’ve all been an X and we’ve all been a Y. If you’re an X more often than a Y, try seeing the situation from the latter’s perspective—if the opposite is true, then vice versa. Hopefully, then, once we see that we’ve all been there, we can be honest enough with ourselves to fully open up to others.

So, learn those other three words—and prevent yourself from saying those cliché lines that are so transparent. Why “phase someone out” when you can cut them out? You don’t really want to be friends anyway! Isn’t it about time you start telling people that? Hell, if GaGa can admit it, can’t you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

4 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

I have a dream job, I really do. Who would’ve imagined that an obsession with social media—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, etc.—could lead to a career? It’s amazing. And I wouldn’t trade it in for anything.

But things weren’t always this rosy.

Unfortunately for me, I graduated during one of the worst economic periods in our country’s history. It took nine months and a lot of sacrifice to reach where I am, and I learned a lot along the way.

Here are some general lessons that will help guide you along the journey to landing your dream job.

Do what you love.
What are you good at? Seriously, what can you spend hours doing without ever realizing it? There’s got to be something that you enjoy more than anything else. Find it and focus on it. At the end of the day, your happiness is what matters most. The only way to reach that happiness is to take what you love and turn it into a career. Your parents may want to kill you—and will probably give you lectures about medical benefits and saving for retirement—but throw caution to the wind and go for it, even if you have to be a “starving artist” for a while.

Specialize in something – but be good at everything.
Find your niche. If you’re interested in graphic design, which type? Do you enjoy publication design? Branding? Illustration? Pattern making? If you want to be a photographer, what type? Do you like runway photography? Catalogue shoots? Prop styling?

At the same time, though, you need to be a chameleon. Your boss would love nothing more than to hear, “I can do that, too!” Always remember to stay true to your personality and brand, but know when to adapt. Your style comes second to what your client wants or boss demands.

Networking is not about first-degree connections.
Think of your network as a web: you’re at the center and your immediate connections surround you. You can try all you want to get a job or internship through those first-degree connections, but chances are that they have the same connections as you! The further removed a connection is, the wider “net” you can cast in your search. It’s not about whom you know—it’s about whom those key second, third and even fourth-degree connections know. Most likely, their connections won’t be in your network—and that’s a good thing! Nurture these relationships and be ready to tell them all about what you specialize in and what you have to offer.

Have a destination in mind.
Where do you want to be in a year? How about five years? Where do you want to end up? These are questions you must ask yourself in order to guide your journey to your dream job. Without a final destination—a goal—you’re blind and powerless. Would you travel cross-country without a destination address? Exactly. Have a plan—it’s okay to stray from it as long as you know you can still get to where you want to go.

These are extremely simple, I know. But it’s the simple things in life we forget.

Have any other time-tested truths to landing a dream job? Share them in the comments! Then send this to a friend. Good advice never gets old (hey, I can toot my own horn a little bit, right?).

Photo via Veronica Sharon. (She's my roommate and an awesome photog, check her out!)