JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

Creativity Got You Here, So Don’t Stop

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on October 4, 2009

I’ve been spending a lot of time with fellow bloggers lately and I’m realizing that there’s a common denominator arising that concerns yet comforts me: people who work their butts off through blogging and social networking to get great jobs tend to blog to a lesser extent once they actually get these good job positions.

I wrote a ton of blog posts for several years over several different blogs. At times, everything I wrote was focused on establishing myself as an authority and other times I just wrote to tease out some stuff that was bothering me inside. I love to blog, but more importantly I love to write.

Now I’m in a job role that is completely immersed in social media and I interact with bloggers on a daily basis. There is a whole spectrum of blogger types that blog about virtually anything you can think of. The barriers that keep many people from blogging is that they think nobody will be interested in what they have to say and therefor don’t feel compelled to put their ideas out on the internet to be judged and criticized.

Then, bam; yr. hooked!

Whether a long road or a short road, bloggers who interact with an active community can easily get addicted to the ways that ideas flow and evolve from a single post. Suddenly writing isn’t a chore, it’s a true pleasure that you look forward to more and more each day. For me, blogging kept me going despite working a day job that wasn’t challenging me in the ways I wanted to be challenged. I had a vision that I’d be working in social media and be getting paid to write to some extent in the not so distant future.

After putting in countless hours of extra freelance work, blogging, pro-bono volunteer work and simply keeping on my hustle up, I landed an amazing job at Brazen Careerist that brought me 1100 miles from home to Madison, Wisconsin. I’m doing what I love, full time now and realize that as I got closer to this goal, knowing I was nearing the finish line, I was blogging less.

Not okay! You’ve got to keep on your writing grind no matter what. Even if you’re not blogging towards a specific topic, or if you’re inhumanly busy during the day, you’ve gotta keep flexing your creative muscles in some way. It is too easy to fall off on being creative because it’s extra energy that you don’t necessarily feel like you have. However, if you put the work in on something you’re passionate about, you’ll get from point A to point B. Once you’re at point B, point C awaits you!

Complacency = soul death.

So, I’ll continue to remind myself that I shan’t forget what brought me forth. I suggest you do the same. Keep creating folks


A Call-Out… Or More Like Admiration… Whatever!

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on September 27, 2009

I was pondering the video blog while walking carefully through the maze of boxes that is my soon-to-be former Worcester apartment and thought about how I’ll probably need to make one sooner than later due to my new job at Brazen Careerist. This in inevitable and I’m excited to teach myself how to not look goofy while blathering about whatever I have to blather about. I want my voice to sound like I’m an NPR radio associate and my looks to look… well, like me and not like someone less handsome and weird! 😉

So, today I call out Jyo Minakawa! I don’t know Jyo personally and I’ve only briefly interacted with him through Twitter, blog comments and a post I wrote a while ago on my old blog. However, Jyo is the dude I want to get on camera and speak like. There are pleny of other hot shots in the social media biznass such as Loren Feldman and Gary Vaynerchuk who kill it to thrill it with their vlog mugs and eccentric behavior. But Jyo keeps it really real by just sitting down in front of his camera and telling a story that means something to him. Sometimes he doesn’t even seem like he knows what the moral of the story is, but he keeps telling it until it flushes itself out into something coherent and interesting.

I highly recomend that everyone check out Jyo’s blog Average Jyo- Surrounded by Superstars. Some of you may question why this is a “call out?” Well, Jyo hasn’t posed since May, so I’m calling him out for that in hopes he’ll start vlogging again about what the hell he’s been up to in the last 5 months! I’m sure it’s a good story too. Go check out his stuff, leave a comment and let him know we’re waiting for his next post!

As for my own vlogging… my mom insists I Skype with her, which I hate, which also means I need to need her how to Skype, which I hate even more. Cheers to technology!

Mid-September Goal Checkup

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on September 22, 2009

Remembering that Rebecca Thorman thinks I should be more specific about my goals (she’s right!) I’ve got some updates and add-on goals for myself!

-Fitness craze is going aight. Schedule has gotten busier and meals have gotten less organized, however my weight is steady and even dropping and I’m feeling pretty strong via pushups and pullups. However I’d like to lose at least 5 pounds next month. Hoping to find a reasonably priced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai gym to relieve stress and give me an interesting excersie option when the weather gets cold. This should be interesting based on my following update…

-I know where I’ll be living now… Madison, Wisconsin! As most of you read, I got a great job in a great city and I’m moving! Quite a relief to have a solid long-term gig to be excited for. I need to find an apartment to live in sometime in the next week, so wish me luck on that end! I’ve found some that I really like so we’ll see! Need to get in touch and put some money down.

-Time management is rocking so far. I quit my job and I’m knocking things off of my to-do list left and right. The apartment is getting packed!

-I believe my sleep average has gotten up to 7 hours a night. When I get to Madison I want it to be 8 hours. Wishful thinking? We’ll see!

-Not spending much dough besides on moving expenses. Saving account should look better come Holiday time.

How is everyone else’s month going so far?

The Silence Is Broken, My Bags Are Packed and My Smile is Wide

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on September 16, 2009

So here’s the score: I’m moving to Madison, Wisconsin.

I’m going to be working for a company called Brazen Careerist which is a social network that helps folks from Generation Y find and develop meaningful careers as well as assist their employers in understanding and retaining them.

I’ve been working on a contract basis for Brazen Careerist as a community content editor and will start my full time position in Madison on October 5th.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’ve never worked for a genuine startup before. I never thought I’d be working for some of the folks who inspired me to start honing my social media brand and really tease out and pursue my passions. I’m honored to be working with such a kick ass crew.

I’m cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead for me; relocating to a city over 1,000 miles away where I don’t know anyone too well yet and jumping into a job role that has very high expectations associated with it.

The entire team at Brazen Careerist has been extremely helpful in prepping me for my move, even helping me look for and secure housing! I know that on top of all this, I’m coming into this situation with pressure to perform in a big way. I know what’s expected of me and I’m looking to meet and exceed those expectations soon.

So, when am I leaving? I suspect I’ll be on the road westward between September 28th and 30th. I’ll be chilling in the Brazen Careerist office getting my bearings straight and getting settled in once I get there and officially starting work on October 5.

My last day at my current job at TNS-MI Cymfony is next Wednesday, Sept 23. I’ll be in and out of Boston getting my life together for the move. Looking forward to spending some time with folks who are free before I leave. If I don’t catch you now, I’ll be back to visit again soon.

My door is always open, too. Standard policy with me.

Residual Summer Heat and September’s Goals

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on September 8, 2009

As part of Rebecca Thorman’s Monthly Goal Meetup, I’m going to list some goal I hope to reach in the coming months.

It’s funny how this past summer has been slightly vacant of tangible goals. For the past couple years I’ve been riding myself all sorts of hard in trying to take small steps towards a better life/career. I think I’ve done exceedingly well with the cards I’ve been given, but I know I have a long way to go. I guess I took the past couple months to recuperate from an overall hectic Spring and recalibrate my path forward under current circumstances.

My Goals For September:

– Improve this semi-fitness craze I’ve been on. It’s been peacemeal at best for a little while, where I’m either eating well and working myself ragged, thus neglecting my work, or vice versa.

– Optimize my time management. I’ve had a considerable ammount of work added to my plate and I’m nothing less than thrilled about it. However, I’m still running on adrenaline to get it all done and I’m aware that there’s a better way to get it all done so I can have more time for myself. That’s important for the rest of my goals.

– Get more sleep. This doesn’t need much explanation. Better time management should help.

– Plan out my location in the coming months. Whether I stay local or not, my living situation is up in the air. I’m good at living in limbo, but it’s not my preferred mode of existence.

– Build my savings account and pay down my rotating expenses. More savings and less debt leads to less gray hair, so they say. I believe ’em.

Personal Branding Limitations – Wanting To Do Too Much

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on August 27, 2009

Much conversation surrounds the topic of personal branding in an economy where way more people are looking for jobs and companies seem to be hiring less often. Sticking out in a sea of applicants is becoming harder and harder if you’re not willing to give up the lazy practice of just sending out cover letters and resumes to nameless job openings. Dan Schawbel has really helped bring personal branding discussion to another level and given people ideas on where their job searching and career development strategies could be bolstered. However, I’m finding that my personal situation is becoming slightly too complex for the bread and butter personal branding advice that I’m seeing flood the interwebs every day.

I want to do too much. Anyone who knows me well might critique me with having a million irons in the fire at any given moment. I look at that as my key to current and future success. Through osmosis and relative early adoption, I’ve been blogging and thinking self-critically for several years now. It wasn’t like I was suddenly on the scene giving advice to people about their lives and being featured on blog networks; I started blogging while I had a full time job and learned as I went along.

Since I started blogging and thinking myself as a brand, as well as a rather funky homosapean, I’ve switched jobs a couple times, completed a ton of freelance contracts and currently find myself working a full time job as well as being a community editor for the best Generation Y job seekers social network on the web. I work and I work and when I’m finished working at the end of the day, I work some more. I’m passionate and probably a bit nuts, but I know that at some point a few years ago when I decided to pursue my career in marketing and social media, I committed to myself that I wasn’t going to go at it half-assed and that I was going to ride this strange ride until the wheels fell off.

Do you ever get so busy with something you love doing that you forget why you started and need to take stock of what you’re all about again? Ryan Paugh’s blog post about launching the new Brazen Careerist social network struck me when he wrote about a gut check he had with Penelope Trunk regarding the scalability of his job.

I pulled Penelope aside a couple weeks ago to talk to her about this.

“How exactly does a Community Manager scale?” I asked.

“Where does his/her career path lead?”

“Ryan, you’re doing a great job,” she reminded me.

And I realized that I know exactly how to scale my job. Well, not exactly. The Community Manager role in business is still a little young to know the exact path, but I know that it involves growing along with the Community and continuing to be a voice to as many as possible even when that number rockets through the thousands, to the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions.

You know… personal branding still rocks in my mind. I personally know many people who stand to benefit from it if they simply take a little time and make some effort in branding themselves. There is tons of good information out there for newbies who are looking to get into this new, big world of social networking and career development. As for me, I’ve done it, I am doing it and now I’m sort of scratching my head as I work my butt off trying to figure out what’s next.

I’m probably not going to read “it” in a blog or get “it” from a coach. The “it” factor for me won’t be purchased in book for either. No, I’ll probably attribute the long days and nights of work and a rigorous daily mental regimen of self-critique to my Ah Hah!” moment when it comes in the middle of the night or early in the morning.

I liken this moment of growth to something I’m quite fond of; pushups. You do them every day, no questions. Perfect technique, burning muscles, boredom, repetitiveness.. you simply do the damn pushups every day. Your numbers rise, 20, 30, 40, 50… 50… you can’t get past 50! Weeks pass and 50 is pretty much the last number of pushups you can do before your muscles quiver and you fall on your face. Why keep doing them if you know that no more are coming? Finally you decided to take a day off, you’re disgusted with yourself, you relax, you don’t worry about how your arms and chest look for just one day and then the next day, you’re back on the band wagon and what do you know… you just did 65 pushups and you know you could probably do even more. THOSE are the types of moments I live for.

Brazen Careerist Kicks Ass, Not Just Because I Said So

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on August 25, 2009

Not everybody blogs, not everybody social networks and not everyone is hiring, but if you’re in Generation Y and interested in finding a good job or any of the previous mentioned things, Brazen Careerist is definitely a site you want to be on. They just launched their new social networking platform and it looks great!

No single website has opened up more professional opportunities for me. Personally, I am a fan of writing and reading blogs, so I’m engaging in a community that values interaction between one another. If your ideas and perspectives on being young and struggling to make it are on point, they’ll let you know! If you’re offering advice to people who may be going through some of the challenges you’ve face in the past, they’ll appreciate it there too!

Plus you never know who’s on these board, reading these blogs, contributing to group discussions. The potential employer of your dreams may be on Brazen Careerist looking for new talent. The ones who do come to Brazen Careerist realize that it is a persons ideas that make them valuable, not necessarily two years of office experience, a 3.45 GPA and references from a college internship.

I suggest you go and check out the site, do some networking, set up a profile and if you have a blog, syndicate it through Brazen Careerist’s feed! I’m the Community Editor, so if you have any questions about publishing posts or anything else, hit me up. Otherwise, I’ll see you on there!


Distain to Paranoia

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on August 22, 2009

I had a talk with my grandfather about how the powers at be live and work among us without most people realizing there’s something wrong with that. I used a Wal-Mart going up less than a half-mile from my apartment as an example. Big millionaires deciding that the low income folks that populate this part of the Worcester to come in and buy their low priced, low quality products by the shopping cart load.

My grandfather defends Wal-Mart, seeing as they have low priced goods and he doesn’t care where they come from and that he hears they’re doing a lot to become “greener.” I asked him if he realizes that more money has probably one into telling the media through PR that they’re going green than has actually been put into the process of going green. The media takes this bit of information and figures out some sort of stance around it. The left and right fight over perspective, grow the argument regarding Wal-Mart’s merits to absurd new heights and gives polarizing ammunition to the wacky far right and the wackier far left to yell and scream about. Quite distracting.

Don’t forget the government. Depending on the administration and legislation and the rest of the parasitic dopes occupying public office, you’ve got a lot of people who stand to benefit greatly by generating discussion, debate and public fury over an issue. They can “champion” a cause and passionately defend it in the public eye for a small period of time and then once the subject becomes passe, they drop it completely and move to the next issue du jour. I immediately think of John Kerry and John McCain… A couple of old dudes with Irish last names who happen to be filthy rich Vietnam war vets who married up. Very different stances on economics, social policy and government, but really… they’re both rich, they both clearly want to stay rich and are branding themselves differently to ensure that.

Big business, media and government… forget about guarding your pockets, guard your brains and your loved ones.

Leaving Too Much Of A Good Thing At The Table

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on July 30, 2009

“Well, I’ll lay my boots to rest when I’m impressed. So, I triple knot ’em and forgot ’em.”~Aesop Rock

I’m going to respond to Holly Hoffman’s post about being a workaholic, or using the term as a vail for lacking better things to do with one’s life.

I accept Holly’s point that no job or goal in life is worth one’s health. I’ve honestly felt quite sympathetic regarding her repeated health issues and can fully agree with her decisions to scale back her ambitions whether permanently or temporarily. Sometimes young people get ahead of themselves with what they think can be piled on their plates and just overwhelm their senses completely by working all day, all night, not sleeping enough and neglecting their bodies. Complete balance always seems to be just out of reach, but taking time out to at least seek a balance in most aspects of your life is healthy and smart.

However, I also feel if people are interested in bettering themselves, their situations or the lives of people around them through superhuman feats of work, weird sleep patterns and periods of irrational emotional behavior, more power to them. I come from a poor, single-parent family, so already in my quite modest income, I find myself upwardly mobile. How about that? That’s thanks to my hard work and the opportunities that some kind people have offered (that I made sure to capitalize on) I find myself in an even better position to continue bettering myself.

At 25, working a full time job, a part time job and running a small freelance copy writing operation, I am working more now than I ever have in my whole life. I’m taking care of myself physically, but I don’t sleep as much as I should. However, some new developments, specifically this new part time gig, have given me the new vigor I need to push through the weariness and emotional pain of being tired so that I can eventually take my current situation to the next level. Plus I’m refusing to look for meaningless work anymore. I crave meaning and finding meaning on the messy bedroom floor of life is no easy task. It takes work.

Do I have a social life? Yes, I do. I see my friends, I go to hip hop shows, I go to cafes and I go on dates. Do I have a huge block of free time for someone else to fill up? No, I don’t. However, I feel like I can still be the best person possible to the people I care about because I do in fact care about them.

So, what does this all say about me? Well, I happen to be in good physical health, of strong mind and of solid will. My intent is guiding me and the fact that I’m able to tie those factors together makes me a desirable person to have around, both on a personal and professional level. I’m quite happy and proud to be labeled a workaholic, but on second thought, I’d probably want to come up with a better name for it… How about fisher of awesome fish? 😀

Some people work themselves to death. Some people do whatever they can to not lift a finger their whole lives. It’s a choice you can make. If you grow into an adult, the least you can do is make a choice and live with it. If you can find better things to do in life than work because you see something more, than by all means, collect unemployment and do your thang. If you’re willing to kill yourself by working 100 hours a week for a corporation that could very well not care if you exist, go for it! Me, I’ll work hard for a bit and hopefully have the presence of mind to take my chips and leave my cards at the table when the time is right.

My Ongoing Story With The Peace Corps

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on July 18, 2009

Two years ago I decided to sign up for the Peace Corps. I had studied abroad, learned Czech, found the job market blew when I graduated and was looking for a general “out” that would expand my horizons. I happened to be in a relationship at the time, but throughout that period, I had acted upon my desires to improve my life rather than prolong the relationship. I had my priorities, albeit slightly contradictory, that I started to follow through on. At the time I was working for an elderly human services agency just outside of Boston and was getting restless in the job I held. So, I told my friends, family, girlfriend (at the time) and employer that I was going to the Peace Corps.

The process to sign up and interview all took around 3 months. I searched for placements and graduate programs around the program for about 6 months, so the process was really long. I got a tentative assignment in Moldova, a former Soviet occupied state and I was super pumped. I had wanted to go to a Russian or Slavic based language assignment because of my background with Czech, I felt I’d adapt more quickly that to Spanish, Chinese or some other foreign tongue.

As the process moved along, I was in disbelief that it was actually happening so smoothly. I met a woman at a New Years party who is now in South America doing Peace Corps work and hers went smoothly too. Too good to be true? Well, I did get the call I wasn’t wanting to hear; the background check came in and they saw an incident from when I was 17. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong people to be around. Dumb teenager stuff really, but I did get in trouble with some townie police outside of Worcester and was later acquitted completely. But, this dumb incident was still on my record and they needed all sorts of paperwork and legal stuff to make a decision to whether I’d be accepted or not. I was really crushed because I felt my past had come back to haunt me in the way I knew it would some day.

So, I “gave up.” Not in the positive way that Seth Godin talks about in “The Dip,” but rather I shirked away from taking a couple days off from work and driving back to the hillbilly town that arrested me and getting all my paperwork and legal documents in order. I told myself that all the effort to do that wouldn’t be rewarded, so why bother?

Well, two years later and here I am, losing sleep over it. My friend in the military is thinking about doing a Peace Corps stint after his next tour of duty and he’s really adamant I at least try to follow through once more on getting an assignment abroad with PC. With this economy the way it is, why not? I’m 25, I’ve got no unbreakable commitments outside of the ones to myself at the moment and this is something I’ve always wanted to do.

So, I’m re-applying to join the Peace Corps. I’m doing what needs to be done and leaving no stones unturned in the fulfillment of my life. Wish me luck!