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When All You Want to Do is Drink, Eat, and Sleep While Watching Netflix

chill

I had just arrived at the bar. It was strangely empty. I motioned the bartender.

“Excuse me, but I’m here for the networking event? I know I’m a few minutes early, but I think I’m in the right place – do you know where it is?”

The bartender looked at the schedule, and came back over.

“Actually, it looks like the event is tomorrow…” she informed me, half-apologetically, trying not to smile.

“Oh.” I said. “Well – hm.”

I had driven half an hour to get there, and rush hour was just starting. If I left then, it would’ve easily taken me an hour to drive back home.

Well…

great.

[Read more...]

Scared of the Dark as a 25 Year Old Male

When I was growing up, I had an acute fear of the dark.

Silly, right? I don’t know what you’d call it – a phobia, a fear, a problem; all I knew was that going into my parents’ dark bedroom or out to the garage at night was terrifying and I wasn’t having it. No-sir-ee.

I hate scary movies. I’m one of those hyper-imaginative guys that can’t stop thinking about images and scenes. Here’s my thought process when I watch a scary movie:

“Oh MAN this is scary. I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight. You know what? This monster knows I’m scared, so it’s gonna get me tonight. Better not fall asleep for several months and jump at every bump in the night to be safe.”

I’m a little embarrassed to admit, this happened for almost all of my teen years.

Finally, I had this crazy experience during a retreat with the Christian organization I was part of in college. We were camping in the middle of nowhere; there was this area way out from the campsite where there were these dark, isolated, almost-certainly-haunted cabins.

Long story short – I remember telling myself that if I really believed in Jesus Christ, then He’d protect me from whatever cannibalistic-serial-killing-scary-movie-monsters that were surely waiting to get me. I decided to go face my fears and hike to those cabins by myself. (Needless to say, I told my friend to tell my mom I loved her before I left).

The fear was crippling. I was so scared when I first approached those deserted, terror-inflicting, heart-attack-inducing cabins that I could hardly breathe. I made myself go into a cabin, close the door, and sit there for 15 minutes and just let the drooling, demonic monsters lock the door and trap me there forever.

I don’t think I’d ever been so frightened in my entire life.

And…nothing happened.

After the 15 minutes,  my fear had…subsided. I suppose that’s what happens when you face your fear directly. The monstrous, terrifying thoughts just sort of melt away.

For the next 6 years, I didn’t fear the dark at all.

For the first times ever, I would walk with reckless abandon through the darkest streets of the loneliest parts of downtown to my car without batting an eye! I would wake up in the middle of the night for a glass of water without breaking a sweat. I didn’t fear the dark anymore. I was cured.

Until a few months ago.

I woke up in the middle of the night after a bad dream. And for one of the first times in years - years – I couldn’t fall asleep for hours because I thought something was going to jump out and scare me/grab me/drag me away like some scary movie.

No.

Not again.

What happened?

I grew aware that I was watching a lot of R-rated content in my spare time – I’m a big TV show guy, and I began the arduous journey of watching the entire Breaking Bad series for the 2nd time. I was also watching Game of Thrones religiously. Also, uncharacteristically, I was reading scary stories in my spare time (don’t ask me why).

Most of this content, as usual for R-rated stuff,  had lots of ultra-violent, ultra-sexual, ultra-scary stuff. And my head wasn’t being filled with much else.

The end result? My thoughts were full of negative, frightening, sad/angry/violent/scary imagery and it was running rampant through my mind. I remember being jumpy while using the restroom at work. Broad daylight. 2:00pm. The door creaked and I still flinched while watching my hands.

I mean, c’mon.

Not everyone struggles with this – some people can watch the most horrifying, bizarre, violent/scary/disturbing content and be generally fine. I can’t. It affects me deeply. It came to a point where I didn’t care how much I liked my TV shows or how intriguing they were, I was not going back to being afraid of the dark anymore.

So, I stopped watching R-rated content.

That was a couple months ago. Aside from just being hot in my non-air-conditioned apartment, I’ve been sleeping like a baby.

I don’t know how long I’m planning on doing this, but if you’re struggling with feeling distracted by weird/distracting/unhelpful content you’ve read, heard, or seen, I might recommend cutting out R-rated stuff, for a time.

The basis structure is this: if you fill your head with negative, distracting imagery and thoughts, it can be much more difficult to focus on things that matter: getting a good night’s sleep, feeling emotionally and spiritually healthy; even simply just not scanning the restaurant for more attractive partners while you’re out with your significant other.

You might not be afraid of the dark – you might think those kind of people are pansies and just need to grow up.

Maybe so…but there are real and powerful effects that filling your head with an abundance of graphic, sexual, violent, negative content.

The Ugly Results of Being Hard on Yourself

Merci Victoria Grace

When I say I’m “hard on myself,” you might underestimate what I mean.

I’m a driven guy. Through Scrooge-like penny pinching and maniacal budgeting for 3 years, Kimi and I finally paid off all our debt – credit cards, student loans, everything. I had been informational interviewing, networking, and meeting with anyone who would meet up with me at my university’s Career Services department for the better part of a year until they finally hired me. I waited 9 hours to see the Game of Thrones cast at Comic Con.

Well, that’s not so much “driven” as it is crazy. Whatever.

[Read more...]

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When You Feel Fat and Discouraged After College

Treadmill

Kimi finally convinced me to go shopping. I’ve recently started a new job at my company, and my 2 pairs of old-but-perfectly-fine slacks needed some upgrading, apparently.

I recently tore my ACL, and if you aren’t familiar with the injury, it’s a super long recovery process (it’s been 4 months, and my physical therapist still isn’t letting me jog). Needless to say, I’ve had more than my fair share of craft beer and extra-delicious pizza helpings since I haven’t been able to exercise.

I finally felt the effects standing in front of the dressing room mirror.

None of my clothes fit. [Read more...]

An Easy Way to Be a Better Friend, Coworker, and Conversationalist

The Talk

The other day, I was out with a buddy of mine. He was having a going away party – he and his new fiancee were leaving for New York.

We were talking about the engagement for maybe…10 seconds. Then it happened. I couldn’t help myself.

“So, do you guys have a wedding date yet??” I blurted out. [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Astounding Lack of Community After College

alone with himself

I’m an introvert. I remember during college, I would fight to get away from everyone so I could just spend some time alone and read a book or something.

Now, a few years have passed since I was handed my shiny degree wearing my super-stud billowing XL black robe and dollar-bill-necklace. I’m in the “real world” now. For anyone out there in this desert of loneliness (kind of sounds like a bad Indiana Jones movie title, huh? The College Graduate and the Desert of Loneliness. Catchy.), here are my thoughts on the astounding lack of community after college. [Read more...]

Things to Tell Yourself When You Feel You’re Not Making Any Progress

Tortoise
I’d be willing to bet most of us feel this way.

I work at a job where I need to make my own goals. I don’t have people telling me what to do, or how to do it, or even helping me figure out what “progress” looks like. [Read more...]

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The Bread and Butter Tactics for Getting a Job After College

Drapers Arms review Islington Barnsbury Street bread

1. Spotless Resume (I hate this one) [Read more...]

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What Avengers and MayPac Taught Us About the Underwhelming Post-College Experience

maypac

The Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight was deemed by most boxing experts as the “fight of the century.” Whoever won would be the grandmaster-champion-of-the-galaxy or whatever.

Avengers came out this weekend. The original movie held the record for biggest opening weekend of all time or whatever.

Both were hyped to the max. I mean, it’s not everyday these things happen. You know how waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones for yet another YEAR like, super sucks? It’s like that, times 5 or something.

But after years and years of hype, both these events turned out to fizzle rather than fire up.

(Especially that MayPac fight. I mean, c’mon guys.)

This might sound eerily like what you’ve experienced so far in your 20s. Still living at home, still scrounging up spare dollars to go out and get a burger. Still watching damn near everyone else move ahead you. What the hell? What gives??

For years in college, we were pumped to FINALLY get out of class and start working. Make that money. Finally travel, finally do what WE want to do. Right? Right.

Not really though.

For many of us, life after college has been more underwhelming than the MayPac fight where the most interesting thing so far has been what we see other people do on Facebook. Is there anything more depressing? No.

However, here’s what you need to know about underwhelming. It’s alright. It’s expected. It happens, a lot. I mean, a lot a lot.

Your 20s are about identifying what you’re about. What you like. What your passions are, what you’re good at, and blazing lots of new paths that hurt and scratch you and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere-forest with nothing but a seemingly-useless degree and a small (read “minuscule”) checkings account.

MayPac was a letdown, and while Avengers was definitely awesome (go see it), it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. Still, our 20s are not about being defined by the best and greatest successes of our lives, contrary to our hopes for the past several years. But we can still make huge dents in identifying our passions, skills, and where we want to end up later in life.

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The 3 Smartest Things I’ve Done In My 20s So Far

Gash rides away with mountain bike title - FMWRC - US Army - 100811

1. Personal counseling

There are few things I call “priceless.” Going to counseling in my 20s is one of those things. [Read more...]

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