Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So I have a new job! In about a week and a half I will start as a graphic designer at my alma mater, Cameron University. I am very excited (in a way only Ron Swanson dancing in a mini top hat can describe).

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency I have to admit that it was not easy. I graduated three years ago and this was my first job offer in my field. I have applied for at least 100 jobs in the past three years, had four interviews, and now one offer. It's tough out there folks, and for a long time I internalized all the rejection. I never thought that the economy was bad so that's why I'm not getting hired. I thought I must not be very good at this that's why I'm not getting hired.

So if you're looking for a job and facing rejection, it's not all you (I don't know you so it may be you, but it's probably not). Continue to sharpen your skills and be the best _______ you can be. That's really all any of us can do.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Escaping The Comparison Trap: Step 3

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, but I'm sure I'll share more on that later. In the meantime, on to step 3 in Escaping the Comparison Trap.

Becka says:

Step 3. Take Twitter with a grain of salt. Everyone wants to appear happy and successful, so they will usually only share the best. Remind yourself that they have bad days/months/seasons, too.

I’ll be honest, I wish there was a way to apply Step 2 to Twitter because Twitter is even more dangerous. Some days it is just one big brag fest and a constant name drop. And everyone’s positivity when I’m having a bad day can be depressing. But Twitter is a necessary and wonderfully addictive evil in my life (kind of like ice cream), and I love that I can communicate with so many people. So I work Twitter to my advantage and filter what I read through the knowledge that everyone is trying to promote themselves in a positive way, just like I am.

This is by far the easiest step for me. I never got in to Twitter too much. To be honest I only created an account so I could be on Hashtags on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (it hasn't happened yet). But this general phenomena of portraying a perfect version of yourself online translates to facebook and blogs as well. This isn't new. People have been putting their best foot forward for years, but like everything else the internet amplifies it and makes it easier.

Transparency is the key. Other people need to see the good and bad in your life, and you need to see it in theirs. The crazy thing is when we see the bad in each others' lives it can actually ease the effects of the bad in our own lives. I know when I'm going through something(s) rough I am thoroughly convinced that I'm the only person in the entire world that this has happened to. Of course that's not the case and knowing that makes everything a little better.

Here are the first three posts in this series:
Escaping the Comparison Trap: Step 2
Escaping the Comparison Trap: Step 1
Internet Envy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let the Sun Shine In

Escaping the Comparison Trap: Step 2

In How to Escape the Comparison Trap, Becka's second step is to...
Step 2. Hide the people you don’t actually know from your Facebook feed. You’re wasting time and brainpower trying to keep up with them all.
Second, I hid a BUNCH of people from my Facebook feed. And by a bunch, I mean hundreds. I did not un-friend them; let’s just clarify that from the start. But I now only keep people in my feed whom I actually know in real life and/or work with. It takes me about 5 minutes to catch up on their lives when I open Facebook (instead of the hour or so it took me to read about every single contact I had). And when I’m curious about a particular person, I just look her/him up.
There is a plethora of social awkwardness created by facebook that I doubt Mark Zuckerberg ever envisioned. One is knowing things about people that you shouldn't know. On more than one occasion I've seen a girl I went to high school with around town. I don't talk to her when we pass by each other. I'm not trying to being rude; we're just not friends. Never have been. Yet I know who she's married to, the names of her kids, and where she went for vacation. Not only do I know all that, I've seen the pictures! Talk about creepy.

I agree with Becka; I don't un-friend often, but as I went through my newsfeed I started to click the unsubscribe button. I was really surprised by how many people I was facebook friends with that I was never friends with in real life. Now I can catch up in ten minutes once a week, and that's probably okay. Who knows someone may even tell me something about their life that I haven't already read on facebook.

If you missed them, here are the first two posts in this series:
Internet Envy
Escaping the Comparison Trap: Step 1

Friday, August 3, 2012

Golden Days

Sorry I haven't posted a desktop wallpaper for August, and sorry I'm not sorry. This week I've basically been watching the Olympics from the time I get home from work until I go to bed. I especially enjoyed the women's all around gymnastics last night with bronze medalist...

and the gold medalist...

Escaping the Comparison Trap: Step 1

In How to Escape the Comparison Trap, Becka's first step is to...

Step 1. Clean out your RSS and pare it down to the best of the best.
First and foremost, I pared down the places I visited online. There’s no need for me to see what every single one of my peers did this week because, inevitably, I will compare it to what I did, what I accomplished, where I shot, where I was featured, whom I got to collaborate with, etc.

So my experience with cleaning out my RSS feed was different than Becka's. It was never a consious decision, but I don't follow a single graphic design blog. I follow a lot of interior/home design blogs and photography blogs so I haven't really had the problem of comparing myself to them.

The biggest insight I had in this step? Wedding blogs. I deleted all three that I was following. It's not that I don't like them or think they serve a purpose, I do. But they don't serve a purpose for me. I'm not engaged or even in a serious relationship. Reading these blogs only reminded me of that. Everyday. I don't see any point in putting myself through that.

In all I deleted about half of the blogs I was following. It wasn't easy. There were several that I wanted to hang on to, but in the end these were the reasons I had to let go. Some of them just didn't apply to me, like wedding blogs. There were a couple, written by people that I know, that just made me feel bad. It's nothing against them personally, but I believe my time is better spent reading content that is uplifting. And there were a bunch that I just didn't read, which means I must not have liked them that much in the first place. Twelve blogs made the cut, and their links are in the sidebar.

It hasn't been life changing, but it feels good to have everything pared down. It's much quicker to read through new posts in the morning, and now they start my day on a good note. I think this is going to be something I need to put on my calendar to do at least once a year.

If you missed it here's the first post in this series:
Internet Envy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Internet Envy

"You have to see this website."

This is how it usually starts. My friend pulls up the site of an accomplished, beautiful, married with children woman who has a crazy impressive website filled with all sorts of design work for major companies. Then she clicks on the bio. This wunderkind also happens to be 24, a full two years younger than me. And so we begin to spiral into complaining about our jobs, relationships (and lack thereof), and everything else that just plain sucks about our lives.

I've repeated this cycle thousands of times in the last three years, and I have always been at a loss as to how it started and how to stop it. And it needed to stop. After every session of this nonsense I left feeling like a complete and utter failure. I struggled, unsuccessfully, to define what we were dealing with here. Jealousy? Discontent? Narcissism? While I'm sure all three of those played their part, the main culprit surprised me. It was the Internet itself.

Unraveling the details of how the Internet was seemingly destroying my confidence was a slow task. The first clue came from a post on Cup of Jo, Motherhood Mondays: The Hardest Two Months of My Life. In the post she describes a bout of depression she went through. What I found the most interesting was that she linked to a post she had written when she was feeling "terrible and insecure". The post was Sneak Peak: Wedding Line from Anthropologie!. With one exclamation point in the title and four more in the text, I'd say it's an upbeat piece. It's definitely not something you'd expect from someone battling depression and insecurity.

She says, "Through my sad eyes, I read blogs and saw strangers on the street and just assumed everyone had a perfect life. When I told that to Alex, he swore to me that everyone, without exception, had their own true story, their own struggles, their own flaws, worries, concerns; everyone is human. And then he said, 'Look at your own blog, after all. People would have no idea that you’re going through this. You come off like you’re handling everything effortlessly.' That was true, I realized. "

We are tirelessly cultivating the best versions of ourselves to broadcast on the Internet. But what happens when we look to the Internet for guidance, advice, or information? All we find are perfect, smug illusions of real people.

There is a great article on Design*Sponge's Biz Ladies written by Becka Robinson, How to Escape the Comparison Trap. She lists five ways to stop the madness. I've already started some of her suggestions. In five separate posts I'll document my success and failure in implementing them.

In the meantime here are two great articles on our mental well being and the Internet.
Forbes: Is Social Media Destroying Your Self-Esteem?
Newsweek: Is the Web Driving Us Mad?