This is going to be an unpopular opinion.
But I’m thinking it! Yeah, paraphrasing White Chicks .
Nothing makes you feel like a loser like seeing others who are less qualified, sometimes less skilled, doing a job you’d love to have. This isn’t really jealousy. You’ve busted your bum forever trying to make stuff happen for years, a decade, possibly decades as in multiple handfuls of years never seeing the success others have had to that degree for your corporate side hustle while you become an actor or your full time real world “normal job” life because you don’t, unlike me, want to work in entertainment.
Here we go.
Find out who works someplace from Google, LinkedIn, or some means. I’ll tell you what I did. My side hustle at this point for much of my life has been freelance journalism. I opened up magazines and Googled people’s bylines.
When I researched people, I saw the following:
1) Lots of evident nepotism and who you know. This isn’t a critique but an honest look at life. We all know we’d do the same thing. This is me saying, “hey, don’t feel bad,” to myself and now to you. When you read byline names and find out who freelancers and some editorial staffers are at magazines, you find a lot of people saying they got a job from someone they knew or a friend of a friend. I found a young woman whose parents ran PR departments and she’s now in journalism. A woman whose parents were big deals in TV journalism. Lots of that, rinse and repeat.
2) People who look specific asthetics. Nobody wants to say this. You aren’t supposed to come out and say, yeah, we hire people based on what you look like. They do. Offices with artsy tattoo people and pink hair, stuffy people who are all “country club Betty Crocker,” people with really bad plastic surgery, people who don’t own hairbrushes, offices with staffers looking like the picture of “try hard” in the dictionary. You shouldn’t have to change what you look like to work somewhere. Know that very well, people who look like they won’t invite you to dine at their junior high clique lunch table won’t do it as grown-ups. And yes, believe it when you notice an editorial office has one black woman in an office of white Miranda Hobbs types or one single woman in an office populated by mommy bloggers, you COULD get hired. You probably won’t.
3) Controversial types. People who only write all day about hot topic political issues and on the side cover the beauty industry, as an example.
4) Nepotism from growing up in the NYC area. Maybe your parents weren’t big deals. A classmate went to your high school had parents in the PR world and somehow helped you get a job. Or like a guy I knew when he was a lot younger. He grew up in a building next to one place I lived for a few years in NYC, where powerful execs lived. He’s now a young adult in a really good corporate job working for that company his neighbor ran.
5) Super hipster-y cliches who act like living people based on that Romy and Michelle chick, you know, the one asking everyone to sign her yearbook, updated to now speaking like a Kardashian in the highest upper register heard away from dolphins ... and some actually cool authentic hipsters who don’t need to try to be cool. Kind of odd because people always think due to my life story of going out to red carpet stuff as a teenager and me pursuing entertainment goals that I’m super wild, and here you have actual wild people with pink ombré doing punk hipster stuff, I don’t get the stereotype, but hey!
6) People getting jobs from boyfriends/girlfriends and spouses. I’m not joking. I knew a few editors at some of my former workplaces who were hired for this reason. One guy had no college degree and no journalism experience. Snap, crackle, pop! His girlfriend trained him to be an editor! Cool!
7) Lifestyle guru types or fans of lifestyle gurus. You know the types. They all want to be Lauren Conrad and typically almost always have kids and the perfect wedding. Don’t have kids? Maybe your fantasy guy is more Dave Navarro than Goldman Sachs? Good luck—“you can’t sit with us!” from Mean Girls might be going through their minds. The male version of lifestyle guru chicks comes in the form of Bryanboy wannabes.
You will always find an exception when an editor hires you, or insert your occupation here, out of legitimate needs and possibly desperation.
As someone who’s not really a cool person amongst the millennial elite saying stuff like “totes,” doesn’t have pink ombré, isn’t “country club florals Betty Crocker,” is kind of outgoing-nerdy, doesn’t look any one specific clique-y attire way, doesn’t have a gimmick like a political viewpoint I dig into the ground, never went to high school as I skipped it for college credits and never networked with students, never got involved in college student life because I wanted to be as far away from school as possible and felt I never fit in with the academic scene, doesn’t have parents in the media industry....
You get why I’m not getting freelance journalism work as my side hustle left and right and why I only get hired when I do by editors who legitimately hire people based on work ethic and writing talent as opposed to the other reasons. I’m aesthetically really boring. Where does boring fit in? :)
Unless you’re on camera, what you look like shouldn’t matter to people. The people hiring in “normal job!” land don’t believe that. You’ll find exceptions. Most fall into the other rules.
Always research into people’s stories. Find their wedding announcements and read who their parents are. Learn. I didn’t do this for years and always felt like, “What am I doing wrong?” You and I aren’t do anything wrong. We aren’t there because we don’t have the other stuff down pat. We should be open about this about this being the way life works right now. We all know we’d do the same if someone offered us a job for any reason based on anything outside of actual merit. I’m not hating on it. Merely me wondering how people can succeed in spite of this—and telling you to lesson the pressure on ourselves because this is what we are competing against.
You can live someplace and meet people like I have. When you don’t fit a mold, they don’t let you into their workplaces.
Personally, I talk to everyone and would willingly hang with every type of workplace clique if they let me try. TED Talks on accepting others won’t change things. It seems like time doesn’t change.