How Job Hunting Brought Me Here

If you’ve looked at my bio on Twitter (which I hope you have) I have listed myself as a content strategist, digital media guru, YouTube specialist and cat lady. These are all key things to
keep in mind when you consider that I have been job hunting since April of this year. I know what you’re thinking, you played on the internet, how hard could it be to get back in the game? The answer is really effing hard.

I am self taught in the digital domain game and my mentor, an extraordinary woman in her own right, both walked into the digital realm with bright eyes and can do attitudes that meant we were ready to take on the world. We did. The world wasn’t ready for us just yet.

This is not a sob story, this is a reboot, a reimagined version of what is to come.

At around the time of my job loss, my mom had been struggling to find one of her own. She’s a 20 year veteran of the garment industry, my mom has consistently worked, paid my tuition for school and kept food on the table and clothes on my back. As of December 31, 2013, my mom has been out of work. She’s taken a few freelance jobs that lasted a few months working for the same people responsible for her job loss and continues to scour the industry pages and job listings hoping for something. Here’s the thing that breaks my heart. My mom shouldn’t have to go through this at her age. She shouldn’t have to be fighting the same kids I fight (20 something’s with stars in their eyes) to get a job in an industry focused on outsourced and overpriced goods made in countries that are getting wiser to the game. Here she is, fighting and losing. My mom has never had much love for the fashion industry. She loves fashion and really did her best to get me to quit the tired tee and jeans look that’s my trademark but she never felt passionate about making sure the clothes the toddlers wore were actually flame retardant and wouldn’t choke your kid out; it was a job that kept her idiot child out of trouble and fed. She demanded and instilled that I keep reaching for the top shelf (because that’s where there good liquor is) and beyond for whatever bizarre dream I was clinging to. My mom wanted to be a doctor but she never said why she never continued it and that’s always bothered me, how she could dream but only a little bit and want the world for me. Today, she began paperwork for early retirement.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hustling like the good New Yorker I am, networking and freelancing to keep up with the pile of bills misery and paperwork to get back into an industry that doesn’t really care how you describe yourself in a Twitter profile but how you work on a set for 18 hours delirious from lack of sleep and anxious for that email saying you’ve booked your next gig. I had something that I enjoyed after shoveling crap for so long. Yes I love creating content. I love making people laugh and think and I did it for other companies for a long time but when do you stop making things happen for other people and make things happen for yourself? And how do you do it?

The new age in technology has allowed everyone to make an impact in was we didn’t know possible. We can see opportunities wherever we are not looking because there’s so many lanes open. We are capable of designing our own paths and we can find people we didn’t know we’re looking for us. I never had a chance to really think about what makes me an individual; I never gave a quality answer during interviews about why I was a qualified candidate and I tended to make terrible jokes about cartoons, Im an idiot basically. I never thought about my value as a person to any I the organizations I had been a part of (I’ve held a few odd jobs) so the first days and weeks of being jobless hurt more than anything. I had identified with this company so much so that I forgot why they liked me in the first place. It happens. You get comfortable. Feel safe. You are one.

I weighed my job options. My old retail job was looking for people but I couldn’t go back to that, not after launch parties at 40/40 Club (yes ESPN on the screen) or crashing celebrity birthday bashes and drinking free top shelf liquor. It was like being Mase and going back to being Diddy’s gardener; I couldn’t walk away from the cool kid life. I filed for city jobs, corporate jobs, temp work everything and waited for a call from someone.

As I sat filing for unemployment I was writing. A lot. I’ve always been a writer, it’s just one of those things I was able to do without thinking but it was never asked of me to do regularly, so it was in the back burner. I wrote fanfiction (it got that grim but I have to say, some of it is really good) I wrote bad poetry, 140 character reviews, I even took the time to write Amazon reviews! I was writing articles for this blog, submitting to different digital properties I’d had professional relationships with and hoping they’d be interested in the ramblings of a now 30 year old uber child; turns out they already had a staff of 20 year old über children and they were armed to the teeth with gifs. Things were pouring out of me and I didn’t know where they could all go.

I had a bit of a rebellious summer. Cut and dyed my hair colors I couldn’t have with my 9-5, joined some fandoms, marathoned tv shows and kept up with what was going on with the digital landscape. I revamped my resume, I worked the US Open and made some connections but the confidence had been beaten out of me. The bravery to really go out and get that ESPN/CBS/TNN job just…I was rattled. Here I was, working an event meeting people right in the thick of things and I was reduced to a mess of goo because I didn’t know what I could bring to these people that they didn’t already have. You see, losing your job is a strike to the heart because you never saw it coming and what it does is rattle you body and soul. It renders you immobile because you want to know what you did wrong and no one will tell you. Everyone you hoped would help aren’t there and you’re out in the world alone and confused because it was all good just a week ago. So I sat. I waited. I submitted to more jobs and I waited. I wanted to quit but I couldn’t. What would I be quitting?

The government keeps saying that unemployment is on the decline but they always fail to mention that the resources are diminishing and that means people who were claiming it can’t anymore so of course it looks like everyone is okay. They just stopped claiming. They’re onto the next thing to make ends meet. They’re filing for social security, disability, something to keep themselves afloat in a city that doesn’t value the working class.
So I kept writing.

A friend pitched me to someone way back when and an email appeared while I was out with Waffle that changed a few things.

I was tasked with writing for and EDM property.

Now if you’re a fan of the blog (all five of you are and I thank you) you see I’ve been doing first reaction listens of albums. I figured no sweat. Someone cares right? I dove in. I dug up old stories, dusted them off and submitted them for approval. I landed a byline. A.DIGITAL.BYLINE. On a music news site that I frequented and my brain melted.

I had given digital rebirth to myself like some cybernetic Phoenix. My mom immediately took to Facebook (never doubt the power of a mothers love when it comes to her small social media presence) and demanded that everyone on her timeline read my scribblings. She had tears in her eyes. The last time she’d been this proud of me was when I’d graduated high school. I kid. It was when I landed the job that changed everything and brought me into the digital world but still.

I learned things about myself that I didn’t know. You’d think I’d have a good idea of who I am but there’s always something. I learned that I am a thinker; overthinking to the point of crippling indecision. I learned that I pick up on social cues and things people say and do, learn how to read the signs and plan accordingly. I learned that everyone will help if you help yourself and that while no job is perfect or permanent, the people who make it feel like it is are the ones you want to keep in contact with. I learned that my mom is super into puzzle games and really wants me to accept her Facebook invite to Gardens of Time (still pending) and that she still really believes that even when things are shitty, they can either be worse or get better. I learned that I just have to try, even if I don’t know what to expect. I don’t care how old you get, you always want to make yo momma proud. Bottom line.

I am a digital strategist, media mogul, YouTube specialist and cat lady. I’m also the daughter of a woman who made it possible for be to believe that for every weird thought you’ve had about making a difference in the world, you’re right. That you’re tougher than you thought, that you are not labels you write in your Twitter bio, you aren’t disposable or replaceable. You can fight your way back in and make everyone remember your name.

Job hunting made me find and create my dream job and as corny as it sounds, it really does happen.

Now if it paid better, I’d be set.

Find me on Twitter @invisiblecircus

Mighty Morphin Diversity Rangers

It’s been said that television reflects our society’s evolution and cultural diversity; art imitates life and life imitates art. Many of us were fortunate to grow up during the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers craze of the 90s and with the recent announcement the series was being rebooted, the internet went into a frenzy not unlike the series initial run.

It was an innocent time where we jumped from our couches and high kicked the ever-loving snot out of a playmate (or an unfortunate sibling) until we were put on time out for knocking them over. The Rangers helped us develop an early interest in martial arts, in space travel and appreciate the art of kaiju monster movies of the 50s and 60s. The Rangers reveled in everything camp, super camp and mega camp but we never watched without learning a valuable lesson: anyone can and should be a hero.
The legend is simple: Jason, Billy, Trini, Kimberly and Zach were all high school friends are handpicked by floating head Zordon to be the guardians of Earth. With the help of their nifty Morphers and Zordon’s sidekick Alpha 5, they protect Earth from Rita Repulsa.

The initial Power Ranger uniforms were red, black, yellow, pink, blue with dinosaurs assigned to each.  The mysterious green and later fabulous white would join the team later, played by the same character. Fairly basic color palette but an interesting connection to how we are trained to respect the world: “I don’t care if they’re red yellow, blue or green with white polka dots, you have to respect them.” The truth is, you have to respect the Rangers because they were anyone and in essence everyone.

Like any good bad guy, Rita had her share of special friends. She kept a close circle of weirdos; Goldar, Squat and Baboo were the best yes men an evil space woman could ask for but no villain is complete without disposable henchmen. Where Master Shredder had his Foot Clan, Rita had her Putties, drab gray clay soldiers that were baked in a giant kiln and shipped to Earth to frequently bother the and torment the tax paying citizens of Angel Grove. They made strange gobble sounds as they kicked punched and flipped around being pains in the ass. They weren’t the best henchmen since a simple kick punch combo or fancy dropkick to the chest would destroy them but you get what you pay for and Rita always had a pile of them.

If the putties didn’t do their job, Rita would send in her ringer, some terrifyingly warped version of a Disney mascot flopping around downtown somewhere, causing problems until Zordon and the Rangers caught wind of them. Sometimes they were giant fish, creepy birds, or amalgamations of the stuff you found at the bottom of your junk drawer and if things got too rough, Goldar would volunteer as tribute. They were always conveniently sent to the middle of downtown Angel Grove, where they could knock over as many things as possible. Rent rates in Angel Grove must’ve been super cheap.

The Rangers would respond in kind with their hyper kinetic Morphin sequence, summoning their respective Zords and naturally, they would win. For all it’s cheesy special effects, awkward cuts, bad dialogue and terrible fight sequences, the Might Morphin Power Rangers gave us as kids something to cheer for.

Each of these members of the Rangers represent a segment of our lives that is commonly found in high schools, community centers and in the streets. Any one of us could be a spandex clad superhero pilot a Zord and save the world. We see that people have to band together to defeat common enemies, no matter how ridiculous they looked, because we were chosen to defend the Earth. They had the qualities needed to be a great leader, a warrior and champion for change. They knew of the Rangers but had no clue who they were, despite five kids wearing suspiciously color coordinated outfits to school. Those selected to be Rangers were all unique in their skills and had distinct personalities that almost mirrored the traits exhibited by their respective Zords.  It was a formula that worked.

The next crop of Rangers were shocked when Zordon pulled them to the headquarters and told them of their collective destinies, their Morphers handed to them by the same people they passed in the halls at school. By the time the series hit fever pitch and the Might Morphin Power Rangers movie was released, the Rangers had decidedly undergone a significant change in their starting line up. Kimberly, Trini, Jason and Zach left the team and were replaced by Aisha, Rocky and Adam. Tommy, who had been the villainous Green Ranger was now the heroic White Ranger and defacto leader of the team. Their Zords also changed. Gone were the dinosaurs and sabertooth tigers, replaced with bears, cranes, tigers and frogs. Interestingly enough, where the first Zords represented strength, size and power, the new Zords mirrored unique fighting styles and personalities. Tommy still got the best Zord; he went from the Green Dragon (which was basically MechaGodzilla but sshh) to the White Tiger Zord and a Morpher named Saba that spoke to him. Tommy was easily the favorite.

Yet despite the change in guard, the Rangers carried on with their core mission, defend the Earth, be all-inclusive, seek change, evolve and wear spandex. Just as the Rangers had changed, so had their enemies.  If Darth Vader was allowed to be restriction free evil, he may have been Lord Zedd, a power mad flayed man with a massive Z crown who took over the command as meanest guy in space. He played no games.  Zedd’s first order of business: He violently banished Rita Repulsa. He then rebranded the Puddies, as Z-Puddies, who were still the same putties with a Z on their chests, and commanding a bigger fleet of monsters.

He aligned himself with the bearded Purple Menace Ivan Ooze, who had managed to enslave the world’s adults (well, only Sydney, Australia’s adults) with his purple goo, Ivan’s Ooze. It seems like all is lost; it’s the perfect metaphor for what it’s like growing up. Here you are, young and working in the world only to be consistently knocked on your bottom almost daily. You want to give up but you can’t and won’t because there are far too many people depending on you and your team is willing to carry you though. The change in Rangers and Zords signifies the need to grow, let go, find yourself and trust that you are stronger than you feel.

Having struggled to find their new identities, destroy old Zords and become new heroes, the Rangers successfully defeat Ivan, send Zedd back to Rita’s old castle and have morphed (yes, that’s a pun) two different versions of the team into one cohesive unit.

This movie, while sounding simple, ultimately sets up the next chapters of the Power Rangers-verse. Since it’s launch in the States, the Power Rangers franchise has undergone dozens of changes, evolutions and developments that has taken it lightyears away from the original series but at it’s core, it’s still a series that encourages diversity, acceptance, teamwork and courage. While mainstream media seems to struggle with pan-ethnic casting, the Power Rangers have been flexible in casting ethnicities and genders in roles of leaders, villains and heroes. It is one of the few series on television that tells viewers, no one cares what you look like, you’ve got something that we need and we want you. That type of inclusion in a series can drastically change the way a child sees the world and subsequently create a real world hero from a basis of fantasy.  Granted, when Zach and Trini were serving as the black and yellow Rangers respectively, one had to wonder if it was intentional that the African American ranger was the black Ranger and the Asian-American Ranger was yellow. The kids were all different, male, female, black, white, they were all kids that represented the best of the human race when it came to the wild world of being a Power Ranger and they reflected the kids who obsessed over the series.

Despite poor costume to ethnicity ratios, each of the subsequent teams that would form under the many titles in the power ranger titles) feature racial and societal differences amongst the rangers exhibiting the same type of strengths and team ingenuity that made the originals such an effective squad. They’ve dropped the ball a few, okay, a dozen times, with newer updates to the Rangers mythology, the concept remains the same: Take kids that you would never expect to band together to fight in the protection of mankind, put them in spandex, have them run around in suits and be awesome.

Changing who we associate ourselves with can broaden our world views, accepting that inside every nerd, jock, smartass and gymnast is a hero and of course, the most important lesson of all…every time is Morphin time.