By Farah Joan Fard
It’s so easy to be hard on yourself. I know I am. When I looked back on 2013, I saw nothing but a year where I had been searching for a new job after being laid off, and was then laid off again after a few months. I felt like a failure. It’s hard not to, especially when success is constantly thrown in our faces these days. Peers are constantly humblebragging (or, in some cases, not so humble) about their feats on social media. There are people who are true to themselves and their lives. And there are people who broadcast their gripes as if they are writing the latest teen drama. But then there are always some who pick only the carefully composed photos of themselves and their friends, make their life seem luxurious, name drop, and talk themselves up to be the best and brightest. Social media can make any Mary Sue her own paparazzi and PR rep.
All of this makes you feel a million times worse when you’re working tirelessly to better yourself but not seeing the results you want, for instance, a job search where the searching is all that’s happening. While I am fortunate to have had the number of interviews I had, nearly every interviewer told me I was their second or third choice. Many of my friends told me that they thought that was great, but being second or third place doesn’t pay rent, get rid of the blues, or boost my resume. The constant reminder of other people’s successes on Facebook made me decide to go offline for a while.
But there was just one problem. Social media can be crucial to networking and working on your craft. I’d initially started blogging after I got a new job in 2011, when I had started to miss writing about music. Then, when I was laid off from that job, I worked even harder on writing because it was a way to keep working while looking for work, and a great way to network. I eventually assigned a goal for myself: profile people who work in music and sound. Why? Because, as someone said to me on one of my interviews, we always find a way to stay connected to the arts.
Talking to people about the very thing you want to stay connected with in your career is not only motivating, it’s a goldmine for networking and learning. I’ve met and chatted with some amazing people with wonderful and creative careers. I also had the opportunity to chat with a lot of great writers.
Someone once told me that people like to talk about themselves, and that’s fine with me because these informational interviews were ridiculously helpful. While I was interviewing people for the various sites I was now writing for, and for my own blog, I also interviewed people to gain perspective.
I couldn’t always physically go to where a professional in this field was working, but reaching out to someone and letting them know what I was looking for turned out to be key. For instance, I read a story in Elle Magazine about trying to stay connected to a career you feel passionate about. I found this author’s story to be inspiring. I sent her a Tweet, complimented the piece, and wondered if I could ask her a few questions. We set up a lunch phone chat, and it was great! I’ve done this a few times. It’s a wonderful way to network and gain knowledge from someone who is more experienced and knowledgable. I have to say, I was surprised at how open and kind people were when I reached out.
This eventually led to me completing my blog goal. I wanted to talk to someone who’d worked in the music department for one of my favorite childhood films. I was able to find her on LinkedIn and sent a message describing my project and goal. We ended up working on the interview together for about a month. Meanwhile, I was applying to a job where I saw a lot of similarities between the type of work I had to do on this one career profile and was able to reference it in my interview.
From here I was bewildered and excited. One of my favorite composers, who I had conversed with a bit before through Twitter, read the interview and it sparked a discussion.
And there we had it. My final interview for this project was scheduled! I landed the new, previously mentioned job the same week.
Personal and professional weights lifted off of my shoulders, I feel rejuvenated and optimistic. I also feel happy when I think about all of the wonderful and inspiring artists and writers who helped me through the past year. Whether they were mentors, people I interviewed, bandmates, or coworkers.
2014 has started with a job I am loving, new music and writing gigs, and great people. I’m considering starting a new blog, but am not sure of the time commitment or whether readers would be interested.
Have you ever set a goal for yourself through a blog? Who inspires you creatively? Do you have a blog and, if so, has it helped you with your job search?
Farah Joan Fard is a writer, media producer, and drummer. Her blog, LaParadiddle, focuses on profiling as many careers in music and sound that she can find. She has written for various sites and online magazines, and her non-writing work has mainly been in audio and media production. She enjoys sci-fi, dinosaurs, baked goods, hiking, performing, and watching ’90s television shows with her cat, Aria.