Day three of blogging. Will this be an everyday thing? I do not think so; actually, I’m almost sure that it will not be. Maybe I will take a break tomorrow. I don’t want to burn myself out on this cool new and exciting adventure just yet.
So, I have been talking about this advice about “what to do when you are unemployed.” I mentioned that I have read many articles giving opinions on this, handing out their own tips of advice and that lead me to dive further into a particular blog that I really enjoy reading: Penelope Trunk. In reading this particular article I was at first shocked, a little disturbed and then just accepted and moved on about it. However, I thought that I could add my two cents about it, just like a lot of her readers did. The basics of the article is that you will not make any money by blogging. Okay, I get that and totally understand that statement. However, it is how Penelope words it that I think really perturbed some readers. Penelope goes into saying that this one blogger is in the minority by making money off her blog:
Here’s what she has that you don’t: She’s a talented writer and a talented designer. She’s married to a developer who does all her tech stuff for free. And she has an amazing story to tell. She has the ability to translate her genius across many media—photography, memoir, twitter, and so on. She is a marvel. And you are not. None of us is. That’s why she is making so much money from her blog.
So, the way that Penelope goes about saying how some make it and most don’t is blunt to say the least; but being blunt is something that she says comes with the territory of being a blogger as well. Fair enough, but (and yes, there is always a but) Penelope has a following of people that dream to be like her some day. They dream to write and actually make money off of it. They look up to her as an idol. They strive to be like her. I know this by reading the comments on her blogs from her readers. So for Penelope to say to basically forget your dreams, they are not obtainable and super rare, is harsh. It’s like an NBA or NFL player going on TV and saying: “Hey, you wanna be like me, too bad. It’s not going to happen. I’m a rare exception, so just go flip burgers instead. Oh, and by the way, thanks for buying all my products that I make even more money off of. And thanks for watching the game as well.”
Yes, we get it, being a Penelope Trunk or a Micheal Jordan is rare, but I don’t ever recall Jordan telling his fans to go flip burgers (I keep referencing the flip burgers thing because Penelope says that as well in the article) and don’t even bother to strive to be like him. This reminds me of the scene from The Pursuit of Happiness, when Will Smith is playing basketball with his son, and he tells him to forget about ever making it as a basketball player. But then he realizes that that is exactly what everyone is telling him as he tries to fulfill his dream to make it as a broker. The desire to be something better is in all of us. We all have someone, or some image of who we want to be like. For Will Smith in that movie, it was seeing the guy getting out of the Ferrari. He immediately thought, what does that guy do and how do I do it.
By the time I got into law school, I had 28 years of life experiences behind me. Along the path to getting into law school, there were so many obstacles that pounded down on my end goal of becoming a lawyer, I would like to say that most would have just given up or changed paths. I did not. There is a saying in law school that has some truth to it: First year of law school, they (the school) scare you to death; second year they work you to death and third year they bore you to death. I would like to add to that saying that during the first year, not only are you scared to death, but you feel like the stupidest person on the planet, and wonder how you ever made it thus far in life. Which leads me to the title of this blog; keep the dream alive.
A few of the professors at my law school are retired judges, which makes for a wealth of information if you ever want to sit down with one of them. One such professor was Judge Cole. He was my torts professor my first year (1 L year). Judge Cole clearly knew what we were feeling and going through as 1L’s. He could probably smell the fear, or see the panic in our eyes as we entered the classroom. But he did not try to add to this overwhelming fear, he instead told us, almost everyday as we left class to “keep the dream alive.” I like to think that this helped with the whole being terrified thing. He at least brought us back to the thinking of why we are where we are. Think of all the things that you have done to get to this point. You would not have made it this far if you didn’t really want it. He would confirm what we always thought, that we did actually want to be there, no one was making us go to law school. Yes, we did want to be lawyers, someday, some how. Some did not want it that bad, and were weeded out the first year. But those that made it, always kept the dream alive. I can still hear him saying it. Keep the dream alive.
So getting back to Penelope’s blog about not making it, I think it is just fuel for those that really want to keep their dream alive. Don’t ever let someone else tell you that you can’t do something, even if it’s who you strive to be. I think there is a point where we strive to be like someone, and then we realize that maybe they aren’t exactly the person we want to be. That’s when it happens. That is when you grow into the person that you are meant to be. You can be that person, but better.
An example of what I’m trying to get across is this: When I first started this long and painful task of looking for a job, I would Google law firms that I was interested in, read about them, write this awesome cover letter, print out my glorious resume and put on my suit and drive down to their office to hand deliver my credentials. Now, you have to realize that these firms I was applying to were private firms, not government firms. So their websites did not have a “now hiring” or an online application system. I was applying to these firms because this is where I wanted to work and once they saw me with my suit on and my amazing resume and cover letter, they would totally hire me. Right? Wrong. I would say that about 85% of the time I would never get past the receptionist at the front desk. On top of that, I would not even get a call back, or a letter saying thanks but no thanks. The few polite and nice enough lawyers who gave me the time of day and told me everything looks great but they were just not hiring right now, I would send a thank you letter to. I know how it feels to put in all this time and effort of getting the perfect cover letter, combined with the perfect resume, getting all dressed up and driving down to their office to not even get a thanks but no thanks. So I still strive to be like these awesome private firms that I applied to, but I now strive to be better than them.
So to the readers of the Penelope Trunk blog, keep the dream alive. Strive to be better than Penelope, and don’t let anyone, not even Penelope herself, tell you that you can’t make it. And to you Penelope Trunk, you are a role model, whether you want to be or not. Like a good attorney doing their closing statements, know your audience.