Maybe this is all my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so impulsive. Maybe if I didn’t watch episode 1, season 1 of ‘Mad Men’ when I was an impressionable 18-year-old I wouldn’t have thought to join the advertising industry in the first place.
Maybe I chose the wrong career.
Maybe it’s too late to turn back.
Maybe I should have been a nurse just like the other good Filipinos.
I fell down this self-deprecating rabbit hole last month after my 4th interview flopped and I didn’t get the job I had desperately prepared for. I did everything I was supposed to: I researched the company’s history, I dove into the company’s social media, post by post, and tried to understand their writing style and voice, and on the day of the interview as their social media specialist, I wore my nice underwear and managed to hide my quivering anxiety and depression neatly inside my wallet.
I killed it.
I spoke with confidence, had my resume and portfolio updated, and the whole package was pristine as fuck. I was a strong candidate and I was told that many times.
But I didn’t get the job. And I didn’t get the job before that. Or the job before that. Or the one before that. I felt like I was going nowhere.
I felt like I was going nowhere.
On a bullet train to failure.
As I tumbled down this endless staircase of ‘Ls,’ I wondered if I should just give up on this stupid dream. If I can’t even land a job in the industry I’ve been working towards, am I even qualified to be here? Was it all a fluke? Was I just damn good at lying to people and pretending like I was more qualified than I really was?
After a few weeks of feeling sorry for my damn self, I started to look back at all those failed interviews to see if there was a connection. A reason why these people might not have hired me.
So I got faded, listened to some Kendrick Lamar, and tried to connect the dots.
“You have so much on your plate, why are you looking for work?”
”Your resume is impressive. Why don’t you have your own business?”
”Wow, how did you build so many followers? I’m trying to do that myself!”
When I first heard these comments, I didn’t take them at face value because I was in interview-mode. I thought they were trick questions to psyche me out of the job. So I’d tell them, “Well, these are my passion projects that I work on during my free time. These don’t affect my normal working hours and I’m looking for a new challenge.”
But the longer I thought about it, the more it made sense.
These people are hiring for a reason. These people are hiring a copywriter or a social media manager because they can’t do it themselves. And if they can’t do it and I can, why don’t I just start my own business, grow it, and make a living by working for myself? Hell, if I start my own marketing agency I can charge those fuckers who didn’t want to hire me in the first place.
Now I’m in charge.
I applied to dozens of social media and copywriting jobs and none of them wanted me. But the more I looked at their work, the more I realized that I could be doing what they’re doing, but better. Way better. Some of these small marketing and advertising agencies have antiquated social media practices and they don’t know how to start a platform or build a following because none of them have done it before. They haven’t experienced life with a blue check mark. They’ve never been dragged by followers, called out, blown up, and applauded in front of an audience. They’ve never gone viral, been featured in podcasts, nor do they understand the grind that it takes to truly build a social media brand.
But I know all of this because I’ve lived it.
I didn’t get to the Tedx stage on accident, my friends. I achieved that dream through my own grind, and I’ve been selling myself short for so long. I can fucking do this. I can start and run my own agency. I can and will hire people of color in an industry that refuses to even consider them as valid candidates. I can work within my community and serve small businesses who need help with their social media who would have otherwise been rejected by the same agencies who rejected me.
“Sorry, we’re too white and too expensive.”
Fuck that. I want to serve the people and I want to make my services available to the people. I don’t want to fuck with Coca Cola or Nike. I want to work with ‘Marquita’s Barbecue and Grill’ or the local DJ from a small town in Virginia.
I want to give social media power to the people. I believe in this tool and I believe in my ability to help others accomplish what I’ve accomplished myself. I know I can replicate these results.
I believe in this space because I grew up on social media. I started LLAG from Facebook and grew it to scale on zero dollars. I turned my side project into a hustle, and now I’m turning that hustle into a career.
Who knows? This might be another bad, impulsive idea that I’ll regret.
Or it could be a fucking game changer and I’ll be laughing my “minority” ass all the way to the bank with the advertising industry in my rear view mirror.
Game on, fuckers.