First World Problems – Hypergamy with Destiny

So in case you’re wondering, the word hypergamy means “the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class.”  Generally, it’s a word used by pick up artists, men going their own way and a wide range of other bitter a-holes who can’t get laid, to explain why they’re still single and why that’s not their fault. As in all the evil women want to trade up and because of that, no man can ever truly be happy in a relationship. I think a lot of the reason that it’s attributed as primarily a female trait is that girls don’t ask guys to marry them.  We know better.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Instead, it’s about an email I got today from a potential agent. During my hiatus from my blog, I was working on my Masters. My thesis for my Masters was a novel and after the program ended, I figured “what the hell, let’s submit it.”

So I dug up a list of five of the fanciest agents I could find. I received four rejections and one request for a partial. I sent it, checked my email every 15 minutes for about two weeks, then got drunk and forgot about it.

Until this morning, about seven months later, when that last agent contacted me and asked me “are you married to this MC?”  They liked the story, liked the world building, liked just about everything but for the main character. I wrote her as a straight woman in her early forties.

They wanted a black, gay man in his early twenties.

That annoyed me. I mean, the story is first person, present tense. Obviously, I’m writing it from a white, middle-aged chick’s point of view because I am currently, a white middle-aged chick. I know next to nothing about being a black gay man that I haven’t seen on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

Love that show.

But after my initial annoyance, I got annoyed with myself at being annoyed. Who the hell was I to turn down a chance to get published with a Big 5? Fuck, when I started this blog 5 years ago, I was working in insurance litigation and writing articles about penile enhancement for $5 a pop in my off time.

I had this fantasy where I didn’t have to do insurance anymore. I didn’t have to talk to anyone on the phone or go to an office every day. I just got to write. Granted, in the fantasy, I was a bestselling novelist but still, the end goal was the same. No more phone calls. No more negotiations. No more getting yelled at. Just me, writing.

The dream happened, but not the way I expected it would. My first novel floundered and disappeared. Same with the sequel and a short novella. I kept writing but I switched it up to an easier to compete in category. I went with erotica and the sales came in. I hated it. I made enough money but it wasn’t money I wanted to talk about. I was writing fiction for a market I didn’t care about, creating stories that I didn’t want to continue.

Honestly, once you’ve written one sex scene, you’ve written every sex scene.

I went back to tech writing. At least with that, I can still learn something new every day. It was only the other morning I was thinking “What I wanted to happen, it happened.  I make enough money to survive. I don’t have to go into an office.  I don’t get yelled at on the phone or attend pointless meetings. I get to do what I love. So why aren’t I happy?”

The fact is, I’m not happy because we’re never happy. None of us. Humans are hypergamous by nature. Not women, not me, humans. It’s why we can win the lotto one year and file bankruptcy the next. It’s why someone like Harvey Weinstein can have the world at his feet and ruin it all with a nonsense sex addiction. It’s why athletes run through million dollar signing bonuses that should carry them into their golden years, in like four years.

We’re always looking for the next big thing. Every dream that comes true is laying the groundwork to yet another dream.

When I got that email this morning, I said to myself “this could be my big break”.  The story I wrote, that story made me happy.  The one thing I actually looked forward to writing, it could be my big break.

All I needed to do was change everything about it.

And I realized that even if I did, even if it was my big break, I’d still never be satisfied. The story would get published, disappear from the world after a year and then, I’d be in the same damn position I am now, hating myself for trying to trade up when I was perfectly happy where I was.  I’m already living my dream. I just need to realize that.

So, like any professional, I responded “new phone. Who dis?” and moved the fuck on.

 

Linked In – Social Media for the High Plains Drifter

I finally got around to doing my Linked In profile today. For about 4 months there, it was nothing but a black hole that I used as a harvest ground for my Saturday night ritual of sending drunk emails to old friends.

high-plains-drifter-original

Click here to follow me on LinkedIn…if you dare.

But I hear it’s good for business stuff like communication, networking, and um…synergy? Synergy is a business word, right?

Fine, whatever, I’m using it as another platform with which to stalk my exes and see how much more successful they are than me. Happy now?

I’ve been putting it off for awhile now because I didn’t have any business appropriate pictures (you know, without weed in them) and filling out the information is boring as fuck. That’s why I only filled out my current job position, and said before that I was a high plains drifter for 32 years.   Darn those midlife career changes!

When I was reading on how to fill out the profile, it suggested approaching the profile in the same way that you would approach your job or a project. So I did the bare minimum. I’m a very literal person. When someone told me that I needed to dress for the job I wanted, I dressed up as a space pirate.

I regret nothing.

But for someone like me, who is incapable of taking anything seriously, the Linked In profile can be an intimidating experience. On the upside, if I can’t make business contacts to boost my career, I can always fall back on being a high plains drifter.

 

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/essa-alroc/98/73/753

Some Really Bad Job Hunting Advice

I like to use AOL as my homepage. I enjoy their news (man with biggest testicles in the world has surgery!), as well as their helpful tips on securing employment.

Now, I’m not really interested in securing any employment. I mainly just like to read the articles. Why? Because the information they give is the SAME COMMON SENSE INFORMATION that anyone with opposable thumbs and 4th grade reading level could figure out on their own.

So rather than be part of the solution, I’m going to be part of the problem by telling you all why you should avoid common sense and just start fucking winging it.

This is actually going to be part of a series of books I’m working on in the non-fiction genre. I’ve actually created a new form of self-help. It’s called self-sabotage.

1. Include all your contact information on your resume.

Yeah, this is actually a “tip” written by an expert in the industry. People failing to put any contact information on their resume is a HUGE problem. I can’t tell you how often a resume gets sent under the name ‘anonymous’ with contact information that reads “if you want to hire me that bad, you’ll find me.”

This is not a tip. It’s basic fucking common sense. However, I’m going to expand on it. Don’t just put your name, address phone number and email. Take it a step further. Add some of the bars you like to drink in or the adult chat rooms you frequent. They’ll find you for sure.

2. Use effective titles.

The true goal of a job title isn’t to tell people what you did. That’s actually the opposite of what you want. If you are writing an effective job title, you need to make sure that not one single human being on this planet can actually figure out what you did in that job.  For example;

Bad: Accounting Manager

Good: Chief Mid-Level Operation Supervisor In Charge of Eliminating Numerical Redundancies

3. Use a standard font style and size

Fuck that. You’re a non-conformist. Personally, I like to use wingding’s on my resume. Nothing says great employee like;

♣∞♥♦ ♦♥♦♥♣∞♥♦

4. Be courteous

Really? So I shouldn’t call the person interviewing me a fucktarded douchebag? Nah, you’re putting me on. Personally, I think that the guy who uses racial slurs and shows up drunk is going to be a lot more memorable than the guy who sucks up about the companies mission statement.

5. Dress nicely

I’ve heard is said that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Ever since I saw Firefly, all I’ve really wanted was to be the captain of a ragtag band of space pirates.  Finally, a reason to wear my eye-patch and carry my ray gun at the same time!

6. Bullet points are AWESOME!

  • Use
  • bullet
  • points
  • because
  • people
  • are
  • morons
  • who
  • can
  • only
  • handle
  • one
  • line
  • of
  • text
  • at
  • a
  • time

7. Follow up

Most people recommend sending a ‘thank you’ card following an interview. Just so you know, that card usually just gets throw away. I actually recommend a more personalized approach. Follow the person who interviewed you home from work. Show up at their kids school. Trust me, if they wake up at 3 am with you standing over their bed, they’ll never forget you.

There you go. With my helpful tips, I can pretty much guarantee you that you’ll never find gainful employment again. On the upside, you’ll get to be one of those ‘worst employee interview ever’ myths that HR people like to tell.

The Freelancers Interview

I love being a freelancer. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with authority, so being my own boss is a pretty good thing. Plus, I don’t have to leave the house and I work better when I drink on the job.

However, there is one thing that I absolutely love, that only comes along once in a while; the freelance interview.

For most of you out there, interviews suck. For normal 9 to 5 types, the job interview is nothing more than a 30 minute lying contest between you and a really stuffy member of HR. You get stuck talking about your 5 year plan, your greatest weaknesses and strengths, your opinion on the companies mission statement.

You know, stuff that no one gives a shit about.

But freelance interviews are different. See, every now and then I’ll submit a proposal on a long term or huge job. In those cases, the person might want to talk to me. However, they’re not doing it because they are required by HR policy to talk to me. They’re doing it because they want to verify that I am an actual human located in the continental US. They don’t care about my five year plan. They don’t care about my greatest weakness. They care about two things. They care about me being an English speaking American, and they care that I am not a complete cunt.

And most of them are even more laid back than me. See, us work from home types can get a little loopy after being out of touch with the rest of the corporate world so long. As a result, we forget about silly things like social niceties or stuff we should not say out loud. We no longer remember what is appropriate to say to another human being in a professional setting.

And god damn it, I love it.

In an effort to share the wealth, for those of you who might never get to have a freelance conversation, here is an actual transcript from my last conversation with a potential client.

Essa is sitting at her desk, swilling coffee and planning a late evening of writing threatening, error filled letters to various politicians. Suddenly, a new call comes in on her Skype feed.

Essa: Hello?

Liam: Hi Essa, it’s Liam.

Essa: Cool. So look, none of that hash shit you got me last time. Do I look Persian? See if you can get your hands on some decent NYC Diesel. Not the kind that’s too resiny though. It fucks up my vaporizer.

Liam: Excuse me?

Essa: (Smacks head) Sorry, you’re “from the (magazine name redacted) Liam”. I thought you were “drug dealer Liam”.

Liam: It’s a reasonable mistake. Sorry, I would have used the video chat, but I’m completely nude.

Essa: Coincidence! I’m bottomless today. I can’t find my pants.

Liam: Been there. So listen, I wanted to see if you’d be willing to take on an additional project. The guys that I hired to handle the web content in India are being a bunch of (ethnic slurs). I swear, it’s like they’re doing nothing there except for (completely offensive stereotype of Indian people, followed by some more ethnic slurs). It’s enough to make me want to fly over there and (really offensive rant that involve broomsticks, religious deities and more ethnic slurs). Can you take care of them for me?

Essa: Sure, as long as you’re willing to reimburse my airfare and the cost of broomsticks.

Liam: (laughs) We’ll hold off on that until the end of the quarter. I mainly just want you to weed out the ones that suck from the ones that really suck, and then do a mass firing via email.

Essa: So you’re looking for a scapegoat?

Liam: You got it.

Essa: That will cost you extra.

Liam: Fine with me. If I never have to deal with those (ethnic slurs) again, it will be too soon. Can you take care of it today?

Essa: Already writing the email.

Liam: Can I call you back tonight then?

Essa: That’s fine, just do it before 6. Otherwise, I’ll be shitfaced.

Liam: Coincidence! I’m shitfaced now. It’s half the reason I’m nude.

Essa: We are indeed kindred spirits.

Of course, not all of my freelance client interviews go like that. Sometimes, they actually want to talk about the job. The point I’m making is that it’s never really a chore to talk to them, because they’re actually calling to discuss something important. They don’t ask me stupid questions that they don’t care about the answers to.

If only all employers would behave like them. Of course, I imagine HR complaints would go up as well, but hey, you give a little, you get a little, right?

 

 

 

It’s Not Rocket Science…But Neither is Your Job

I’ve reached a low point in my life. I’m being judged by a garbage man with a neck tattoo.

I live in a place that has ‘valet trash’ service. This is a fancy way of saying ‘we pay a bunch of ex-cons and high school drop-outs $20 a night to pick up your trash at your door, for the low, low price of $50 a month.”

Being the dainty flower that I am, I use this program. Well, also, you can’t opt out. My complexes dumpsters are locked up tighter than Fort Knox and only a select group of individuals have the key. From what I’ve seen, you’re only eligible if you have a criminal record and some form of ‘fuck the police’ permanently, and prominently, etched onto your body.

oscar

Anyway, the whole valet trash thing seems easy enough. You put your garbage out, they take it. But then you get into the complexities of garbage politics. They won’t take loose pizza boxes. They won’t take unflattened cardboard boxes. They bitch about bags that are too heavy.

Also, if they fail to show up for three days, and one of the several billion squirrels that run around get into your trash and destroy it, they bitch about that. I really feel like I need to apologize for that. If there are any valet trash men out there, reading this tonight, please accept the below as my formal apology.

Dear Garbage Man

I’m so sorry I forgot to deploy my Sonar Squirrel Repeller 3000 while you took your spontaneous vacation. Maybe I should have just sat outside for three days waving them away with a fucking broom until you decided to some back. You know, because my life revolves around making a service, that I pay you to do, easier for you.  Regardless of how poorly you decide to provide that service.

Sincerely,

Essa Alroc, Person Who Pays You

Tonight was the last straw. As I sat here, finishing up yet another 12 hour work day, I heard one of these douchebags complain through my open window about the way the knot was tied on my garbage bag. The exact phrase; “Jesus, learn how to tie a fucking knot. It’s not fucking rocket science.”

The guy nearly shit himself when my blinds popped open and I responded, “nope, and neither is your job but you still can’t manage to do it without leaving a line of garbage down my walkway.”

He walked away without responding. It was a shame, because I had many more helpful suggestions about what else he could do to make his job easier. Some of the helpful tidbits I was going to recommend;

  1. Try being in the country legally. That way, your job won’t involve working for a shady contractor who owns a pickup truck and only hires dudes that hang out in front of Home Depot.
  2. Try graduating from High School or at least getting a fucking GED. My friend Sara finished her GED in approximately 12 minutes, for $399, by taking a correspondence course she found in her TV guide. No joke, there is no longer any excuse for not managing to at least complete the standard 12 grades. Don’t give me a hard luck story either. This isn’t China. There is more than one free program available out there. Find it, and you might find someone willing to at least pay you minimum wage.
  3. If you have chosen to get a facial tattoo with a swear word or racial slur, you’re not getting a job that pays more than $3 an hour unless you go back to prison. No suggestion here. Just an FYI.

What are you getting from the tips above? If you hate the idea of cleaning up my garbage for a living, it’s not my problem. It’s yours. Do something a little more productive than bitch about the people who pay your salary and things might get a little better for you.

Who knows, maybe someday, you’ll be the one driving the pick up truck.

 

 

 

A Notice To Prospective Clients

I get a lot of requests for proposals from prospective clients about projects they need done. Some are reasonable. They give me an outline of their project, I give them an idea of price and how long to complete. This notice isn’t for those clients. This notice is for the other 25% of proposal requests that I get that I immediately decline. Let me explain to you why you aren’t getting any responses to the project you need done and answer some common, but incredibly annoying questions I get.

You’re living in a fantasyland on price point. It’s not just annoying for someone to send me a request to write an ebook and tell me their budget is under $500; it’s insulting. Sometimes, if you’re just looking for formatting or editing, I get it, but you’re still asking the wrong girl. I write, I don’t edit. Believe it or not, the two generally don’t go hand in hand. However, for those people who want me to write an entire, 50,000 word, fictional story based on a very loose plot line about their family’s heirloom quilt, for under $500, realize that you are asking me to work for about 12 cents an hour. No, I don’t give a shit that you’ll give me a share of the profits when your boring as fuck quilt book goes viral like 50 Shades of Grey. Why? Because most self published books sell under 100 copies. If it’s a family project and you’re not interested in making money, how cute! Call me back when you can actually afford to pay for my time. Generally, a novel that I sign away all rights to is costing you in the 5 figure range. That way, if the book does make you rich, I will be less likely to kill myself for signing away the rights to it.

No, I won’t post the articles on my blog. I know that they’d get more exposure here, but there’s a reason my blogs are popular. Because I write interesting shit and I don’t censor myself for a sponsor. If I start selling out and selling space to every company who approaches me, my blog would soon be nothing more than vibrator reviews and healing crystal articles. Then my readers would disappear. I rarely drag my blog into my work. Last time I did, it was for a company whose goal was to build schools for girls in Afghanistan. If your company is trying to raise money to keep a 10 year old from getting acid thrown in her face for daring to learn to read, then fine, drop me an email. If you need a review of the New Rabbit Ultrasonic Orgasm 5000, I will give you the same review I give all vibrators right now. “It’s good, but not as good as the real thing.”

You don’t need to talk to me on the phone. Picture me doing that Jedi thing with my hand as I say that. I work with an escrow account, meaning that if you’re not satisfied, you’re getting your money back and I never even see it. I am not a Nigerian scam artist. You do not need to talk to me, or heaven fucking forbid, Skype with me. I write for a reason. I hate talking to people. We can exchange the same info in a 3 second email that you want to give me in a 25 minute phone conversation. Oh, and we will never Skype. Why? Because I haven’t changed my clothes or brushed my hair since I started freelancing. Trust me, seeing me would actually be less reassuring.

Employee or Contractor – Pick one. If the answer is employee, I quit. Here’s how it works. You tell me what you want, I deliver it in the required time frame for an agreed upon price. You pay me. I go away. In exchange, you don’t have to insure me, pay me unemployment if you don’t need me, or jump through hoops to get rid of me. You are not installing a tracking monitor on my keyboard to make sure I’m typing the whole time. You’re not spying on me with a web cam or taking screen shots of my computer verify my hours. That’s shit you do to an employee, which I am not. We agree to a price for a product, I deliver it. Let’s keep it uncomplicated.

NO FREE SAMPLES! Picture this; I finally walk into Abercrombie & Fitch without my eyes swelling shut from allergies. I cram myself into a pair of acid green, torn, size – 4 jeans then walk out of the store in them without paying. It’s ok though, because if I like them, I’ll actually pay for more. If I don’t, I won’t buy anymore, but I’m going to keep the pair I just took. Sound ok? That’s what you’re asking me to do when you want me to write an example, 500 word blog post for free and sign away my rights to you for it. Need a sample? Check one of the 70 articles, 3 books or countless blog posts I have published. A request for a custom written free sample screams scam to me and you’re not getting a response.

Of course, the clients like these are uncommon, but not exactly rare. In fact, I think I get at least one of these requests a week. For those who are considering freelancing careers, keep an eye out for those types of request. Sometimes, they’re just harmless requests from someone not familiar with the work. Sometimes, they’re request from people trying to get over on a new freelancer. Luckily, the beauty of being a freelancer means you never have to be stuck with a bad client. Instead, you can dump them off on someone who’s not as informed.

Tips to Freelance Full Time – The Day Essa Alroc Actually Gave Advice

You might be rubbing your eyes, trying to see if you read that title right. If you’re familiar with my page, then you’ll notice that I generally don’t give advice. I give long winded rants filled with profanity. However, I get a lot of questions posted and emails to me from hopeful freelance writers, who want advice on breaking into the field.

Now, as a disclaimer here, I’m comfortable, but I’m not millionaire. I live in an apartment and I drive an inexpensive car. I am the midlist of the middle class. I don’t have a lot of expenses, so the transition to full time writing was easy for me. Aside from my semi-regular illicit substance purchases, I’m a pretty low maintenance chick. The tips I’m going to give you might help you get to the middle of the pack, but they’re not going to make you a millionaire.

First off, you’re going to have to learn to deal with some incredibly boring work. My main goal isn’t to be a freelance writer forever. It’s to make money from my books and the stuff I like to write. However, that’s not something that can pay the bills instantly. If you’re planning on uploading your novel on Kindle and waiting for the profits to roll in, you’ve got a long wait. In the meantime, that means paying the bills by doing some incredibly boring work.

Who’s giving you that boring work? Business owners. The biggies are lawyers, doctors, financial execs, real estate offices and pretty much any type of sales work. There are also possibilities available in the alternative health, computer programming and technology industries, but those require a bit more expertise. Rule of thumb; if it has a website, it needs content.

How do you get to be the one that provides that content? First, notice the word I’m using. ‘Content’, not articles. If you’re going to make a living freelancing, it’s not about magazines and newspapers anymore.  It’s about the internet. I don’t care what you’re writing about, that webpage’s goal is to have hits from SEO. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about when I say SEO, we’re already getting off to a really bad start. If you do, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

SEO is about how a web page is ranked in a website. The big one is Google, which takes about 80% of the market share on searches. Google has an algorithm that crawls webpages, finds keywords and indexes them. When a used types a search engine phrase like; ‘hot anal transgendered amputees’, those search results come back with pages where those words were found. Of course, those search results will include every page, regardless of whether the page is about ‘hot anal transgendered amputees’, or whether it is a page like mine that has nothing to do with the subject. To make sure the websites are given proper credence, each one gets a relevancy ranking based on how related to the phrase they are. When someone is asking you to produce ‘content’ they are asking you to get them to the top of that list. That’s what search engine optimization, or SEO is for. Learn it, absorb it, fantasize about it in the shower. It’s your life now and it changes every fifteen fucking minutes.

Before you even consider hunting clients down like the innocent prey they are, you need a resume and writing clips. Freelance writing is a tough business, because most of your work is going to be ghostwritten. Trust me, my opinion is all over the internet, but it’s not my name attached. When you ghostwrite, you don’t get credit, you lose the right to your work, and you usually can’t use it as a clip sample. However, you can note you ghostwrote for a company on your resume, and if with their permission, link to the blog you worked on.

However, the easiest way to get clips is to hook up with a site that allows newbies to post their articles. The site I started out with was the Yahoo Contributor Network. I barely do work on it anymore, but it can really help boost your credentials. It’s also network central. I got approached by 60 Minutes following something I wrote for Yahoo! News. They are a fantastic place to start getting the clips you need for your resume.

As far as getting your feet wet, and for some immediate writing gigs, you can try a few of these sites; Text Broker, or London Brokers . Sites like these are commonly referred to as content mills. They can be great starting out, or if you looking to make a little extra cash. However, if you focus only your writing career on these, you will learn to hate writing. They don’t pay very much, but they’re easy to get into and you don’t have to apply for jobs. You just pick an article and start writing.

What’s the downside, besides the low pay? Let me give you a verbatim example of what you will be writing about.

Please write an informative and creative article concerning “BEST NY TRANSMISSION SERVICE”. Article must be interesting and informative.  Please write 500 words, use keyword 11 times. Adhere to the exact mode of the mentioned keywords.

Yup, boring as fuck. You’re writing filler, keyword focused articles and you’ll need to do about 10 an hour if you want to make any real money. On the upside, it will help with your creativity, because it takes a magic fucking computer to make transmission service centers interesting.

Again, content mills are great for getting your feet wet or if you’re just trying to make some extra cash. I would not recommend building a career on them. It can be done, I know several people who do it. But they don’t like writing anymore. That’s why you need to move on a bit, to getting clients who allow you a little more creativity.

Again, unless your one lucky fucker, you’re not going to start out writing something you’re passionate about.  However, at least write about something you can tolerate. Alternate professional Essa writes legal articles, alternative medicine articles, jewelry articles and programming articles because I find them interesting. I don’t force myself to look into sports writing, because, aside from competitive drinking, I fucking hate sports. I write for clients whose work already interests me. Because of that, it requires less research and feels less like work.

How did I get my clients? Well, I started out on Elance. There are other sites like oDesk and Guru that you can also use, but I prefer Elance. These sites are bidding sites, so you need to be careful. DO NOT ALWAYS BID LOW! In the beginning, you might have to bid lower, but do not try to beat out the guy from India, offering to write articles for 1.25 each, who speaks English as a second language. I both hire and apply for jobs on Elance. When I apply, I bid a fair price that is not nearly the lowest. When I hire, I pick the best proposal, not the lowest price. Bidding what your worth isn’t just about you. When people come into the market charging rock bottom prices, everyone starts to drop their prices and we all make less.

So in conclusion, if you plan on starting your freelancing career this year, I hope my tips can help you out. At the very least, they’ll get you started.  Of course, the best way to get started is to buy several thousand copies of my book, so I can retire and you can get me out of the market. I’m heavy competition. 😉