Life lesson #38: Shameless self-promotion is still a little shameful. (Hey kids! Check out justinelorelleblanchard.com!) See?

I am, in general, not a braggart. I hate cover letters because they make you explain why you’re the most awesome applicant. I was hesitant about starting a blog because who the hell cares what I think? I’m bad at accepting compliments; I always tack something onto my “thanks” that undercuts why I’m deserving of compliment. (“Oh this dress? Oh thanks! It was, like, a dollar at Target.”)

The problem is, I’m in an industry where simply doing good work and hoping someone notices just doesn’t cut it. You have to sell yourself, and you have to sell hard.

If you clicked on the link in the life lesson above, you can see where this is going.

My school is on this kick of getting all the students to buy their domain name and create a site to post their résumés, clips, etc. And so, being a good little student, that’s what I did. Gag.

It’s not that I’m not proud of the site. In some ways, I am. I mean, it looks ok. When you click on stuff, it generally takes you where I intended it to. It’s more the idea of “look at me! look at me!” that I’m averse to. But hey, a starving journalist’s gotta do what a starving journalist’s gotta do.

So who wants to hire me?

Life lesson #32: Tis better to dance with shoes than without.

As I write this, Susan is sitting next to me eating banana bread and nursing her wounded feet.

(Well, not at exactly the same time…)

A trip to Mizzou to visit friends from our internship program last summer quickly escalated into two dance parties. At some point in the night, Susan got cocky, kicked off her flats, and continued to boogie. What does she have to show for it?

A hole the size of a pencil eraser by her left baby toe.

Susan also chucked her phone (the one means we had for contacting the girl we were supposed to be staying with) into the oblivion of ratty couches at a friend’s house at one point. The point that she refers to as, “The moment last night stopped being fun…”

The point is, it’s important to protect yourself. It’s all fun and games until someone’s roommate stomps on your foot and leaves you bloody and limping.

Life lesson #28: There’s always enough money for caffeine.

I think I might be a wizard.

All the Harry Potter freaks need to calm down—not that kind of wizard. My wizardry is much more specific. I have the magic power to always find an extra three dollars or $1.25 when my energy level starts to dip to dangerous levels.

I don’t know how I do it. I mean, clearly I’m not a wealthy person. And since I still don’t have that second job, it’s not possible that my bank account is increasing.

So what’s the catch?

Oh yeah. I sometimes ignore the fact that I have no money.

justine-blanchard

I’m going to blame my reckless spending on sleep deprivation. It’s a vicious cycle.

About six times in my youth I decided it would be fun to start a diary. I think it may have had something to do with all the Dear America books I read.

I’d have fanciful visions of documenting my most important moments in life, and then some day a group of archaeologists would find it and glean the wisdom I had to offer about my era.

What actually happened is that I would write daily for about a week, then drop off to about once every two months (always apologizing for the time spent away…I think you know where I’m going with this..) before fading away completely until the next new year when diaries were on sale at Barnes & Noble.

It never made sense to me. I’m a writer. I love writing more than anything else in the world. Why was this so hard for me? (That’s what she said.)

Yeah, my lack of attention span probably had something to do with it.

But the truth is, my life is boring. Even I got bored writing about it. Sad.

Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with a way to make myself blog regularly. (Because apparently I need to?) I’m going to incorporate something I’ve been doing in my Twitter for a while: life lessons. I’m already up to #27 (I skipped one and two…I love a good intrigue), but maybe someday I’ll go back for the rest. Here’s the start:

Life lesson #27: Be ethical. Because I may not always do the right thing, but I always wish I had.

My mock trial team will tell you that this is my standard soap box topic, but I truly believe in doing the right thing even when it will hurt you. There are enough shitty people in the world. Be better than that just because you can be. Please.

Don’t worry, they’re not always so preachy.

Not to be confused with “The Redcoats are coming!” Although they both reference the British. (Bridge -> London Bridge -> British? It’s a stretch, I know. Shut up.)

So apparently the fact that I neglect this blog like an unwanted houseplant is going to hurt my career. And since I’m not exactly financially secure at this moment in my life, I guess that means I have to check myself before I wreck myself. (Ok, a friend used that phrase recently and I loved it, but I am now realizing I just can’t pull it off. Damn this good-two-shoes exterior!)

burned-bridge

Other career advice to consider: When is it acceptable to burn a bridge? Personally, I am not totally against bridge burning. (Not literally, I’m not a pyromaniac.) Sometimes you need to cut someone out of your life. Like a cancer. What I’m saying is, some people are a cancer in your life. *Meaningful look*

That being said, it’s generally a nice idea to smooth things over. I’m not saying you get together and paint each other’s toenails, but if, say, you were trapped in an elevator together, it would be ok if you could gab about last week’s episode of 30 Rock instead of thinking up 30 ways to kill yourself with your shoelaces.

Ways to make nice with people you don’t care for:

1. Never talk about anything important. If all you ever chit-chat about is frivolous bits of nothing like the weather and where you got your shoes, there’s really nothing for anyone to get annoyed about, right? RIGHT?

2. Find them AMUSING. Confession: I use this on my mom when she’s driving me up the wall. Instead of letting someone’s quirks and tendencies, be AMUSED by them. Find them charming and humorous. Then, instead of strangling them, you will simply chuckle to yourself. Think things like, “Oh, you!” and “Isn’t that just like so-and-so!”

3. Be the better person. There is going to come a time when someone is going to do something that bothers you so much you want to punch them. But if it’s your boss, co-worker, client, professor, class speaker, etc., you have to just swallow your rage, smile, and say, “Ok, I’ll think about that.”

Yes, a swift punch to their sternum will be more satisfying—but at what cost? So remember kids, only you can stop forestbridge fires.

original photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Remember that time I owed the government a large chunk of my financial security? Well, in the spirit of that, I’ve made a goal to not buy any groceries for the ENTIRE MONTH.

Crazy? Perhaps.

But I actually went shopping fairly recently, so I think I can swing it.

Also, remember when I said one of my goals was to find a job in a recession? Well, I got close. I’m interning at The Knot this summer in NEW YORK CITY. Specifically SoHo. And I could not be more thrilled.

Well, unless they gave me an actual job. Or at least a position that paid more than $20 a day…but really, I’m THRILLED. (Not sarcastic; I know it’s hard to tell..)

But anyway, that’ s relevant to the goal. Because a girl needs to pay rent.