Archive for the ‘ Professional Life ’ Category

Ryu grows up

If the previous motivational video didn’t do the trick maybe this one will scare you strait.  Don’t be like Ryu.  Be like Egoraptor the animator.  I’ve watched this guy rise up with a couple other flash animators over the years, they still have fun at their job.

The Military: A Career or an Escape?

Joining the military could be one of the biggest decisions of a person’s life, and just like every election year I am torn between two options shitty options.  Politics make me turn green and start smashing things, seriously, I can’t even type when I’m like that its all just “asdhkjsd” until i get some ice cream to take my mind off things.

So as my first easy decision of the day we will talk about the military instead.  I’ve been thinking about the military for a long time and my opinion reflects on all the knowledge and people that I have met along the way.  I’ve talked to Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, civilians, ROTC candidates, pilots, and family about it and there is a lot of both good and bad to be said about signing the dotted line and joining up.  You have to think about what is important to you before you even consider it.  If a life as a piece in a large machine doesn’t appeal to you don’t even think about it because you will not enjoy yourself.  I’m talking about the life away from family, the long hours and the structured lifestyle of belonging to a militaristic organisation.  For me this is no obstacle, as a lot of jobs that appeal to me force you to sacrifice for your commitment to the job, for example; police work, being a fisherman, even life at an advertising agency will put a strain on your life at home.

But lets take a step back, joining up is unique to any other career for one reason.  It’s not that it is dangerous, there are thousands of ways to die and I’m not sure on the statistics but I’m more afraid of cancer than anything right now.  Cancer is a cold blooded killer, cancer and those plastic things they hold 6 packs of pop together with, i get caught on those things all the damn time.

I’m talking about the commitment you make when deciding on joining the military.  Once in there is no backing out until your contract expires.  This poses a real factor to consider and you shouldn’t need me to think about the impact on your life it could mean.  I talking about unconditional commitment to your government for upwards of 6 years.  So that vacation to Europe will have to wait.  Because of this I suggest finding something you want out of your time in the forces.  Something worth while and something you can use once you are out.  Too many veterans complain of their struggle to acclimate back into civilian life after their contract.  If you find a job within the force that interests you and is marketable in a civilian environment you are set.  For me it is medical training for others it might be pilot experience others still strive for the leadership that comes with an officer position.  Once you have your goal don’t let anything others say change your motivation for this because the recruiter is not your friend.

I mean it, If you ever find yourself in a recruiters office you will find a lot of friendly people who might buy you lunch and ask about your life but when it comes down to it, they have a job to do.  Their commanding officer has told them what jobs are in demand and what jobs are not, more than likely if you want a cool job there is a lot of competition for that job.  Lets look at Navy SEALS shall we?  If you have done your homework you know that about 2/3 of recruits drop off in hell week alone.  The ones that actually earn their badge are the top 5% most dedicated and talented soldiers of the recruits who thought they wanted to be a SEAL this kind of drop off is typical for most special forces.  Now put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter, here is another punk civilian who wants to be a SEAL because he’s played too much call of duty and wants to shoot all those ear splitting guns that, much to the annoyance of mom upstairs, he has been fraging noobs with for the past few years from the comfort of his couch.  I would tell him whatever it took to not to waste his time and the governments money trying to train him to be something he is not.

So, you have weighed your options and found something you want to get out of the military, something you won’t let go no matter what the recruiter tells you right? Good.  Now I suggest you do more research.  You need time to make sure this is right for you.  If you want to be a SEAL read a book on it, I suggests “Down Range” By Dick Couch.  Or if you haven’t been able to make time for the gym much before, look up a PST style training program. Most of these workouts don’t require much equipment and no matter what you do you will be required to be in decent shape.  If you have your eyes set on being an officer take a ASVAB test and see where you need to focus your studies.  If you are still dedicated and self motivated enough to stick to your goals then perhaps the military is for you.  Dedication is the word of the day and despite all the bad things said about the military, a dedicated soul will make his loved ones proud when he comes out of the force decorated with all of his achievements.   The slogan starts to make sense now “Be All You Can Be”  its a promise first but more importantly a reminder.

Advice From the Competition

If you have been following the blog you will know that I am a very whimsically unemployed college graduate.  I think I represent a unique generation in America because it seems like the first time in our history where a college degree doesn’t = cash money.  It sucks, to be sure but if I know one thing it is how to lose well.  Losing is something everyone does, we lose at loose slots, we lose when we pay social security, we even lose an hour every year at daylight savings.  People tell me I get it back in six months but I don’t see any interest, I don’t see compensation for the week I pay dearly in the AM.

This model alarm clock is wifi connected to an atomic clock and has no snooze button.

The point is the numbers are against job hunters right now.  Its like that part in the The Hunger Games where the grandma with the midlife crisis is drawing names for the special kid sleepover, but instead of a grandma with a laughable wig its a business professional with a suit worth more than yours, and instead of a sleepover with swords and ninja gear its the job that will dictate how you can afford to live your life for the next few years.  No sweat.  Just take a couple shots before the interview and pop in some gum before you go in to show that you are totally cool and everything should be fine.  Oh wait, that’s for dates…

Truth is I couldn’t tell you how best to prepare for an interview or how best to set up your resume.  You have to do that yourself, and if you haven’t heard already there is no shortage of people who think they know best on this topic.  Seriously relatives, friends, people I just met, back up for a second.  When I tell you I’m looking for a job it means I’m asking you for contacts not that I wan’t your advice, its all just white noise at this point.

Rather, you should learn how to bounce back from the mistakes you made, don’t take your loss too seriously but do learn your mistakes.  In the end the ones who want the jobs more than the rest will get them.  Its a simple truth.   Indomitable, that’s what you must be.  As unyielding as a mountain, because the backbone of everything you are is reliant on your willpower to do so.



Yeah, I finally watched Into the Wild, and though I haven’t read the book and I think I might want to.  On second thought, maybe I won’t.  This is a great coming of age story about a kid who is fed up with society, or was it his parents?  Wasn’t he complaining about love too?  Okay it’s a movie about a bit of a cry baby who ran away from everything he knew in hopes of reaching some nirvana like realization.  My apologies should this reach any of the McCandless or any other friends and family of Christopher McCandless.  Truth is I see a lot of myself in Chris, but in fear of letting this post turn into a review I will stop here and get on with it.

In the movie, (I can’t speak on the actual memoir as I have not read it) he obviously displays a distaste for money and all things materialistic. I suppose its fits my demographic as a broke post-grad, but I can see how he felt that way.  It is sometimes peaceful to think of a time when we didn’t have savings accounts and stocks to watch while the nation reaches some insurmountable fiscal cliff looming over our existence as a reminder of how irresponsible we are with money.  Almost is if the cliff is taunting us saying “if your country cant manage its money what hopes do you have of ever doing so.”  Think of a time when the folds of your mattress was your bank bank account and anyone could tell you that the going price for a milk cow was just two chickens and five bales of hay, at least, as long as if you throw in your daughters hand in marriage to seal the deal.

The truth of the discussion where we say that people in simpler times had less to worry about, is that we are in fact being spoiled little pricks.  Sure they didn’t have quite as many appointments to keep track of as us but they were busy worrying about real problems like: getting enough wood to not freeze next winter, being robbed by bandits, or dying from this plague or that.  Besides, since money has been around since 2000BC is pretty much a good thing, you know things like, the wheel, and the alphabet and pet dogs.

Originally, money was a form of receipt, representing a store of food the community might share. This could be anything really; sea shells, bones, or pieces of jewelry.  The problem with this is that your currency loses all value outside of your sphere of influence.  It would be like trying to buy groceries with that holographic Charizard you saved from your Pokemon cards.  To a collector it is worth something but not to anyone outside the collector sphere.  Eventually people started digging up shiny rocks and trading them instead of those other fads like ivory beads, or Pokemon cards.

This led to coinage, where gold, silver, and copper were melted down and stamped for assurance of value.  There lies two problems with this.  First is that counter-fitting was easy as mixing gold with any old substance   Take some gold, mix it with bronze, lift the stamp, and make your own coin and -profit.  Second is that it relied on the three metals keeping the relative same price.   These days, precious metals change like Colorado weather, take a look

In response, paper money was introduced and soon you have fait money, which is what most modern countries deal with today.  Fait money is currency given value by the government who issues it.  Which is why paper money from WWII was stamped “HAWAII” so that if Japan took the islands from us we could void all the currency in Hawaii.  Think of it as insurance in case the Emperor tried to buy our supplies from us with our own money.

You have to think of Money like the tool that it is.  One to keep track of worth and to unify people by giving them something everyone want to trade with, not just Pokemon cards.  True it can be hard to scrounge up at times.  Yet like the apple seed, if you invest in it and give it the right attention you can profit from it as well.

Specialization is for Insects

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

-Robert A. Heinlein

I though about making a big to-do about this post, but the more I wrote the more I took away from the point.  It’s easy to forget the meaning of life when society demands so much of us, and so much importance is placed on ones profession, there are times when you just have to say fuck it.

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

-John Lennon

I’m gonna level with you guys, I struggle to enjoy the moment, always have.  So lets make an agreement to be well rounded and open to new things and ideas and this will not be another lame quote post.  You can go back and say, I remember that one post Mark did about being awesome, then I was and now I am.

Deal? Great!

Continuing Education

Ever come across something so totally inspiring you lose your frame of reference?  Say for example this one time I found myself in a cave of wonders and was so impressed with the riches inside that I nearly forgot to touch them would mean certain death…or was that Aladdin?

Okay so another time I came across this student reel for 3D animation and I had one of those moments.  I forgot what time it was, forgot about my phone for a an hour or so, even forgot about the water I had boiling for dinner and by the time I came back to the kitchen it had nearly boiled off and I gave up on dinner to research this new interest of mine.

The video itself was fun sure but what captured me was the credits.  Seeing how all that work was constructed and then seeing that a group of students did that in a year I was very impressed.  Now lets get something straight, I just paid handsomely to finish a 4 year degree and It’s not like I’m looking for some new school offer my money to.   In fact, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve never even thought about going back to school after getting my degree, but now I’m curious.  One thing led to another and I found myself on the 3D animation degree application page at at this so called Design Media School of New Zealand.

The requirements are as follows: a mere $30,000 for tuition, a flight to New Zealand,  and a portfolio and I’m on my way. Yadda yadda yadda, trivial costs…oh damn…I need to be able to draw.  This is when my frame of reference came back with one of those ugly sticks to beat some sense into me about the head and neck area.  It was at that point that I limped away from the computer and tried again to make some dinner but to little success.

The next day I found myself researching other schools, buying a sketch pad and looking up drawing tips on sites like this one

Turns out, even if you don’t go to the other side of the globe these graphic arts schools are big money, and the short programs assume you have had previous experience.  So after thinking things through I find that I am no more ready for art school than America is for four dollar gas prices.

You will notice that no where in my train of thought did I mention the possibility of getting a job with this education.  As a matter of fact, I for one do not think that should be among the first thing to be considered, rather one should do what makes the most happiness.

Yet,  I still learned something valuable in this ordeal.  I learned that I’m not ready to stop learning.  College isn’t for most folks, we have the whole rest of our lives left and the only garentee is that we will forget more of the things we already know.

So begins my journey. Art school may not be for me, but somewhere there is a place for me and I am determined to find it. So with that I dedicate this blog to finding the job, education, or whatever it is that makes me stronger, in hopes that what I find is also useful to you, the reader.

-Mark Ehler