My First Failure

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Listen up, biz-homies. We all fail constantly.

I personally fail at 9.8m/s squared.

That is just the physics of failure.

Even more disturbing: if you are reading this, you are reading the words of someone who is still failing. I have no hope to give you other than you are not alone. Let me break it down for you: the only thing I was ever great at was mediocre art and mediocre sarcasm. Both pissed people off. What did I do? I rolled my eyes because I have the ego of a turtle on a motorcycle.

Lo and behold, I fell of my high, mechanical horse shortly after graduating but that is a different story…

…no it isn’t. 

Basically, I graduated as Cum Laude. I succeeded. Then, tragedy struck. I opened my diploma and hell unleashed. What was I thinking? I got a Fine Arts degree from a chum bucket program and although I mastered my senior thesis, nobody wanted to hire an artist over an actual graphic designer with an actual graphic design degree. I do not blame them. Why would they pick pleather over leather?

I will not even blame anyone but myself for my failures. This is just a story of how ego destroyed my life.

So, I graduated.

Even though I have five graphic design internships (three years total experience) under my belt, I’m still not good enough.

Maybe you’re asking, “Surely something was?”


I ask myself the same question many times. What happened?

Let me tell you:

In a small town about 70 miles south of where I reside, I picked up a job in a small magazine company that had been around for forty years. Providing job stability, a challenge, and what seemed to be a dynamic work environment I was thrilled to take the position.

Then they interviewed me in a Starbucks…I should have known right then and there they had something to hide.

Upon my first day at work, I took notice of the office and its employees.

There was one part-time worker who sometimes did her job and a traveling sales woman with a nasty chip on her shoulder. The CEO had recently inherited the company from her father and had better things to do in a city roughly 250 miles away—I didn’t see much of her in the office.

Speaking of the office: the smell was one thing, but the holes in the wall, flickering fluorescent lights and piss stains (possibly blood stains) on the carpet were alarming. Apparently they had just moved and wanted me to know they were going to make it nicer.


They had no plans of such a thing. However, like any well-minded millennial, I was grateful to have a job. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad driving 70 miles to sit in a shrunken closet on my own.


Maude (a pseudo-name) was the crankiest, most negative and stagnant person I have ever met. She would walk into the office between appointments, take notice of my presence, and sigh angrily without saying a word. Naturally, I offered a cheery, “Hello!” only to have angsty, middle-aged silence in return.

Soon I began to realize she was a terrible sales woman.

…the only sales woman.

I quit after three months, they went under three months later.

At least I can credit myself with intuition.

First, I knew there was no way someone as abrasive and stale could maintain clientele for four magazines by herself. Second, nobody moves to an office that icky unless they had to due to finances. Lastly, CEO’s of a family business typically take part in the business especially when they’re one of four people in the entire company: they don’t live nearly 300 miles away with the occasional check-in.

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