Tag Archives: hustle

Today’s Word is… GRIND

Rise and grind. Work 25/8 nah mean. I’ll sleep when I die. We have a weird belief that insomnia is the key to success. If you up at 2am “grinding” that’s not hustling, that’s poor time management. TheNeighborsSoiree doesn’t sleep but you know who does, his boss Drake. Who has a GED. So he’s factually correct. People with GEDs do sleep, while you’re up making songs that will be just be taken from you if they’re worth a damn. Countless studies emphasize the importance of sleep but it seems like we still can’t disabuse ourselves of the idea that if you aren’t worn out you aren’t trying. No matter how many generic self help quotes Will Smith gives on Instagram based off fictitious conversations because he’s Will Smith and he’s not actually talking to aspiring actors and the poor. The Rock loves telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps as if he isn’t a 3rd generation professional wrestler. Diddy is good for a don’t stop working quote but when was the last time he was up all night doing anything he didn’t want to do? That’s not shade to them, there was a time when they did have to grind. It was also 20+ years ago. They have no idea what it’s like to be in the 99% in the 99 and 2018. People aren’t struggling because of a lack of discipline. “We all have the same 24 hours” sounds good but an 8 hour workday, 8 hours of sleep, and the other 8 are spent trying to get to one or the other.

But I guess I’m a cynic in that regard…some people get their motivation from that, I don’t. Capitalism gon capitalism, in order to win there has to be losers. Everyone can’t be a boss, someone has to work. Everyone can’t be an entrepreneur, someone has to buy. To excel in a capitalist society, you have to crush competitors, you have underpay your workforce… there’s no honest way to a billion dollars. (I don’t know exactly what Oprah did but I’m certain someone somewhere got screwed) That’s how the game works. How the game also works is selling you the idea that if you work hard enough then you can be the one on top. Then when someone asks you how to get there, tell them to work hard, stay focused and never give up.

Whether it’s career advice, diet, dating, skin care… The end result is always gonna be do what works for you and pray. That’s the only advice they can give, everyone is different, every situation is different and a lot of the shit is luck. There’s someone who thinks he’s the next LeBron in a gym right now, working on his game, grinding, no sleep….and he’s probably going to end up a high school gym teacher. It’s nothing wrong with his work ethic, he didn’t take shortcuts, he believed in himself but everyone can’t be LeBron. For every drug addled mumble rapper who managed to find success without much talent, there’s thousands of more people on Soundcloud who quit their job, got a face tattoo, betting on themselves trying to make this happen and it won’t.

Then there’s me, damn near 30 still not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up. Presently, I have a good job at a good company. Got a good start on my retirement…I can spend the next 25-30 years making upward and lateral moves, make good money but there’s no path to CEO. I can become a CPA, go into business for myself, grind mode and maybe I hit for a lick, or maybe I never get clients working out of a home office and do tax returns to keep the lights on. I can get laid off and write full time, pitch and grind my way to a book deal and a TV show and a production studio. (I actually started SFW when I was laid off 5 years ago, but unemployment checks will humble you. Quickly.) All of this is possible and none of it is. I guess it’s why we bother with this life shit. Either way, there’s gotta be a way to go about this that doesn’t involve working yourself to death or just dream chasing recklessly. Take your ass to work, but take time to cultivate other talents…and never tattoo your fucking face.



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Today’s Word is… NETWORK

I accompany “coworker” to a mixer, the atmosphere is light, slightly upscale,  free food and wine.  In almost an instant she is lost amongst the crowd, I don’t know any one here but wine makes me talkative anyway.  I mingle amongst folks and for every flirting not flirting interaction and inquiry about me and “coworker’s” status, there was pitch after pitch.  There were even women I thought was hitting on me and boom right into the pitch.  Some were interesting and we exchanged information, others sounded as sketchy as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.  I couldn’t help but feel somewhat out of place, one contrary to my flyness I’m a dollarnaire to the core, two because I still don’t have a hustle.  Networking in general is still uncharted territory for me, I always had jobs (security, shipping, IT, bookkeeping) where I pretty much came did my job and went home.  When I worked in positions like sales and retail, I never did well because I always felt like I was bothering. Essentially I look at things as if it were me, I go into stores pretty much knowing what I want, I don’t want your credit card, I don’t want the more expensive version, I want to get in get out and get going.  At the mixer, despite there being loads of opportunity I found myself pretty much an open ear/arm candy.  I got to do better.

A few weeks into 2013, I’ve found my first resolution; grow, build and evolve my network.  When I think about it, my network now is pretty underrated. I don’t think about it much because I’m typically to myself but on a good day I see about a half dozen people I know; whether its a former colleague, ex, friend of a friend, couple that with a modest online presence I have a bit to work with.  Networking itself is the challenge, I have to get over the idea that I’m saying something worth listening to, or rather actually have something worth listening to.  This is essentially why I prefer writing, you say what you feel and it’s out there, people can choose to read it or not, but the pressure of making it worth their time is alleviated.   At the mixer, I tried to act interested even when I wasn’t, sometimes I was good at it, other times my poker face failed and I can see the defeat growing in their eyes.  Perhaps that was the INFJ in me, wanting to be that one lead they could go home and feel good about, even when I inevitably block their email.

They say the key to networking is to actually be passionate about what you’re talking about.  Perhaps that’s the missing piece.  When people ask about my job, I more or less answer it like it’s a question in school.  I like my job, but it’s not necessarily my passion, it pays my bills.  The other is simply being in ones comfort zone.  For example, I was talking to one woman in particular, she was gorgeous so she probably could’ve talked to me about Love and Hip Hop and had my undivided but actually we both clicked on the overall blahness of the venue.  I tossed out how I would love to open a bar/lounge in the neighborhood, perhaps one where a young professional of color would not stick out like a sore thumb (there were like 12 of us in a place of at least 100, we counted).  The pretty networker was an event planner, she went on and on about how she would’ve did things differently, how she might throw a similar event on her own.  “Coworker”, a little jealous, ended our meeting and echoed a sentiment “Miss” had told me before, that I had no problem talking to anyone as long as she was female, and that I needed to branch out more and get out of my comfort zone.

It wasn’t true of the 4 people I exchanged information with, she was the only female. Aside from that her theory flawed, considering it was meeting her that got me to the event which got me a few new contacts, but I just left it alone.  Not to her liking but I expanded my network, 4 people knew me that didn’t prior.  The issue now is the next step, I’m not sure how to make the relationships mutually beneficial.  Networking is more or less give and take and I’m not sure what I’m giving, or even taking, at least not yet.  For perhaps my first networking event (well not really i’ve been to others), I came away with some contacts, a couple hundred calories of wine, and an increasingly awkward relationship with a coworker.  Not bad at all.




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Today’s Word is… HUSTLE

That awkward moment when you google “hustler” for a main image for this post and you forgot all about Hustler magazine.  That awkwarder moment when you make a random cameo on Facebook and are bombarded with FB chats.  One from a friend with a Gucci watch for sale, I don’t even wanna know how he got it, another asking me to check out his music on Youtube, and another from an old colleague asking me to check out his site.  I was only on to steal one of my father’s old army photos for a Veteran’s Day post.  Sheesh.  It seems everyone has some kind of side hustle these days, except me.  I had a big hustler spirit myself at one point, although I never cared to sell drugs the risk and profit didn’t seem worth it.  Instead I developed a network of side hustles in addition to a part time job to keep me afloat.  I sold bootleg CDs , my artwork, had 3 blogs, ghostwrote homework, ran a ghetto depository and repaired electronics.   These days, I’m still a jack of all trades but still master of none, I just can’t seem to take a leap on anything. Now I look back and wonder where did that spirit go?  Have I lost my sense of wonder? Am I a realist or just someone who’s scared to dream?

My first issue is I never put myself out there.  Perhaps I’m too humble.  I was the one the slyly slid my 100% tests in my bag as my friends all talked about how bad they did.  Most of my talents are hidden unless you really know me, or you’re one of those dates that asks “tell me something I don’t know about you” and I have nothing to say so then I’ll talk about my brief freelance art career or that I write.  Or maybe I’m too self conscious. I rarely let people in on my plans until they’re done, that way no one can know if I failed or not.  I don’t want to be asked about that girl I was seeing, or wasn’t you trying to lose weight or how’s the new job search going.  More dreams fail than succeed, I rather you not know I was even trying than know I failed.  <insert quote about failing vs not trying> yeah yeah whatever.

I also lack focus.  There’s so much I want to do I end up doing nothing. When I was a kid I dreamed of being a writer or a cartoonist or  creating my own animated cartoon which was like the equivalent of both my dreams having a baby. My mother knew I was going to be an engineer. My teachers foresaw politics.  My father envisioned my designing video games. The hood had me down for lawyer. I ended up in finance.  I love to write but I can’t see it becoming my career,  I dropped engineering as my major on my 3rd day, awkward teen years killed the charisma I had as a kid, video games are a lot harder than they look and I never had any real interest in law, they just wanted me to be a black Maurice Levy.   Sure I can attend Devry University, write a book, get rich, go to law school, then run for office and make my children fulfill their grandmother’s prophecy but the odds of that is slim. People barely buy books anymore.  Maybe a graphic novel, but I suck at drawing the same thing over and over, they’ll stop looking alike by halfway through, okay I’m rambling…point is I need to find a hustle and stick with it.

I’m young, ambitious and no mouths to feed but my own, so I’m still playing with house money.  I’m sure eventually I’ll develop something I’m passionate enough about that I’d overcome humility and doubt and just go for it. Maybe I’m just waiting for that tag team partner or for the perfect opportunity to fall in my lap *crosses fingers*.  Until then, my plan to take over the world remains under wraps.  *evil handrubs*


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