Last year, I caught hell for wearing shorts while speaking at a conference. Some of the attendees felt that I couldn’t be taken seriously because I wasn’t wearing the preferred garb of “those who are to be believed” — e.g., a blazer and khakis.
To them, I said (and still say) this: thank you, and please don’t hire me. Because working for you would be an exercise in banging my head against the wall of your outdated ideas about propriety, and I’m not interested in that. I’d rather work with someone who cares about the things I think matter, while I’m sure you’d rather hire someone who cares about the things you think matter.
In short, we’re not compatible, so let’s not waste each others’ time.
This week, a similar thing happened on the national stage — and, as always, the upstarts are the ones having to defend their ideals from the dinosaurs.
A few days ago, the “Bump a Smoke” app went viral (read: Gawker wrote about it), after which tobacco giant Philip Morris clarified that the Marlboro-themed app was not theirs. This flushed out the fake app’s actual creators, a pair of students at Miami Ad School Brooklyn named Jennine Punzone and Manasvi Abrol, who responded to Philip Morris‘s disregard for their portfolio project with barbed sarcasm.
This is when the story gets amusing to me.
Because this is when commenters on the story start calling Punzone and Abrol “immature,” and claiming that they’d never hire them, simply because they had the temerity to speak back to their betters — which, in this case, is big tobacco.
Let’s be clear: when your portfolio project gets mistaken for a branded promotion by a media powerhouse, you’re already worth hiring.
And when your response to that brand’s dismissal is worded to generate maximum additional buzz and attention on your own work and personality, you’ve just exhibited more entrepreneurial instinct and PR mastery than the spineless drones who live in fear of their clients could ever invent on their own.
In fact, what Punzone and Abrol have done here is served notice to potential employers (and clients) who don’t share their perspective that these dinosaurs shouldn’t waste their time with interviews that are sure to go nowhere and jobs that are guaranteed to suck the joy out of the creative experience they obviously love.
And this, ultimately, is why you should never worry about your reputation.
Haters Gon’ Hate
No matter what you say or do, you will always find people who:
- don’t care
None of this prevents you from having a career, friends, family and a fulfilling life. It just helps you determine who you’re more likely to find that fulfillment with.
Yesterday, I watched King of Kong, a documentary that depicts one of the world’s greatest Donkey Kong players as a self-deluded and scheming egomaniac. Does this mean he lives alone in a hole? On the contrary; he’s one of the most revered arcade gamers of all-time, mostly because the people he surrounds himself with have even lower self-esteem than he does. Thus, by default, he’s become their god.
Worrying about whether or not people like you is a waste of time. If you’re espousing other people’s values and not your own, simply because you want to seem like someone you’re not, you’re preventing yourself from finding the people (and the work) you’d rather be doing in the first place.
Philip Morris doesn’t want the Bump a Smoke app? Fair enough.
But not hiring Punzone and Abrol because they’re “immature”?
Thank you. Because they deserve better.