Career Advice For The Rare Bird

I rather spontaneously wrote the last post out of a sense of complete desperation regarding what useful info—if any—this website could possibly impart. Here is another attempt.

You might notice that I sometimes use italics for emphasis. This was first pointed out by an editor at a media concern who wanted to emphasize what an absolutely shitty & inadequate writer I was, in the hopes that continuing to emphasize this would lead to me quitting on my own from the sheer misery of the daily abuse. I explained to her that my use of italics was probably a subconscious carryover from working in comic books, which uses that formatting style for emphasis.

Ironically, my posts ended up being quite successful for that particular media concern, but I had used the words “subconscious” and “comic books” as a part of regular work conversation, so I was doomed at the organization anyway. I just didn’t quite fit the “company culture.”

I can tell you after 25 years of experience that if your work is stellar but you don’t fit the company culture, you’re fucked. Absolutely fucked.

Further: life is relatively short, so if you are at an organization that doesn’t value your contribution please don’t hold out thinking that one day it will magically happen & that Management will “wake up.” If you don’t fit the company culture, it’s very likely that you are fucked.

Now, the “company culture” of course varies from organization to organization. And you probably won’t be told the actual nature of said culture in the first or second interviews, as well as in the new employee orientation seminar. And this is because the Management likely has no tangible words to describe said actual company culture; it would be like biting their own teeth, or tasting their own tongue.

But within the second or third week of your employment you will begin to get a good sense of the true company culture, and whether you fit in with that particular schema. And in the event that you find to your relative horror that you do not fit in, you really have one of two choices:

1) Cut your losses and quit; returning to the job search from whence you came with your resume timeline relatively unscathed.

2) Hang in for miserable months and months and perhaps even years (but probably a good 8-10 months in the most likely scenario) of uncertainty, self-hatred, and a string of false hopes stirred then shattered.

In any event, you do not want to spend 40+ hours a week in or around an environment that just doesn’t vibe with your essential being, because it will corrode your soul. “But Val,” you may respond, “I’m kind of a rara avis. It doesn’t seem easy for me to fit in anywhere! What do I do for gainful employment?”

My advice is as follows:

  • Don’t bother to attempt to “change” your essential self.
  • That said, certainly you want to observe certain social mores and customs to be polite & helpful in a work situation. And if you don’t currently observe said mores, it’s probably best to do so, learn more about them, etc.
  • That said: don’t bother to attempt to change your essential Self.
  • Consider being freelance, self-employed, or specializing in such a specialized rarified type of work that most people don’t know how to do it & thus are forced to depend on the services of such a rara avis as yourself.
  • Once in a blue moon, you will actually find a full-time work environment where you are wholeheartedly accepted for your true self. It does happen; though if you are a rara avis, not super-often. Those are special situations—very karmic/fated—and you’ll know when you’re in them. Don’t take them for granted.


Again, I must emphasize: do not attempt to change your Essential Self. This advice may be complicated by the possibility that you truly don’t know who your Essential Self really is. Rather: deep down, in your gut, you know who you really are. But the conscious side of you—the Ego—may have to rediscover/recognize it. And that may take time.

But the reason you are on this planet, in this lifetime, is to be YOU. Is to live your unique Self. And most people…I’m not saying they won’t do that, but it’s likely they’ll do a half-assed job at best because they either don’t know who they are or are consciously repressing it to “fit in.”

And I’m certainly no genius in fully living out my entire Essential Self: but I do know to my bones that it is very important to do so.


If you let it, this World (mainstream world) will really teach you to hate yourself.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to not let that happen.

Thank you for reading, and have a good day.

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