On Leaving: Austin & The Millennial Job Hunt

Audio Version: For the lazy
You’re damn right,

There I was. After an obtuse 9 and a half hours, I had arrived in the city I’d eventually come to call home. Belongings had become too cumbersome. Countless video games lined all the walls of my previous loft apartment — a 1300 square foot piece of paradise. I’d spent the last 6 months living with my ex-girlfriend. We dated for 3 months in the 8th grade, so it wasn’t the classical sort of weird. Really she couldn’t even be considered an ex, as I held neither feelings or animosity or relentless lust towards her. In fact, she made me feel nothing. Perhaps, empathy — but nothing outside of the bubble of platonic’s I had grown accustomed to throughout the ongoing process of my hormones going to absolute shit. She was in the grad program for pharmaceutical law and a genius in all things chemistry. While there was no shortage of kitchen made recreational experiments, the pharmaceutical law push came after a private discussion with a professor:

“There’s no money in making the drugs, the money is in taking some sonofabitch to court for actually trying to cure something.”

You’re damn right, that patent belongs to a drug company and you’ll either pay what we’re asking or I’ll see your ass in court.

. . .

Things were easy. Too easy. I was working a cushy advertising job for a small town agency, where the living costs were dirt and the workload was slim. Despite the shortcomings associated with being one of two 20 somethings (the other onebeing my roommate) in a city of 36,000. The town’s condition had made me a devout believer of biblical prophecy. A fervor left me convinced that his town had experienced the rapture. The benevolent LORD above had redeemed the innocent and left only the guilty — 50+ baptists and geriatrics. I lived above a Cajun cafe’, one of the few highlights of the city, which only happened to be open for lunch and the occasional Friday evening dinner. The food was a delight and being friends with the owners (who also rented me the loft) had its perks. On Friday nights, if one too many steaks had been thrown over the grill, I was called down to aid in the noble task of ensuring this steak was not wastefully cast out to the rats which called the dumpster out back their sanctuary.

. . .

Writing? No one’s truly mad enough to think that’s a good idea.

Work was fun. It was important that each day was spent with equal attention to arguing about design, internet culture, and the news. I managed to also squeeze in career development while directing art and pushing design. I left the copywriting to various interns or short-term hires — a task which I found monotonous. Copy was just a means to an end. The filling in my delectable design pie. Good copy could enrich the flavor, but the crust was typically good enough for the locale, so we could overlook the innards and cut costs. I hadn’t thrown myself into madness at this point and had success staving off the genetic writing bug that my bloodline is consumed by. Writing? No one’s truly mad enough to think that’s a good idea. A complete waste and only pursued by those with delusions of grandeur or a trust fund. I had neither, and only managed to opt for a Journalism minor. I dropped my double major and went for the BFA in design. Companies would always need commercial art and videos, but the world would eventually need exactly 0 journalists. It could have been the 6 years of school that finally drove me to just graduate, but I have no regrets and why should I? I went from Theater to Art to English back to Graphic Design. The stint in English was a pipe dream, I thought I could teach and write fiction, but dropped out 3 weeks in and never looked back. I just happened to take enough classes for the Mass Comm minor, and I’m sure my respectable public university is grateful for the additional tuition payments my half-hearted attempts at diversification brought.

. . .

My evenings were spent playing various video entertainment. I had it down. The first four hours after work, was time for escapism. I played an MMORPG, which is an acronym for “Massive Waste of Time.” I’d wasted hundreds of days of my life in digital delights and at this point, still found pleasure in it. My experiences in MMORPG land were distracting. Seeing the lack of peers in my age group in town, I found friends online and learned how to coup guild leaders and become a cult leader. I made friends and made enemies, but looking back, I wasted a lot of hard effort being someone I’m not and taking personally ephemeral situations that had little to no bearing on reality. After gaming, I’d make the gruesome 15 steps to the living room and summon my roommate. She and I would seek insights from a kitchen concoction of herbal remedies and marathon episodes of MXE. Most Extreme Elimination Challenge changed my outlook on life. But as we neared the final episodes, I knew I couldn’t remain in this stagnant city.

. . .

I approached my mentor and boss with a plan. I was going to go to Austin. I was finally convinced after reading several well-written features from renowned media outlets. These articles had titles like: Ten Reasons You Should Move to Austin and Why The Hell Aren’t You Here?and also If You Don’t Move, You’ll Die Alone. Everyone was doing it. It had technology and advertising and if we wanted to grow, Austin is where we wanted to be. It was clearly destiny. Turns out that in a city of 200+ advertising agencies and hundreds more marketing and web firms- it’s hard to break into the market. We didn’t know that though and my boss was willing to commit. I took inventory of my games and other useless shit. If I’m making this move, I’m downsizing. Everything has to fit into a 15 passenger van. Years of frivolous spending offloaded for less than a grand. A video game collection which I cherished — gone to some kid on Craigslist, who likely had the lofty goal of becoming a YouTube star.

My dad came down on the night before the move. My dad, roommate and I watched one last episode of MXE before retiring to bed. A fitting end to that chapter of my life. The next morning we would set off on that 9.5 hour road trip of personal reflection and self-discovery.

 . . .


Also published on Medium.


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