How to (Not) Fake It Til You Make It

fake it til you make it mustache

Fake it til you make is a horribly outdated cliché. Also, the phrase is factually wrong. It’s the worst advice to give anyone. Let me tell you a story…

Fake It Til You Make It – Naive Youth

Years ago, when I first graduated from graphic design school, I couldn’t wait to get started. I was young and overeager. Any opportunity, whether free or paid, I took.

My hope was to build a portfolio, but what I actually built was a mess.

Fake Portfolio Equals No Jobs

I couldn’t get hired. At a variety of different companies, I did a lot of different jobs to make ends meet.

In the meantime, I pounded the pavement, applied for any job I could find, and gave my CV to, well, everyone.

Getting callbacks was rare. No one took me seriously.

Desperate Times

With my fine art portfolio on hand, I went to establishments in person and said, I heard you buy art from local artists. May I show you my portfolio? (Which I did hear from other artist friends, so it’s not like I made cold calls).

Most of the time, I’d get a polite no, and someone would tell me they don’t buy art.

Once in a while, I’d get lucky and sell a piece right then and there.

Sometimes, I was told to come back later and talk to a different person, and when I did, I’d often get a polite no.

No regrets, though. I made ends meet and kept pounding the pavement.

Exciting Interview

I received a callback for one of my applications. It was a junior graphic design position at a very cool company, located in an awesome area. I was so freaking excited.

I met one of the managers for the interview. My excitement turned into extreme nervousness. I didn’t mean to, but I played the interview much too cute.

The manager mocked me to my face. I was humiliated.

Yes, the interviewer was an asshole and I wouldn’t want to work for a company that employs assholes. Regardless, I made sure to never make that mistake again.

Back to Pounding the Pavement

I continued working odd jobs and selling art pieces for cash. I paid my rent, ate, and kept going.

One day, I got a callback for a small position at a local publishing company. By this time, I was tired and just going through the motions.

The interview was really nice. Casual. Shooting the shit with a project manager. She asked me, what’s your greatest weakness?

Without thought, I said, my impatience. I focus on efficiency, so, I never try my patience.

The next day, I was hired for my first regular office job.

The Secret to Fake It Til You Make it

It took me a year of hard work and a lot of disappointments to figure out the secret.

When I got a no, I smiled, said thank you, and walked away.

And that is faking til you make it.

Do you have a story of your own? Let me know here.

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