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The Power of Influence, Inspiration and Desperation: The Story Behind "Got Work?"

I could not longer avoid the inevitable. I was a science geek--still am of sorts--but would have to lay my scientific passions aside for the arts. After cracks in mathematics began to show when I hit trigonometric functions, I knew being an Astronomer or Astronaut was off the table. I had fantasies of marrying the two by writing science fiction (or, as they call it in literary circles, "speculative fiction").

Then I heard an interview with Greg Bear, a successful sci-fi writer, saying "I wanted to be an Astronomer, but then I hit Calculus." I thought, "The guy's telling my story!" With the cloud of a lack of a degree hanging over me, I bit the bullet and enrolled in San Francisco State University's Creative Writing program; the same program that produced Anne Rice and Frances Mays among others.

All I could think was, "What if no one likes my writing? What will I do to pay the bills?" Especially when writing (or the arts in general) is where my natural aptitudes lie? While looking at the curriculum that awaited me, I noticed the "Careers this major is good for" list. I needed a career tthat allowed me to be creative as possible. The entry, "Advertising" left me thinking, "I could see myself doing that. It's creative in ways beyond writing!" (I've also had a gift for art and music.)

Graduating in the depths of the recession, and jobless, I came upon a documentary about the history of advertising. It further inspired me to work in the field. The film focused on some of the most successful campaigns and ad agencies behind them. I had already explored openings at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners; the same people responsible for the "Budweiser Frogs" and the "Got Milk" promotions.

The GS&P site suggested submitting a video saying why I'd be a good fit. However, after finding that the real prerequesite was to know people in the field, I knew what I really needed was a job--any job. This college graduate couldn't even get in at Starbucks or McDonalds! I felt like that Aaron Burr fanatic desperate for milk. Visions of me plunked down on a sidewalk in downtown San Francisco, wearing a suit and tie with a tiny homemade sandwich board reading "Got Work?"

Thus, influence, inspiration, and desperation yielded what I call my "Cyber Vocational Message in a Bottle" hoping that tossing my little desperate message on the seas of cyber space would result in some--or any--job oportunity.

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