Copyright Conversation

To round out this week chock full of discussion posts, and because my girl Linda expressed interest in wanting to know more, I want to talk a bit about copyright laws and how they differ from trademarks which I discussed yesterday.

To start, this is the copyright symbol:

©

We’ve all seen it and some of us even use it for some of the content we posts in our blogs. The official definition as defined by the United States Government is as follows:

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

So, what does this mean? It means that if you create an original work, whether it’s published or not, it’s still copyrighted. This applies to poetry, music, books, songs, software, movies… the list goes on. The term you’re most likely familiar with is called intellectual property and means it is protected under law. Now, the list of things that are able to be copyrighted are pretty much a form of art right; as in it’s some form of artistic expression. For example, all 300+ of my blog posts are my forms of artistic expression right? So that means all my stuff is automatically copyrighted right?

If you answered right, you’d be wrong. Sorry to break it to you but copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, theories, symbols, phrases, facts and other similar things along those lines. This means that even though I typed up some pretty cool life stories or suggested some ideas on my blog, I can’t claim official copyright and if someone decided to copy pasta my post and call it their own, there’s nothing I can do about it besides ask them nicely to take it down and hope for the best. Domain names are not even protected under copyright law so all our WordPress names we so cleverly came up? Not covered even though they are original.

Now, I know what you’re thinking here. Did I not just say original authorship works whether published or unpublished are automatically copyrighted? Well, yes I did but a post published on a website is considered an original idea, not an original work even if its stories or a logo design you made, it can be duplicated on someone else’s website without consequences. Logo designs actually can be protected but that falls under trademark territory as does words and phrases but it’s a process to get that certificate; as mentioned in the previous post. Copyright law can’t help with that.

However, there is a bit of a silver lining where copyright on websites are concerned. If you post a lot of photos or a compilation of serials, you can file to have the page on which these appear on copyrighted. But remember, even if you just use the symbol and someone comes along and steals your work, you can fight them if and only if you file for a copyright certificate or have already obtained one. Otherwise, you’re a bit SOL to put it simply.

When a copyright is filed, the information becomes public record. It also means the hard copy you sent becomes the property of the United States Government. They do not give it back so if you want to file for copyright, make sure it’s your best version. This also means that you filed the application, paid the fee, it was approved, you got your certificate and the whole country knows that that piece of art belongs to you. If someone would like to use it or reference it in their own piece of expression, they have to get permission to do so and once a copyright is public record, so is information like your name, phone number and address which makes it easy for an individual to try and get said permission. You can file for a copyright under a pseudonym and use a different address such as a post office box if you don’t want your personal details out in the world. This is what a lot of authors do when they copyright their books.

So remember when you see the little © symbol in a book, it only applies to the content on the inside. The book cover, title and logo are not copyrighted. Those fall under trademark laws. In the case of the cockygate author, her content is most likely copyrighted but her cover art, the title and logos of her book are not. She filed for a trademark for the word “cocky” and, as I said in yesterday’s post, you can trademark a word or phrase while your application is pending using the  symbol but it’s not official until you get a certificate of registration in the mail showing the ® symbol.

Generally, anyone can file for a trademark or a copyright but remember, this is not an automatic approval process. You really need to show sound reasoning or, in the case of copyrights, physical copies of your work in order to get even a sliver of consideration.  My mother sees trademark applications come across her desk everyday and she said it can take literal years to get a trademark whereas hard copies of original works are a bit easier to wade through. And yes, to reiterate again, words in the dictionary can be trademarked to a certain extent (example: apple is trademarked) but you’d have to be really convincing to get approved.

Isn’t the law just a boat load of fun?

I hope you all enjoyed all the educational posts this week. Hope it wasn’t too much of an overload and hey! tomorrow we get to see some fun stuff cause it’s TGIF or Facebook Friday around these parts and I’ve got at least one share guaranteed to make you laugh.

What do you think about copyright law? Does it make you want to copyright some of your own works? Let me know in the comments below!

(Source: CopyrightGov)

Common Trademarked Words

Since I got such an overwhelming response to my post yesterday (THANK YOU!) I thought I’d do a follow up post on what it means to trademark something and share common, every day words/items that you probably didn’t know are trademarked.

I was explaining the author story to my mom and she actually gave me a bit of insight in how the process works. A trademark is basically a brand on a product created by an individual or they’re using it in a different way that it won’t effect the original defintion of a word. For example, Kit Kat is a trademark with Hershey as it’s a popular chocolate candy. However, Google was able to use Kit Kat as a trademark as well because for them it had a secondary meaning not related to chocolate candy when they decided to name their OS (operating system) after it. It’s probably a given that they got permission to do so from Hershey as well.

**EDIT** Thanks to a comment made by fellow blogger Shalini I felt I should add to this post. She asked if words in the dictionary can be trademarked. The short answer is yes but again it goes back to how the word is being used. The best example is the world “apple”. In the dictionary, an apple is a round red fruit…. etc. However, the company that mass produces your Iphones has trademarked the word Apple (with a capital) and this is allowed because it does not infringe upon the original meaning of the word. ****

The cost of a trademark usually varies by state and can be anywhere between $100-$200 dollars. If your application to register a trademark gets approved then you are able to use your trademark in that state and sue anyone who uses it without express permission. Now if you want your trademark to be national, it’ll cost a bit more; up to $400 and you have to renew it every ten years for it to be valid. Even if you have a registered trademark, depending on the changing of the seasons, i.e. culture and society changes, if your trademark becomes something that is a commonly used saying or reference, it is possible for a party to fight you on said trademark on the grounds that it’s more generic now than it was before. It all depends really.

There are two main symbols used to indicate a trademark:

  • means that a trademark has been filed but it’s not registered yet. An application has been filed or will be filed.
  • ® means that a trademark application has been filed and accepted and you received a certificate of registration.

There’s also the © but that has to do with copyright and is something I can get into in a different post if you all are interested.

Anyway, here are some examples of common words that are currently trademarked that we use all the time and the generic terms a different party has to use if they produce the same product:

  • BandAid is registered by Johnson & Johnson Company. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar is self-adhesive bandage
  • Bubble Wrap is registered by Sealed Air Corporation. The generic phrase you can  use to describe something similar is packing material
  • Crock-Pot is registered by Sun-Beam Products. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar is slow cooker
  • Google is registered by Google, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe something similar (even though we say Google it all the time) is search engine.
    • As an aside here, if you ever watch a movie and see them using a search engine that looks like YouTube or Google but is named something else, this is why.
  • Super Hero (two words) is registered by DC Comics Partnership and Marvel Characters, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe a hero not in these worlds is superhero (one word)
    • As you can see, two companies can register the same word but because the characters are in two different universes that will never overlap, it’s allowed.
  • Popsicle is registered by Conopco, Inc. The generic phrase you can use to describe a similar frozen treat is ice pop

So these are just a few examples. I could go on cause there are a ton and it can even get into commonly used conversational phrases as well but maybe I will save that for another post. I hope you all enjoyed this post and feel free to ask questions or share trademark examples you know of in the comments below.

(Source: RD)

You Know..

This is going to be a little bit of a rant post but here we go.

I want to start by saying I do not condone bullying in any form. In fact, I’ll be the first person to step in and defend the bullied party and/or break up whatever it is I’m witnessing that I don’t like. I wasn’t always this way. I was a really shy person in my past life but my skin is as thick as an elephant’s now and I will be a person’s person (to steal from Grey’s Anatomy) whether we’ve been friends for a a day or 20 years. It’s just the type of person that I am.

Recently on Twitter there has been a storm amongst authors in the romance world. The hashtag has been #cockygate and it’s talking about one specific author who did something that, well, is a pretty shitty thing to do. Basically the story goes, this author decided to publish a book series with the word Cocky in the title because the last name of the brothers she describes in her books is Cocker. One day, I guess, she woke up and decided that she wasn’t making enough money because her books weren’t top in the search results for other authors’ work with Cocky in the title so it was hindering her ability to make money. Her solution? To file for a trademark on the word “cocky” and the font she used (a font she did not create btw), in order to stop authors from using the word.

Now, you’d think she’d stop right there. I mean that alone is outrageous considering she did not create the word and many have been using said word for many years before she was a blip on the author radar. No, she took it a step further. She proceeded to send emails out to authors who had the word “cocky” in their titles and told them to “cease and desist” using the word from this point forward and to change the title of all their books, past and present or she would sue them. If they did not comply, well, sucks to be them because her lawyer supposedly assured her that she would get all their royalties from any books they sell using her “trademarked” word and she’d create a firestorm on Amazon for them.

Now, going back to what I said in the beginning. I do not condone any form of bullying. I really don’t. But you have to ask yourself, especially in a situation like this, what did you think was going to happen? Did you honestly think all these authors would just bend over backwards spending tons of money to change what has already been made and apologize for using the word that wasn’t trademarked previously? I mean honestly, I wonder if people really think through the consequences of their actions before they do stuff. She’s now complaining that she’s being bullied by the Twitter world because people are leaving one star reviews on her book among other things; basically ruining her reputation.

In a case like this, I honestly cannot sympathize with the woman. She went about this the complete wrong way. Authors strive so hard to support each other. I mean it takes time to create and make the most perfect form of a book, it takes courage and confidence to release it to the world and it takes strength to accept that not everyone is going to 100% love your book and handle negative criticism with grace. If she needed a boost in book promotion, I feel like all she had to do was reach out and ask the community to help her and she probably would have received it in droves. Instead she did some slap in the face underhanded nonsense and then proceeded to threaten the ones in the hardworking community.

At the end of the day, I honestly hope she learned some kind of lesson here because this will most definitely hurt her career. I also hope she’s not getting super harrassed because the message is pretty loud and clear from a lowly reader. It doesn’t need to be pounded into her to death.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.  Have you all ever heard of a situation such as this and thought as much as you want to sympathize with a person, there’s that 95% of you that just can’t? Let me know in the comments below!

Balance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in my world about jobs and what people sign up for when they take on a job. For example, I heard a story on the radio this morning about special needs teachers and their preparedness for anything that could possibly happen while teaching the students. I won’t get into the super details but the story involved a teacher who I believed grossly overreacted to a situation she encountered with an autistic student. It got me thinking about my own experiences with jobs I’ve had and jobs my friends have had and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter today.

With everything there are positives and there are negatives. I believe the way in which we handle these occurrences head on is what makes us either better or worse individuals. I’m sure anyone would love to live in a world where ignorance is bliss. In fact the entirety of that quote is “ignorance is bliss; knowledge is misery”. It’s usually equated to a child vs. a grown up. As children (hopefully) we live in this blissful world where nothing affects us much except for the next time we get to play our favorite game or go outside or hang out with our cousins. We aren’t thinking about the real world. Then there’s that point in life where you have to deal with those facts because it either creeps up on you too soon or it’s around the corner waiting to creep up on you eventually. We all have to grow up and be adults even if we don’t want to.

The “knowledge is misery” part of the quote quite fascinated me because I happen to think knowledge is an essential part of life. Most people are thirsty for knowledge instead of viewing it as something miserable. For example, I don’t want to know about politics but I still pay attention because I want to be prepared for anything that occurs in this country that may or may not affect me and my loved ones in some way.

Circling back to the bit about jobs, I feel like when you sign up for a particular job, you have to know what to expect going in. For example if you’re an artist of some sort: writer, movie director, music producer, painter, you have to know going in that when you release your art to the world that there are going to be some who absolutely love it and some who absolutely hate it. Now, I am none of those things but I feel like on some level you have to know what to expect and how to handle what gets thrown at you in any form. Obviously you are going to praise the ones who give you glowing reviews but should you ignore the ones who don’t or worse, call them all trolls or put them down? I don’t think that’s right. If anything, you’d learn from every bit of feedback or critique you receive so that you have a better direction going forward; learn how to to turn a negative into something that can strengthen you and your fan base so that you don’t lose anyone, including the negative Nancies because there is always that possibility that they’ll still support you and even like future works even if this one flopped for them.

Another example, and this is personal experience, is being a manager. Being promoted is a great feeling but with it comes great responsibility and one of those things is the ability to handle a rude customer. First you have have to acknowledge that it’s not a personal attack at you. The person may be having a shitty day. Such is life. Then you have to strive to fulfill their needs as best you can without making it worse than it already is. Now are there some customers who are just rude out the gate? Absolutely. Even so, there are methods in which you can handle the situation that could potentially open their eyes to their own behavior and get them to calm down. Is this a perfect be all end all method? Of course not. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’d say.

One last example is having that tough conversation with an employee who is just not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t want them to think I’m personally attacking them because they are not doing a great job lately but I also want to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated either. Sitting them down one on one and going through what I see and trying to get to the root of what’s going on so that we can figure out how best to proceed going forward is usually the best route. Again, is it foolproof? Absolutely not and sometimes it ends more badly than you wanted it to but sometimes that’s just the right route.

I think life is all about balance. You need to make mistakes and fail to become a better, well rounded person. Sometimes our emotions dictate our actions before we fully comprehended what happened later but if you have the ability to acknowledge that and correct it either in the now or in the future, I think that makes a good recipe for greatness.

What do you think about balancing positives with negatives in life? Do you agree about jobs and what to expect when you take a specific job on? Any examples you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Own It

I was talking to my amazing, magnificent friend over the weekend as we usually do and we got on the subject of honesty. We discussed it in the form of book reviews but, like I usually do, I went off on a slight tangent about this particular subject and one of the first lessons I plan to teach my child in the future.

When you achieve something great or are rewarded for a job well done, how do you normally feel? You feel amazing; on top of the world. Then you want to tell everyone you know so they can feel wonderful with you. You are owning your greatness in that moment. You earned it, it was well deserved and you want to flaunt it. That’s a natural reaction to a positive experience right?

So why is it that when a person does something wrong, instead of owning their mistake, they blame everything else under the sun? Or, even worse, flip the tables to make it seem like the other party was delusional in their assessment of the situation because there is just no way you could be wrong even though you KNOW (because trust me, you know) that you were part of the wrong or even fully responsible for it?

Speaking from experience, I understand how easily it is to tell a little white lie when you don’t want to feel the wrath of another person. I truly get it, I do. But I learned over time that that literally makes things 1000 times worse because something so small that I could have owned up to in the beginning ends up getting blown out of proportion and multiple parties end up hurt. Then instead of just one person you have to apologize to, there are many and from there, people’s trust meter of you has faltered a bit.

Losing someone’s trust or even confidence in your own ability to take and receive information is one of the worst feelings. I personally own up to everything I say. If someone asks me for an honest opinion about something, they better be prepared to hear an honest answer. I’m not one for sugarcoating especially when I made the mistake. It’s quite easy to say “That was totally my fault, I’m sorry” or “My bad, I messed up or misinterpreted what you said” to avoid a total explosion of unnecessary drama. Now if I didn’t do it or say it, I definitely won’t take the blame.

When I worked as a manager in retail, this concept was something I pretty much drilled into my staff. If you messed up, seriously, it’s okay. Just tell me so we can fix it together and then you’ll know how better to handle the situation the next time. If you lie to me, I will find out so let’s not waste time. Now, is there times when things should be tactfully said? Sure. But that is one reason why I always lead in with something like “I mean no disrespect but…” and then lay it all out. That way the receiver is already prepared for what I’m about to drop on them but I also hope it makes them feel comfortable enough to do the same for me in return because who doesn’t want 100% honesty all the time?

At the end of the day, I know I can’t make people change. Some people are so good at lying or being two faced that that is their natural instinct. It just sucks for the rest of us who have to figure that out further along in a friendship or relationship instead of right up front. The world would truly be a better place if people owned up to all of their judgments instead of just some of them and not only that, be able to take information, even if it’s information they don’t like, gracefully. That’s the very definition of being an adult wouldn’t you say?

I’m quite interested in what you all think on this topic. Let me know in the comments below and feel free to share experiences of your own if you feel comfortable. 🙂

Trials of Friendship

I was talking to my closest friend last night and we got into a discussion about friendship. I’ve touched on this topic briefly in previous posts but last night it was weighing heavily on my mind so I decided to rant a little here and pick her brain a little there and ultimately decided this would probably make a good post even just to spill out everything I’m thinking right now. So in order to put it all together, I need to share a story about a friend I used to have.

About a year and a half ago, I met this girl while working. Actually I was one of the reasons she got hired at my workplace because I was one of her interviewers at the time. I wouldn’t say it was an instant friendship connection but we definitely got along really well and it grew tremendously in a short amount of time. We both really loved books which is normally how I connect with people because they share a love of reading but sometimes it’s for other reasons like sharing the same views or we just generally make a good team. We texted each other a lot; most of it about random stuff. And then we made it a point to hang out outside of work once a week. It worked really well for months. She was a bit scared to drive far distances so I would always go to her house. Plus, I lived in a one bedroom apartment and it’s hard to entertain in such a small space. We’d watch shows together and go to book sales, all that good stuff.

Then one day the texting pretty much stuttered to a trickle and then a stop all together. I didn’t understand why. Right before that, I had made a decision to transfer to a different store because it would provide me with better career development but I figured it wouldn’t affect our friendship too much cause technology was so great. I was pretty wrong and I got frustrated because I felt I was putting a lot into the friendship and pretty much getting nothing in return. When it became days between texts, I decided to ask her what was going on. I was always told her life was soo busy and she just didn’t have time to engage with me anymore. I admit, that hurt my feelings because I feel like it’s not that hard to message a person with the millions of avenues available to do so and especially when I’m becoming annoying by trying to reach this person almost every day.

I pretty much got tired of the excuses and simply stopped trying. Two weeks went by and I got radio silence. I figured if I’d stop sending her messages then maybe she’d get a clue and maybe take the initiative. She didn’t. So I gave up. I sent one last text telling her I could no longer be her friend and listed all the reasons why and that was the end of that. About a year later, I get a text from her asking me how life is.

ONE. YEAR. LATER.

I couldn’t even believe it. Like is this real life? And all that I had let go, the sadness and bitterness and anger and finally defeat came rushing back in one big ball of rage. I lashed out as much as you can in a text message and pretty much questioned why she was texting me. After a few exchanges, cause I’m sure she could tell I was heated, she informed me that even though I didn’t consider her my friend, she’s always still considered me her friend. Currently, in the present, she got wind that I’m pregnant and now she occasionally texts me wanting to know all the details about what’s going on my life but I’m quite short with her as you can probably imagine. I don’t really know how to feel about someone who can be a here again, gone again friend you know?

So I spilled all of this to my friend last night and told her how I feel like making friends is the easy part but keeping them is so hard. Maybe I’m desperate because I’m only getting older and making friends as an adult is harder than it was when we were kids. Or maybe I just care too much and I shouldn’t but I’m such an emotional person and I can’t help it. My feelings do get hurt easily and my response is to pretty much shut them off at least to the outside world and present this facade that I don’t care when I really do at least for a little while.

I equated growing a friendship to a sapling growing into a tree. You have a little sapling you’ve just planted and you check on it every single day, watering it and making sure it’s getting enough sunlight so it can grow to be a strong tree that’ll live a lifetime. If you stop watering that sapling for a day, it’ll still grow a little because it has a bit of nutrients stored in the roots. But if you stop watering that sapling for a week and then a week turns into two or more, that sapling is going to start to die and by the time you come back to it and realize you wanted to save it, it’s either already dead or a small seed will float elsewhere to try and root itself to become stronger than before.

Maybe I’m absolutely sensitive that I think so deeply on this subject but I think ultimately it stems from trying to understand how other people think and how it seems so easy for someone to borderline forget that you were a great friend. Or maybe you weren’t and they just didn’t inform you of their true feelings so instead floated away cause that was easier?

Long read and heavy topic I know. If you made it all the way to the end, I commend you, you’re awesome and I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

Trust

You ever think about the people in your life and the level of trust they have in you? This is a bit random but the 23rd of this month was my one year anniversary working at my job. I’ve shared this story in the past but I pretty much bred  myself to work with animals with what I thought would be the rest of my life. I went to school for biology and switched majors to wildlife conservation because I had huge dreams of being a zookeeper some day. I never made it to a zoo but I did get to experience a few wildlife rehabilitation internships, including the start up of one at my college and I also got to go to Maui for 7 months for a breeding and propagation internship on endemic birds.

One day however, I had a bit of wake up call so to speak and had to divert my animal attention to domestics instead of wildlife. So for a few years after working with all the wildlife I transitioned to working in pet retail, vet clinics and doggie day cares. I grew to love the work that I do, especially with the variety of pets on a daily basis but the jobs themselves started to take a toll. The vet clinics became hard to deal with especially when you dealt with pet parents losing their pets or trying to let them go. The pet retail became mentally exhausting because of the constant people interactions and doggie day care just became exhausting. My last stint in retail I got a taste of being a manager which was a first for me. I was always encouraged into management but I never wanted it because of the ridiculous hours a manager had to work. Work/life balance is pretty important to me.

The job I’m in now is a pretty chill job in comparison to all the other jobs I had combined. You’ve all seen the stories from the previous year of me picking cherries and dealing with honeybees. Not really in my job description but fun nonetheless. In the past 6 months or so, my boss has had me dabbling a little bit in the company’s finances such as depositing checks, paying bills and even checking payroll hours. My  job description is Office Manager guys. I’m a paper pusher/morale booster in this place. So for me to be involved in the money part of this business was a bit shocking to me at first. Obviously, I can be trusted. I’m a very honest person and I care about keeping my job cause you know, can’t eat if I don’t work and I really, really like eating.

It just sort of blows my mind these days the things shared with me. I don’t doubt that I can be trusted of course but I wonder when did the switch go off in my boss’s head that I can be trusted on an even greater level? I know the whole point of a job is to make money and grow to make more money because who likes living paycheck to paycheck but how is this gauged?

This can be related to my personal life as well. I’m generally a very open person and have no problem talking about anything, even the uncomfortable topics. It’s frowned upon sometimes I’m sure because, well, you need to have some type of filter but when you just have this feeling of comfortable with a person, it’s like the dam opens and it all just floods out. I often wonder how I gained this level of confidence in myself to just be able to share stuff with people I feel I can trust or who can generally relate to my experiences. Or they might not be able to relate at all. For example, I work with an 80 year old who is completely racist even if he won’t admit it to himself. Most times he doesn’t realize what he’s saying but I believe he knows exactly what he’s saying. Does it bother me? Not in the least. I can go toe to toe with the best of them but he’s 80. Do I aim to change his mind? No. There’s no point. But I do make my stance on things very clear and I think he has a respect towards me that he didn’t expect. Honestly, I didn’t expect it either. I never know sometimes what I’m going to say until I say it. But that’s how it should be right? But then I think about people like the president who I feel should think before he opens his mouth ever and I feel like I contradict myself.

Anyway, my thoughts are all over the place. I think ultimately I’m just wondering if people have like a trust meter that they use to gauge how much they tell a person or if it really doesn’t matter that much because with trust comes confidence and I guess you’d need a certain level of confidence in order to trust people? I don’t know.

If you were able to keep up with my jumble of thoughts, what do you think of it all? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 3

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by single word posts. The goal here is to take one word and turn it into a post. The email provided a list of words to choose from and it definitely got me thinking.

I’m going to take it back to senior year of high school. The year was pretty decent. Made a lot of good friends but they were a grade or two lower than me. I spent most of my time in the Zoology classroom taking care of the myriad of reptiles and amphibians. Now my teacher is asking me if I’m going to college. Well, for me it’s not like I had much choice. My mother made it very clear what would happen if I didn’t go to college. At the time, I was excited. I flunked the ACTs but I did pass the SATs. I didn’t want to go to the local college because that’s where the whole graduating class was going and I needed new faces. I was too chicken shit to move to a different state or even to go an hour away so I ended up being about 45 minute drive from home. Far enough that I knew my mom wouldn’t come visit me every second but close enough to visit. I worked two jobs and went to school full time, changed my major once in there and graduated.

Now I’m living the dream! I have a fancy piece of paper that tells the world I’m intelligent! I can do everything I dreamed of doing!

Wrong. You know why it was so wrong? Because everything they tell you is just not true. You see you get these job coaches that tell you about your resume and how it should look and how effective your education will be when applying into the unknown adult world of jobs. I was originally a Biology major. That pretty much narrows my job choices down to zookeeper, plant and animal behavior, animal nutrition, naturalist. So I’m like hell yeah! I’ll get to be a zookeeper! This is great! School is expensive but you know what it doesn’t matter because when I graduate I’ll be set forever! Yeah, no. You can’t imagine how hard it is to become a zookeeper. Literally the best way to get into a zoo is to know someone who knows someone higher up who can whisper into their superior’s ear about how awesome you are and to give you chance. Or, the alternative, work for free for 5 years and get a passing chance at having your application looked at. You’re telling me I struggled for 4 years of my life, spent massive amounts of money (95k if you were curious), volunteered for 2 years and I still can’t get my pinky toe in the door. What do I have to show for it now? Lots of debt. Thank you education. You are a real winner.

You know what they need in colleges now? They need that person who will be brutally honest. That coach you go to and say, “hell yeah, when I graduate I’ll be swimming with sea turtles and dolphins and caring for elephants!” And then that coach would look you in the face and just bust out laughing; gut wrenching, tears streaming, spit shooting out from their face, laughing. And then set you straight. They’ll say, “Hey! that’s great except that won’t happen. You’ll probably work fast food or retail the first few years out of college, and then you’ll find a job that you can be passionate enough about that’ll keep you afloat in this world!” Then follow up with, “Here’s what you really need to do…”

Now I’m not saying this is what happens to everyone or that you all should feel this way or that. I don’t necessarily regret going to college because I did make quite a few connections that I still keep in contact with today or have helped me better my living situation. If I had to go back, I would definitely pick a community college instead of a private college and I would pick a more logical major. In a perfect world, we could all fake it til we make it. I heard this saying from my realtor. I asked her how she was so successful at her job. She said she jumped in and learned as much as possible and came up with her own strategies along the way until she became very good at what she does. That is living the dream. You apply for a job and are considered based off your willingness to learn and then you get a fantastic teacher who teaches you everything they know. That, in my opinion, is the best way to get a real world education.

What’s your opinion about education?

I Don’t Doubt It…

I got a call late last night from a dear friend who told me she’s likely getting a divorce. As I sat up in bed to focus on the call and her situation, I realized how I felt when I was in her shoes. As a young person who has also been divorced, I know the thoughts of doubt, hurt and uncertainty that she was having. The longer I spoke with her (and then her sister) I also began to understand why I never doubted my own divorce.

I got married right after turning 20 to someone who I had spent the prior 5 years dating. We were married for 3 years before I pulled the plug. My friend is in a similar boat – she married at 18 and is now facing the reality of a pending divorce at 25. I could hear how worried and scared she was just thinking of starting over on her own. …and I know that I was once there, too.

However, looking back, I can see that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve grown more from my divorce than anything else I’ve experienced. Only through that experience did I learn not to doubt my integrity, character, and hard work. I began to see my value and worth outside of my appearance and the things I owned. I learned what it meant to be a real friend and how truly special it is to find those real friends.

…and now to one of my very best friends, I am able to stand alone and tell her that I cannot and will not Doubt  her decisions. I will be beside her to hold her hand and to laugh with her through the good times and the bad. Real friends care about truth and happiness.

The truth is: I don’t doubt that it will hurt and I don’t doubt that she will be stronger, wiser, and better because of this.