Photo Credit: Giorgio Verrone

I’m a huge fan of the TV series 24.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s about Jack Bauer: a FBI type who saves the USA from terrorist attacks dozens of times, and rarely receives any gratitude.  I like him because he’s a hero in the truest sense: a man who undergoes torture, beatings, hostage situations (often involving his own family members, a la Spiderman) and ethical dilemmas of every kind, but he just sits there and takes the punishment.  Eventually, towards the 24th hour, he’ll get a pat on the back from the President, some acknowledgement that his efforts meant something.

I’ll admit it: sometimes I imagine myself as Jack Bauer.  I’m not ashamed.

Incidentally, now is one of those times.  I’m not saying I’m saving the world—I’m just saying it’s nice to have that 24th hour finally come around, to actually get a job that you applied for.

Those of you who tuned in for the beginning of operation Tiger Fist will have some idea what’s going on, but for those who missed the premier, here’s what’s up:

Tiger Fist is the art of pursuing a job with relentless determination, leaving nothing unsaid or undone.  It’s an attitude, really, but here are some snapshots that might give you a picture of it: dressing like a GQ cover regardless of the position desired.  Sending emails every other day.  Calling every other day.  Showing up randomly at the offices, demanding face time.  Refusing to be turned away.  Knowing more about the company than its own president does.  Simply put, it’s about channeling the spirit of a warrior tiger into your job application process.

It worked. Now, I’m starting a new job with a company I respect and that I could feasibly work at for my entire career.

This fact both excites and humbles me.

I’m excited and encouraged that my efforts have paid off.  This gives me hope, and it should give hope to all college graduates currently struggling to avoid poverty.

I’m humbled because this forces me to consider the possibility that the failure of my previous four hundred job applications weren’t caused by a secret society of sadistic HR staff, dressed up like the Emperor from Star Wars, systematically crushing the spirit of qualified college grads.  Maybe it was my own fault.  Maybe I just hadn’t put enough effort into them until now.


No.  I was trying hard.  I was.

I won’t even dignify that with a paragraph.  Nothing will ever justify the treatment (or complete lack thereof) we’ve received from HR over the past two years.  Nothing will ever invalidate our Phreelance beginnings, or our significant body of work.

Now, readers, let me put your worries to rest. Does this successful job application process disqualify me as a Phreelancer?  Hardly.  My Bauer-esque years of being tortured and left to die in the slums of the job-o-sphere have left their mark.  I’m still cynical.  I’m still bitter.  I will never forgive.  This moment just eases the pain a little bit.