Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage

September 8th, 2008.

Upon walking into my friend Lizzie’s apartment yesterday, I was disappointed to find that she had also invited a girl we’ll call ‘Marie’ over. Now I’ve never particularly liked Marie, although until yesterday, I couldn’t really tell you why. My interactions with her have always been fairly limited (considering she’s not my friend), so I’ve never really given her the opportunity to actually piss me off. Still, she has always rubbed me the wrong way. It’s as if I subconsciously feel like her very existence would have made the fake baby Jesus cry.

Lizzie and Marie were discussing Marie’s two cats when I arrived. Apparently, Marie had suddenly decided after 12 years that she no longer wanted to be a cat owner. Since Lizzie is a veterinarian, Marie was asking her advice on how to best go about finding them another home.

“I hate to tell you Marie,” Lizzie was saying, “But not a lot of people are looking to adopt two 12 year old cats. They are senior citizens at that age and most people would prefer not to bond with a cat that is just going die in a couple of years.”

I plopped down at the kitchen table and motioned for the two of them to continue their conversation. I have a theory that it’s impossible to reason with a jackass and Lizzie was in the process of proving me right.

“So what you’re saying is,” Marie asked, “That the only option I have is to keep the cats or get them put down?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Lizzie answered.

“So I guess I have to get them put down!” Marie cheerfully concluded. “Only…would you mind taking them in and doing it for me? I’d rather not be there when it happens.”

Obviously surprised at Marie’s choice, Lizzie carefully responded, “Well, if you’re going to have them euthanized, it would probably be easier on them if you were there…” She trailed off helplessly.

“But, if I take them in to be euthanized without them actually being sick, people will think I’m a bad person!” Marie whined.

I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I cut in.

“They won’t think you’re a bad person,” I insisted, “They’ll know you’re a bad person.”

“But I’m not a bad person!” Marie objected, “I just don’t want cats anymore!”

“Well, I hate to break it to you,” I countered, “But killing two animals simply because you’re fucking bored with them is the very definition of a ‘bad person’ in my book. I’m guessing that most of the people in Lizzie’s office will agree with me. This doesn’t make them wrong. This makes you a shit head.”

I won’t bore you all with details of the screaming match that ensued after this little confrontation, but I did want to emphasis a very faulty way of thinking that seems to be becoming increasingly common among this generation. Namely, that we have the ability to invent the reality of our character on a whim. People seem to be under the impression that they are what they say they are. In other words, if they say they are a good person, it must be so. Their actions do not matter when deciding what kind of person they are. The only thing that matters is how they brand their self.

Speaking of branding, I was surfing around the Internet a few days ago when I ran across a website written by Dan Schawbel. Apparently, Dan Schawbel is a self described ‘personal branding expert.’ Less hip members of society might be wondering now what, exactly, is ‘personal branding.’ Lucky for us all, douche bag Dan Schawbel defines this little bit of idiocy for us. He states:

Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.

All of this goobly-gook is a clever way of saying that instead of going to the effort to become a certain sort of person, we can just insist that we are that sort of person until others give in and believe us. Instead of developing our personalities into something with substance, we can simply buy all of the proper accessories needed to project the right ‘image.’

Funny, back in the day, one enhanced their recognition as an expert in their field by actually going to the effort of becoming an expert in their field. They established a good reputation and advanced their careers with actual accomplishments. They did not just pop a logo on their backs and call it a day.

An artist isn’t an artist because he wears black turtlenecks, listens to sad music, paints his fingernails black, and carries a certain brand of fucking cell phone. An artist is an artist because he creates art. Likewise, it takes more than announcing yourself as a good person to become one. It doesn’t matter if you say you’re a good person, or think you’re a good person, or even in your deepest heart of hearts feel like a good person. A good person is someone who does good things. Words and intent do not matter. Actions do. Period.

A lot of people have described me as a good person, believe or not. They insist that because I ‘mean well’ that ultimately, I must be good. I try my best to explain to them that this is an incredibly faulty way of thinking. After all, if I were to jump a curb and run over a family of 4, I would be at fault. It doesn’t fucking matter that I didn’t ‘intend’ to kill them. They are still fucking dead. So yeah, my friends are correct in that I nearly always mean well. Unfortunately, there is more to being a good person than meaning well. It takes actual, tangible action to be good. I am a bad person simply because I do bad things. Intent doesn’t mean shit.

Personal branding is a bunch of garbage. We are not our clothes. We are not our accessories. We are not the music that we listen to or the city that we live in. We are not what we claim we are and we most definitely are not what we wish. We are not images. We are our actions.

If you are unhappy with the person you see in the mirror, think less about developing a personal brand and think more about actually becoming what you desire to be.

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82 Responses to Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage

  1. Tim

    OK, I’ll bite – what’s going to become of those poor cats? Don’t leave us hanging on the part of the exchange we care most about!

  2. A Nonny Moose

    “Instead of developing our personalities into something with substance, we can simply buy all of the proper accessories needed to project the right ‘image.’”

    I find this line lovely irony, considering it still hasn’t been resolved whether this is the real V writing, or if the site has been sold.

  3. VA: Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage

    […] Original post: Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage […]

  4. Laurie

    This is so true. I was arguing with my now ex-roommate and I mentioned that I didn’t like the things her friends were doing. So she said, “Well I do that stuff too, does that make me a bad person?” and I responded “Yes.” When will people learn?

  5. Some Random Guy

    Since when did you start having comments on the site? Sorry, I’ve been away for awhile.

  6. Suzie

    These last few posts don’t sound like V at all. It just sounds like a psychotic person trying to sound like the author who once was. Either V is heavily medicated or someone else is posting.

  7. lynn

    Yeah, this definitely isn’t V.

  8. Elizabeth Miller

    Oh my. Who knew V had so many conspiracy theorists reading her website? You are all retarded.

  9. XM

    Poor V. I’m sorry such a large majority of your readers are morons. Thanks for the post, though.

  10. stephanie

    I thought Elvis cleared all this up.

    If the last couple of posts were written by V, then the link Elvis gave us a few posts ago is fake.

    God bless you V, where ever you are.

    The truth is out there….

  11. Elizabeth Miller

    Actually, the link Elvis gave us showed us that the site WAS NOT sold. Remember, it said ‘Reserve Price Not Met’ as opposed to ‘Sold’ right on the auction.

    Wait a minute. Don’t tell me that I’m the only one WHO ACTUALLY READ IT as opposed to jumping to conclusions and going into hysterics like an immature school girl…

  12. Mama Kelly

    I can’t belive someone (especially a vet) would own cats for 12 years and then suddenly be so tired of having them that they woulc be willing to euthanize them just like that.

    Very very sad statement on the human race

  13. Traverse Davies

    This is funny. A lot of my blog is about personal branding, and how if the brand you try to create is bullshit, you will fail. The most you can do is try to free who you are and express that. For more of my thoughts on the subject, read http://logic11.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/personal-brand/
    Yes, that was a blatant blog plug, but only because it is completely on topic and contains a lot more detail than I can go in to here.

  14. Mike

    Love your Blog, But there’s never enough of it…
    I find myself coming here everyday for your stuff..
    I have to ask my wife to come read this….

    APart from the swearing (oh whatever) I find your posts
    so thoughtfull….

    Vent some more Please !

  15. Goldie

    Either Marie is completely off her rocker, or we are missing a valuable piece of information here. Like, she now has a baby and the baby happens to be severely allergic to cats to the point where his life is in danger as long as there are cats in the house. Call me a bad person, but in this situation I would drop the cats like they were going out of style. I have a hard time believing that someone would own two cats for 12 years, then decide to dump them for no reason, though I admit it makes for an entertaining blog post.

  16. Mike

    I’ve met more than my share of people who consider animals disposable toys. ugh.
    Mind you I’m a Dog person, I’m OK with cats, but not to own.

    Let’s remember that these are animals, not humans.
    That being said, a life is a life…..and if you have a companion animal, and for no better reason than you’re bored you do this ? yeah, you’re dirt and probably treat others (humans) with not much more respect than that.

    There’s an old dating saying about women and dogs (might apply to cats too).
    Watch the way she treats her dog because that’s you after six months….

    Cheers.

  17. Carolyn

    It’s like Batman says: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

    What kind of bitch keeps any kind of pet for 12 years and then just decides to kill them because she’s bored. I hope she gets hit by a truck.

  18. OMG-V-ILoveyoumarry me!

    2nd to last paragraph – Fight Club much?

  19. Heaven's Thunder Hammer

    I think it would be worthwhile to find out if this Marie person had developed allergies or something.. I’m still worried this may not be the original V.

  20. Lucius

    Amen on the post, V! You are our Patron Saint of Bitch!

  21. stephanie

    Hysterical school girls that can’t read?

    What does that have to do with cats killing their owners because they are tired of them?

  22. Just Sayin'

    It’s clearly not V… The last several posts are so sub par I have to wonder if those of you who think it is V, ever read and or more importantly appreciated what she wrote.

    I’ll miss you V… Whereever you are. It was great while it lasted…

    I won’t be back.

  23. kram

    I am so sick of people thinking pets are disposable! If you get a pet it becomes part of your family THEY are NOT disposable! JEEZ (I am a pet owner of 3 cats and 3 dogs).

  24. Andy

    I don’t buy the idea that intent doesn’t mean anything. I think intent counts for something. If it doesn’t, and good intentions with bad results make you bad, it would follow that bad intentions with good results would somehow make you good, and that’s not true. If you steal a car, and it turns out the owner kidnapped his girlfriend and locked her in the truck and was going to kill her and your act of GTA saved a life, you’re still a thieving bastard. If you have a real hate-on for Arabs and you shoot a guy because he has brown skin, a beard and a funny last name, you’re not any less of a murdering racist if it turns out he was the leader of a terrorist sleeper cell.

    Accidentally jumping a curb and running over a family of four doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you fucked up. How you feel and act afterwords about that fuck-up determines what kind of person you are. Wracked with guilt, willing to take the consequences for your mistake? You may still be a good person. Don’t care, and try everything you can to weasel out of responsibility? Yeah, you’re bad.

    That being said, yeah, Marie’s a bad person. Euthanizing your elderly pets because they have a horrible disease that’s going to kill them slowly and painfully is one thing. Offing them because they’re inconvenient or don’t match the new sofa like they’re goddamn throw pillows is awful. It means you never cared about them to begin with and they were pretty much furniture. They’re the kind of people who stick their parents in rest homes and only send them a card at Christmas. Imagine what would happen if human euthanasia was legal.

  25. Katherine

    Kudos to you, Andy. Great comment.

    Why worry about whether or not this is V? I’m loving the posts anyway. It also makes me think about really being a better person – then again, I’ve been reading Anne of Green Gables again, which always makes me feel like I have so many ways I can improve!

  26. JK

    Mama Kelly on September 9th, 2008 at 6:39 am
    I can’t belive someone (especially a vet) would own cats for 12 years and then suddenly be so tired of having them that they woulc be willing to euthanize them just like that.

    Very very sad statement on the human race
    ———–
    My husband was a vet tech for years. You would be amazed at the reasons people put an animal down.
    A woman brough in her pup who broke her leg. Easy fix. Doc offered to do it for free. Owner said no and tough shit, it’s her dog but didn’t want to witness the killing. My husband took the dog in the back room to have it killed only to smuggle it under his jacket and give it to a friend who still has it.

    People are assholes.

    V good for you for telling this c*nt what she is. It’s sickening what people do with their animals.

  27. Lynne

    V, I don’t know about your area, but here in Ohio I know some people that had to get rid of several cats. Since they couldn’t find a family to take in the cats they looked into a no-kill shelter. They found one in Ohio area. It’s costs more that killing the cats, but seriously, which would you choose?

  28. Mike

    A friend of mine had a girlfriend that considered herself a good person. She had two cats. She decided she only wanted one, so she drove the other out to the country and let it go.

    Shortly thereafter, my friend drove his now ex girlfriend to her parents house and let her go.

    He gave her more than she deserved, I think.

    I would have let her go somewhere beside the Nile.

  29. Martha

    Dan Schawbel is a douche.

  30. Mike

    You consistently claim to not be a good person, but where’s the proof? Your stories do not back up that claim. I would say that telling a person off for wanting to kill her pets because she is bored with them is in itself a good thing.

  31. Dan

    This is clearly V’s writing.

    Does anyone else get the feeling this is all an experiment by V to show exactly why she hasn’t had comments enabled this entire time? Her readers are retarded. No wonder she didn’t want to interact with you.

  32. Dingo

    It’s obvious this isn’t V’s writing and enabling comments is the new site owner’s attempt to acquire spam-able email addresses. Either that or an epic troll by V.

    I’m betting on the former.

  33. A Nonny Moose

    Dingo: That, or an attempt to retain the old readership for advertising revenue.

    Also, enabling comments on a touchy blog is another way to garner return visits – people love to argue.

    Since this is all so against V’s MO, a faithful (non-retarded thank you very much) reader is lost. This site is deleted from my favourites folder.

  34. lisa

    Damn, if V has passed this site on… hell I only read for the injection of anger into my borderline personality anyways. Anyone trying to copy her style will at least copy her anger since it’s her most obvious personality trait. (and loving animals) Yay for generic punk!

    Or maybe she took English composition 101 along with those useful college classes, so her writing has some, uhh, structure. Or she’s only writing to vent so has less structure.

    So V is a bad person in her own eyes for not doing as much as she could? At least she’s better than those who try to hypnotize themselves into thinking they’re good, so they don’t have to do anything. Nice strategy, to keep from turning into THAT WHICH YOU HATE MOST!!! More people should hate themselves in such a constructive way.

  35. Jadalina

    >> Mama Kelly on September 9th, 2008 at 6:39 am

    I can’t belive someone (especially a vet) would own cats for 12 years and then suddenly be so tired of having them that they woulc be willing to euthanize them just like that.
    >>

    The vet wasn’t the one who wanted to get rid of the cats. The dolt who owned the cats was telling the vet how she was tired of them and wanted to get rid of them.

  36. Alessandra

    “Why worry about whether or not this is V?” Good question. What difference does it makes? For me, none at all. I don’t know V. She’s not my friend, neighbor or anything. I come here because I like the writing, not because I have to know about her life. As long as it’s good writing, I’ll come back and I don’t care if it’s a authomatic post generator or a mommyblogger or ape in front of a computer or even, who knows? V herself.

    Focus on the message people. This is the freakin’ internet, anything else is just irrelevant.

  37. mg

    This might be obvious, but there’s a point missing from this article. Personal branding, while not a substitute for substance, often works. Both as an eye-catcher AND a tool of illusion or deception. Yes, there are a number of people who utilize the superficial stamp of image to displace reality (read: celebrities, politicians, advertisers, players, and some job applicants) and this works well for that “foot in the door”. In many cases, once the they’re inside, they can leverage other cons to get further along, like a game. But let me ask you this: if someone is highly skilled but terrible at verbally communicating those skills quickly, won’t they be at a disadvantage when competing against others? Beyond just social awareness, it’s just an attention-getting strategy. Thus, while I agree with you that this is a shallow approach, wouldn’t subtle or elequent “personal branding” be an amazing addition to someone who is, in fact, skilled? The zing of surface AND the strength of substance.

  38. Katie

    “An artist isn’t an artist because he wears black turtlenecks, listens to sad music, paints his fingernails black, and carries a certain brand of fucking cell phone.”

    But sometimes we just dress up like that for shits and giggles but with a beret as well to enhance the effect.

  39. MANNU

    Either V is trying to troll some idiots around or she just exercised the main principle of capitalism: sell ideas. She’s profiting with this change od blueprints? I hope so, that would show that V just doesn’t give a crap about her readers and is looking for profit.
    Bless you V.

  40. MANNU

    Either V is trying to troll some idiots around or she just exercised the main principle of capitalism: sell ideas. She’s profiting with this change of blueprints? I hope so, that would show that V just doesn’t give a crap about her readers and is looking for profit.
    Bless you V.

  41. B

    Not V.

  42. Suzie

    Well, if this is V posting as a way to demonstrate why she hasn’t allowed comments before, it’s a pathetic way to do so. If you post idiotic things you’re bound to get idiotic comments.

    By the way, I think most of us aren’t basing the theory that this isn’t V on that page posted by Elvis, but on the writing lately. It really sounds like a complete different voice, and the stories lack the substance of V’s usual work.

  43. Diary of the Mad Pigeon

    Pigeontrack: Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage…

    Somebody needs to buy the anonymous auther over at Violent Acres a beer (a good beer, I might add). Check out this gem: I was surfing around the Internet a few days ago when I ran across a website written…

  44. The Mad Pigeon

    Damn, I submit a trackback and I can’t even spell “author” correctly.

    My short take? What’s wrong with just being yourself and not f**king up at work? That usually goes a long way towards establishing credibility, and you don’t have to pay some snot-nosed kid for a fancy powerpoint presentation.

  45. SM

    “A Nonny Moose on September 8th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    “Instead of developing our personalities into something with substance, we can simply buy all of the proper accessories needed to project the right ‘image.’”

    I find this line lovely irony, considering it still hasn’t been resolved whether this is the real V writing, or if the site has been sold.””

    V constantly portrays herself as a mean woman, but what I’m wondering about is how much of her meanness is real and how much of it is an act. It’s as if she’s always shouting “look how mean and cynical I am”, therefore, branding herself as a tough harder-core-than-thou chick.

  46. Martta

    I love the way Marie said that she doesn’t want to be there when they put the cats down. So, not only is she a psychopath with no conscience, she wants someone else to witness the dirty work. V, you were 100% correct in your assessment of this creep.

  47. Exnie

    “These last few posts don’t sound like V at all. It just sounds like a psychotic person trying to sound like the author who once was. Either V is heavily medicated or someone else is posting.”

    I agree it is a little suspicious that there was that loooooooong absence and now a bunch of posts… Sadly, there is really no way the average reader can know if this is the REAL V.

  48. Dan

    Are there none of you who can read? On the last post it specifically said it was written by someone else. Like, the first word. Sandwiched around that post she’s written two articles, both obviously in her voice, and you guys are acting like suddenly she’s writing twice a day again.

    Seriously, you’re very stupid.

  49. Markie

    No – seriously – what happened to the cats?

    Or is it sappy for a 27year old man to worry about such things?!

  50. Lynne

    Seriously though, I also would like to know what happened to the cats. I was serious about my no-kill shelter idea. I googled it and came up with this: http://www.fluffynet.com/shelter.htm It lists no kill shelters by state. PLEASE V, get your “friend” Marie to look into this.

  51. Fabian

    This post was absolutely NOT written by V. Fuck you, DOPPELGANGER!

  52. Amber

    V, please tell us what happened to the kitties! I would hate to think that a moron like that had them in the first place, but do they have good homes now?

  53. Diana

    I like Andy’s comment the best. I think intent has a lot to do with whether you are a bad person or not.

    V- Please post more stories about your past. I am completely fascinated by you.

  54. Scaramouche

    Knowing V, she probably took them in herself.

  55. MOGS

    I don’t care WHO wrote this post, it’s awesome.

    Looking at one of the comments:

    “This is funny. A lot of my blog is about personal branding, and how if the brand you try to create is bullshit, you will fail. The most you can do is try to free who you are and express that. ”

    The author recommends that you “free who you are and express that.”

    I say, take a look in the mirror and answer truthfully if you’re someone _worth_ freeing first. It goes back to the Batman quote – no one gives a _damn_ who you are underneath, it’s what you do, much more than what you say or how you look, that defines you. The only time people talk about who you are underneath is at your damn funeral, if even then.

    If one spends their whole life being angry because they’re “misunderstood” or “people don’t know who they really are,” they need to take a look at their actions, not just how they “market” themselves.

  56. Jeane Goforth

    ‘We are our actions.’ Now that I have dedicated my life and money to taking action, I am discovering how many people do not take any action. They talk a lot, but when you ask them to DO something they’ve talked about, they always have an excuse. Based on my recent experiences, I find it difficult to believe anything in this world gets done at all.
    We have gotten burned over and over, turning something over to someone who said they would help and then finding that they won’t really do it. Then we have to scramble to cover it ourselves. Now people get angry with us because we will not trust them with critical responsibilities until they prove themselves.

  57. Vonnie

    Marie is a bitch and needs to have those two cats smother her to death for being such an idiot. Bad actions create bad people. So murderers can kill but its okay… they say that they are sweethearts and expect people buy to it??? Yeah, right.
    I feel for those two cats and her idea of part time commitment. If my four dogs were 80 and I STILL had to care for them as a 110 year old lady, I would because that is the commitment I made to them when I got them.
    I will love them for their whole lives, not at my own convenience.
    ~von~

  58. Anon

    Great thing about this website: V constantly tells readers how vapid they are.

    Best thing about this website: readers constantly prove her right.

    Seriously, for all of you berating Marie for not wanting her cats and lauding V as some sort of hero, go check out the archive story about Sandler. I mean for fuck’s sake people, stupid doesn’t even half describe you.

    http://www.violentacres.com/archives/309/i-am-so-sorry-sandler

  59. Jenna Claudio

    I have to say that you sound like me on a daily basis. I get told how rude I am, but just because I voice my opinions and people just silence theirs but witness such cruel behavior, doesn’t make me a bad person. I love your post about how the “customer is always right“. I currently am working part time at a new job – fast food, first time ever just because I need the money, besides the point, I have worked retail for 3 years now, I’m about to turn 21 next month and I have to say that I’m so used to hearing those kind of demands that it makes me sick. People who indulge themselves in such behavior, like this woman “Marie” really need to be told off. Your actions speak louder than the words that come out of your mouth.

  60. Esther

    I must say, I lol’d at all these idiots who are saying “it’s not V! What’s going on!”

    Really? I’m an 18 year old college student sitting in the middle of a graphic design class, multitasking as I read your latest posts, and even *I* know that it’s you.

    I had no idea there were this many retarded people on the web. Maybe they were attracted by the post about the downs syndrome kid, I dunno.

  61. Psychomancer

    If you desire to become a good person, then Intention is critical. Intention provides the direction of your actions. When you attempt any endeavor, you may fail to produce the desired result. It could be a minor or major screw-up. With the wisdom gained from this experience plus the original intention, your future actions will have a higher chance of success.

    The cat-killing chick clearly has the intention of appearing to be a good-person, but she lacks the resolve to be a good person. That is why she wants to hide her actions to the general public. If she fails to deceive people, she will enhance her deceptions, because she still has the Intention of appearing kind and compassionate and lacks the inconvenient Intention of actually being kind and compassionate.

    I would like my friends and neighbors to think well of me. But I value their opinion less than the integrity of my character.

    —From the Ravings of the Psychomancer

  62. Sami

    V has realized the core of my way of thinking? I just have nothing more to add, than when she realizes that “good” and “bad” are 100% subjective opinions, she’s there.

    Psychomancer: If I go to any clerk at any office, no matter how I hate it, I will always smile and ask how the clerk is doing. Small gesture, but very powerful. I may not be happy. But I pretend to be. The clerk will smile back and will be less annoyed with me than the prevous a-hole. I get better service. And the clerk is happy. Both things are results of my egoistic thinking that if I behave this way, I will make the other person give me better service.

    I got what I wanted and as a side product the clerk is also happy. Is this “good” or is this “bad” because of the intentions I had?

  63. Maia

    Jesus – whoever’s writing this has been reading Fight Club recently.

  64. Traverse Davies

    Hey Sami,
    I don’t always smile when I meet a clerk in an office. I don’t always smile at the girl who serves me coffee. I don’t always smile at anyone. I smile when I’m in a good mood, I don’t if I’m in a crap mood. I never take my mood out on these random strangers, I always make eye contact with them, I always take a moment to talk to them (if they are not busy) and I always see them as people. I have friends who started out as people who served me coffee, or were clerks that I briefly interacted with time after time. The point is, it is more valuable to see the people you interact with as people than it is to be happy.

  65. Traverse Davies

    Oh yeah, and to not be a jerk… but it seems you have that part of it down already.

  66. Sami

    Traverse Davies: You are right with the coffee shop clerks and such. I wanted to include office-type clerks. Who work with bureaucracy. Just don’t know the word for it. (I’m pulling the foreigner card here…) Anyways, those people, like most officials, I do not see as “real” people. They have chosen to be tools with no mind of their own. Outside of their work I don’t know, people are different. But at a bureau of some sort, you are not allowed to be a person.

    For clerks in shops and those, also bartenders and such, they on the other hand are very much people. I have huge respect for them and towards those I do behave like people should. (One tip: Never, ever, ever call me a “sir”. Just talk to me like to another human being.)

    But especially those tools I mentioned, but also other people, niceness is a very effective way to manipulate. And yes, I do manipulate people to get what I want. I might even say that to you beforehand.

    People are like rubber bands. Difficult to push. They bounce back. But when you pull them, they can stretch unbelievably. (Don’t bother looking that one up. It’s one of those things I just blurt out. Brainfart?)

  67. scarabin

    you’re making an awful lot of assumptions about the process by which people “brand” themselves. i’m fairly certain buying an iphone and “slapping a logo on your back” isn’t what mr. douchebag has in mind in terms of personal branding.

    branding = reputation, and personal reputation has been carefully crafted by people in every culture for thousands of years. it’s not a new concept, and it doesn’t make a person who is conscious of their image an awful person.

    the woman in your story was simply an asshole.

    “you are what you repeatedly do”
    -aristotle

  68. JenDiggity

    An old friend of mine from work was just giving me an update on my old boss which included the heartwarming little story about how she could no longer take care of her teacup poodles (two of them that were onely three years old), but because she couldn’t stand the thought of someone else taking care of them she had them put down. Crazy people like this DO exist.

    What an outrage, huh? And yet so many of you are cool with abortion. Go figure.

  69. Around the Internet 9-19-08 | steve-olson.com

    […] Acres has been one of my favorites for a couple of years. But in her rant Personal Branding is a Load of Garbage, she writes… Apparently, Dan Schawbel is a self described ‘personal branding expert.’ […]

  70. Christina

    People who put animals down for any reason other than to put an ijured one out of its misery are bad people. Period. There can be no debate about it.

    Please tell us what came of those poor cats…

  71. C12H22O11

    I think part of the frustration would stem from trying to categorize people into “good” and “bad” on a permanent basis, without the gray area in between or the option to vary over time. That doesn’t seem possible. It would make the world much more simple, but it wouldn’t be possible.

  72. bobby beartoe

    too right! personal branding is a poor excuse for meaningful social interaction. the nerve center of one’s being is not a commodity to be bartered and sold, tinkered with like it’s a costume. instead of exemplifying one’s core values through action, personal branding is an attempt at commodifying that which can’t be traded in any market.

  73. KiltBear

    First time reader here. I was SO expecting this to turn into a political discussion of the current presidential candidates. It seemed so apt. Thanks for not doing that.

  74. alcoholicmarriage

    I agree entirely.
    A leader isn’t a leader (ready to be President of the United States of America) just because he has nifty slogans and tells everyone he can change everything.
    But this is the world we live in; everything is relative.
    There is no longer black & white and that dirty little thing called “truth”… truth is what YOU say it is and I am who I SAY I am.

  75. Desiree

    I am a personal branding strategist. I am certified through Reach Personal Branding, founded by author and speaker William Arruda. Some of your information is correct, but it is only a minimal part and you are speaking of the marketing aspects more than the personal branding process. there is a whole lot more to the personal branding process, and it has to do with who you truely are, then you work on your repesentaion to others. You can do your image/brand more damage by only doing something partially or incorrectly. You would be better not doing anything if it is not authentic to the representation of you. I recommend you become more knowledgeable on the three steps process of personal branding by contacting a strategist such as me or another reach strategist or reading Career Distinction by William Arruda. You can reach me via desireegolden@gmail.com or 877-208-3867.

  76. SugarBlind

    “A good person is someone who does good things. Words and intent do not matter. Actions do. Period.”

    This goes along with the need for people to take responsibility for their actions. I’m tired of hearing “I was drunk, so I shouldn’t be punished for punching you in the face,” or “I’m bipolar, so I shouldn’t have to take responsibility for saying that hurtful thing to you.” Fuck off! You said it, you did it, take responsibility for your ACTIONS. It may not make you a good person, but at least it makes you a semi-reasonable adult.

    V, love the site, so glad to see you’re still around. (But WHAT is with these people who have nothing better to do than parse your every sentence for secret meanings?)

  77. Exodus

    And so my faith in humanity lowers even more.

  78. KickingAss

    Hey there “Lizzie’s friend”,
    I found this shite through reddit and wanted to leave my thoughts… ok so here goes… bye bye thoughts. Ok that was cheese but seriously I have to agree with you on the personal branding thing. I actually went to Dan’s site and his site could use better branding. Quite honestly it seems like it was branded sometime in the late 70’s. Maybe he is trying to appeal to all those dry old school marketing punks that use crappy branding and fluffy words. But hey, I don’t mean to play devil’s advocate here but if he is the big social branding guru in another company then perhaps he is just tired at the end of the day like the rest of us humans.

    I pretty much sit around all day on my computer maintaining sites and creating brand magic for other clients so at the end of the day I too am tired and don’t always have the spark to tap into my own personal projects like touching up that certain image or tagline.

    In a big respect, I do agree with you that you should talk the talk and walk the walk. But in another respect I have to ask who defines what walking and talking actually are? It doesn’t appear at first glance that he is doing much but not knowing the dude, I would say that if he says he does what he does then perhaps it is true. On the other hand I would not encourage getting on video and just rambling off some scripted resume. I could do that with $hit-load more of suave.

    Anyway, I like your passion but I still don’t know about the whole cat thing. Marie should post on craigslist or something. If you want to check out my site it’s dub dot kickassbranding dot com. On it there is a brand test for you to survive.

    Kicking Ass

  79. garfield135

    Holy shit we are actually allowed to leave comments! It blows my head- mind… never mind.
    “Well, I hate to break it to you,” I countered, “But killing two animals simply because you’re fucking bored with them is the very definition of a ‘bad person’ in my book. I’m guessing that most of the people in Lizzie’s office will agree with me. This doesn’t make them wrong. This makes you a shit head.”
    Pwnage.

  80. chuck

    Frankly, it’s amazing that people are on here commenting about how V doesn’t sound like herself, and then whining about never coming back.

    Seriously?

    If you’re saying this after claiming to have read anything that V has ever previously written, you should probably go punch your mother for giving birth to such an idiot. Because except for severe retardation, there should be no reason for you to think that V would give a flying fuck!

  81. Can you feel the pressure too? « .random[oid]

    […] Violent Acres writes: “Well, I hate to break it to you,” I countered, “But killing two animals simply because you’re fucking bored with them is the very definition of a ‘bad person’ in my book. I’m guessing that most of the people in Lizzie’s office will agree with me. This doesn’t make them wrong. This makes you a shit head.” […]

  82. Franklin

    There may be some people who take personal branding a little far… but at the root of it, personal branding is really just a way to help people who suck at representing themselves.

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