Nerd With No Job

Delusions of grandeur are good

Since I was a kid, my dream was to use the internet to never have to work a 9-5. Don’t believe me? I got receipts bruh. This was 10 years ago.

And now I’m here. I’m The Nerd With No Job at every party.

At most NYC parties I go to, everyone either works 9-5 in finance or tech. The first question people ask is what do you do, and then people try to 1-up each other with “Analyst” or “VP” or “Angel Investor” or whatever.

Meanwhile I say “I write tweets”. Sometimes I switch it up and say “I make memes” or now I’ve been saying “I ride the subway and read books”. They look at me all confused, and after a good laugh, I end up telling them the truth: I help people and brands go viral. This is one of the joys of being The Nerd With No Job. You can play reverse status games. No need to compete with anyone on job titles. You’re playing your own game with its own rules and regulations.

While I was down in Florida last week, I read the book Girl With No Job by Claudia Oshry who grew up with similar dreams as me—to use the internet to never work a real job—and made them happen by growing her Instagram @GirlWithNoJob. Now she’s got 3M followers, partying with Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio, and employs her entire family. #Goals. After reading her memoir, I felt a little less crazy for dreaming really fucking big.

So here’s some of my takeaways and favorite quotes:

I guess you could say that delusions of grandeur are my superpower. Delusions that I belong on red carpets among the very people whom I have admired and followed for years. Delusions that I will one day waddle out to a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd. But you know what? That deluded sense of importance and ability has allowed me to accomplish more and put myself out there in ways I never imagined.

So, I encourage everyone to believe in themselves in the delusional way that I do. Put yourself out there in ways you’ve never imagined. Life is full of highs and earth-shattering lows. It’s hard not to get caught up in and torn down by all the negativity. But what if, through your own fantastical delusions, you were able to withstand the negativity and continue to grow, to learn, and to put yourself out there? I think you should all believe in yourselves to the point of taking chances and never accepting a slammed door.

Claudia Oshry, Girl With No Job

I’ve gotta come clean with you my nerds. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had the same delusions of grandeur. I’d watch Jimmy Fallon and imagine what I’d say to him. I’d go see standup shows and be like “I can do that.” I’d read Hemingway and be like “I could write that.” I kept it to myself for the most part. I never wanted to sound cocky or insane. So I kept it all in my head.

But when I was 15 or 16, I started finding patterns on the internet (cyber patterns cough cough). I saw how Donald Glover posted sketches on YouTube which landed him a job acting on Community which he then turned into a rap career. I saw how Andy Samberg leveraged his YouTube sketch group The Lonely Island into an SNL gig and then movies and TV. I saw that the internet is the fast track to Hollywood. If you’re not a nepo baby, the internet is the best option to fortune and fame. Now, this is a common path: TikTok star to movies and stuff. But back then, it was early. I felt crazy, but I pursued it.

The plan was simple: get big on the internet and have the audience and leverage to go something even larger happen. Call it delusions of grandeur or just a vivid imagination, but these delusions have kept me going for 10+ years despite the insults on Twitter, Instagram comments saying I’m autistic, the countless times I’ve heard no from gatekeepers, the $1000s spent running experiments sometimes with no ROI. And even though it’s been a solid 10+ years making content online, I feel like it’s just the beginning. Day 1. Scene 1. Act motherfucking 1. I started posting daily videos on Instagram 2 months ago and I’m at 16,000 followers. We already have interest from a studio for a show. The plan is working. Where’s it gonna be this time next year? What about in 5 years? Who knows if it’ll be Subway Reader or it’ll be some other crazy viral thing I do? Either way, my delusions will keep me going.

So I guess if I could say 1 thing, it’d be to a bit more delusional—at least in your head. You don’t need to tell anyone about it, but be true to yourself. Write it down, find patterns, set up a strategy. If other people can leverage the internet to land TV shows and movies, why can’t you? What, you’re not special? You’re not good enough? Fuck that. These are just normal people, they’re no different than you. At least that’s what I tell myself.

“Maybe a healthy dose of delusion is the key to happiness and success. Or maybe I’m full of shit.”

Claudia Oshry, Girl With No Job

On the internet, you can be whoever you want to be.

Your friends and family might not see the same potential you see in yourself. They might think you’re crazy for trying to make it on the internet. They might laugh when you tell them about your big dreams.

But that’s fine. You don’t need their support.

If you put that energy out onto the internet and you make cool content and make some internet friends, you’ll find friends who do see that potential in you. You’ll make friends who get it. You’ll make friends with similar "delusions” and you know what? You might end up making all your delusions come true.

If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to listen to who you really are and run with it.

Claudia Oshry, Girl With No Job

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What a week for memes my God.

Thanks for reading nerds.

Create some cool shit this week.

Jason Levin