Not Forbes 30 Under 30

Not Forbes 30 Under 30

What grows old? The manipulation of the media by youth that can afford PR agencies. These misaligned incentives are on full display in our 2018 edition of The Valley Muse’s Not Forbes 30 Under 30. Selecting these typical citizens leading ordinary lives is a year-round obsession. Without further ado!

30) Hanh Nguyen, Regional Manager at Kinko’s

Hanh graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Urban Planning. It took him six years to complete the course, balancing his studies, with his duties, at his parents donut shop.  After graduation, he found out he was going to be a baby daddy. Hanh knew frying Apple Fritter’s wasn’t going to cover the rent AND diapers. So what did he do? He applied to the highly prestigious Kinko’s Leadership rotation in San Fernando Valley.  After 24 months, Hanh was promoted to store manager where he was given cash register responsibilities.

29) Javier Diaz, Professional eSports Player

At first, Javier bought into the “gig economy” propaganda, convinced that driving for Uber full-time was a viable career option. It covered his gas, his Prius payment, and pot habit.  Mama was quite proud of her youngest too; bringing home tortillas and carnitas for dinner, not running around with the neighborhood boys anymore. It was one night on a 12 hour call of duty marathon that Javier discovered this thing called Twitch. People actually paid to watch others play video games? He entered a Twitch tournament that very same night and made $1K. The rest is history.

28) Hanna Khan, Instagram Beauty Influencer

Hanna’s parents informed her they wouldn’t pay her rent any longer.  For she had graduated from USC over one year ago and still hadn’t found work.  So, she moved out of her Santa Monica apartment and back to Garden Grove. Her mother said if she refused to learn how to cook, to attract an eligible suitor, then she had to get a job.  Hanna applied to open requisite’s here and there at fashion startups but wasn’t self aware enough to realize she had no real skills. Then, she stumbled upon the Instagram page of a frenemy from high school. A verified Instagram account with 44K followers?  “I’m prettier than her!” she blurted. “And I have better style!!” 3 months later, with her follower count climbing to 17K, a dead-end skin care brand reached out to her, asking her to plug their face scrub.

27) Andrea Willitz, Second Grade Teacher

Andrea finished her bachelors degree at Texas State San Marcos.  Her high school sweetheart enrolled in the police academy and they dreamed of settling down outside of Dallas.  She found work as a 2nd grade teacher and the happy couple bought a track home in a planned community. They attend church on Sunday and enjoy summer days on the lake with their Golden Retriever Jack.

26) Clarence Stevens the 3rd, 24 Hour Fitness Trainer

After serving a two year sentence for stealing baby formula from Wal Mart, Clarence found work as a personal trainer at 24 hour fitness.  He was recently recognized as employee of the month and has his sights set on one day opening his own gym. He helps out with the bills at his baby mama’s mama’s house and recently purchased a HD TV for their room.  He promised his girl he wouldn’t swipe on Tinder anymore.

25) Kevin Bowe, Multi-level marketer

After graduating in the middle of his class at Iowa State, Patrick ended up landing a plum investment banking job at Lehman Brothers (it used to be a thing). Three years later, and having been through a stripper girlfriend and multiple DUIs, Kevin felt god cut him a break. A former boss from Lehman recruited him to help sell a Nepalese herbal supplement that cures baldness. He now recruits other finance flunk outs for the same cause.

24) Omar Hamid, Software Engineer at CalTrans

Omar graduated cum laude from The Shadow Developers Bootcamp in San Francisco.  His proud parents and wife (also his cousin) attended his graduation, bringing their own 2 liter bottle of Pepsi for them to collectively enjoy after the reception.  Omar tried to find work in SF for a short while, but quickly realized there was a fair amount of snobbery when it came to hiring dev bootcamp grads. Not only that, the city was dirty! The homeless people, the police sirens, the unpredictable weather...was he missing something? Suffice to say he moved back to Sacramento and accepted a job at the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).  He now gets home by 5 PM and watches Bollywood movies on Netflix after dinner. He and his wife are also trying to start a family.

23) Tim Devine, Associate General Counsel at Whole Foods

Tim arrived in Silicon Valley with dreams of joining a startup rocket ship. With his JD/MBA in hand, he applied to jobs near and far, from SF to San Jose.  He eventually landed a job at a series A startup that looked great according to TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Inside, it was a toxic game of thrones, with the founders not on speaking terms, and employees regularly stabbing each other in the back. It was on his 7th day of needing Ambien to sleep and Xanax to get through the day that Tim resigned.  He ate McDonald’s on his couch for a week before reaching out to a buddy from law school that was at Whole Foods.

22) Kelsey Hewitt, Sales Operations at Yahoo!

Kelsey couldn’t hold down a job in her hometown of Houston, Texas.  She also happened to read enough Paul Graham essays to convince herself she wasn’t made to be an employee. She was a founder! After putting in her two week notice, she packed up her things, and her cat Yoyo, and headed for San Francisco, determined to start a company. She rode the “female founder” storyline into YCombinator. After burning through one co-founder after another, and finding herself $20K in credit card debt (hey the Airbnb guys sold cereal!), she hung up her founder shoes. But she wasn’t moving back to Texas, that much was for damn sure. A head hunter found her a job at Yahoo! Every morning she dreams up new startup ideas on the employee shuttle from SF to Sunnyvale.  

21)  Lance Fei, Strategy Manager at Kroeger

Lance served two tours in the military. One in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. When he returned home, he bagged a job at Kroeger’s as a bagger.  Never one to settle for the status quo, Lance began taking evening courses on Coursera, earning certificates in strategy management and data science.  The credentials were enough to convince the internal recruiter to submit his CV to the corporate strategy group. What happened next? Lance became an exempt employee and informed his parents it was time to sell their restaurant. He was the breadwinner from here on out.

20)  Deepak Patel, Lab Technician at Kaiser Permanente

It was on a Sunday after a long night of partying that Deepak’s uncle calmly entered his room and told him in punjabi, “Listen my son...if you don’t want to work at our Subway, we’re sending your ass back to India.” Deepak took a medical technician course and now draws blood for a living.  His uncle and aunt aren’t too hot on his Filipino girlfriend (that he met at work) but you gotta pick your battles.

19)  Kylie Lewis, Executive Assistant at PR Agency

Kylie did way too much molly at the University of Arizona.  Nevertheless, she still kept her figure and managed to get her Scottsdale sugar daddy to pay for her boob job upon graduation.  Shortly thereafter, her sugar daddy went back to his wife and Kylie found herself without a sponsor. Her bust line got her in the door at a 2nd tier PR agency in Los Angeles and she tries to do Molly only once a month now.

18)  Irene Lee, Internal Medicine Resident at San Joaquin County Hospital

With six years at a public state school, three years at a caribbean med school, and four research rotations, Irene finally matched into a residency program at a rural Northern California hospital.  She now mentors other aspiring physicians at her alma mater, her parents get to say their daughter is a doctor to random relatives in Taiwan, but those who know her best would never seek her out for medical advice.

17)  Jeff Garrison, Crypto Hedgefund Manager

After a string of failed business ventures, Jeff read a Deloitte Consulting report on the Blockchain and was immediately hooked. He diligently tweets everything and anything he can on crypto and blockchain and he even went so far as to erase his previous tweets touting his expertise in chatbots.  His diligence managed to land him a few panel spots at crypto meetups in random towns in the midwest. He took a cash advance against his credit card, bought some Ethereum, and promptly updated his Linkedin title to reflect his new identity as a “Crypto Hedgefund Manager.”

16)  Alexa Devino, Realtor

Alexa traveled the world for the past few years pursuing the “freelancer” dream.  But it turned out this being your own boss thing was a lot of work. Who the hell wants to pander to clients and beg for work on Upwork? It goes without saying that she burnt through her savings after a few months in Asia.  She next turned to youtube vlogging but that ended up being a lot of work too. Her shrewd mother agreed to buy her a one way plane ticket back home to Dover, New Jersey with the understanding that Alexa would start working with her as a realtor.  She has to work on Sunday’s but she’s actually convinced herself this is her life’s calling. Inheriting her mother’s rolodex doesn’t hurt either.


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