Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Betting On Myself.

Since moving to California, life has been a bit of a bumpy road.  I didn't have an apartment and walked around aimlessly looking for one, and when I finally found one that I liked, I was denied due to my credit score.  On top of that, I had no income.  I needed a job to get an apartment and an apartment to get a job.  (I tried applying from Boston, but it wasn't working out because I didn't live there yet.)  

I spent every day applying for jobs in a coffee shop around the corner from my apartment.  And I literally mean that I would show up at 8am and sometimes wouldn't leave until 4 or 5pm. I was applying to jobs non-stop and not hearing a single word back.  

One day, I went home and collapsed on my bed and cried.  Not even cried - I was hysterical. I thought that I was a good employee!  I had a great resume and great recommendations, and yet no one was biting.  I was either "over experienced" or "not experienced enough in the field" or "not worth even responding to, so I'm making up that they just didn't like my face." 

It was so disheartening and really hard.  It was so easy to blame Los Angeles for my problems, and so I did.  I'd tell myself that it wouldn't be so hard back in Boston!  People liked me in Boston.  I had street cred in Boston.  People were nicer there, easier to impress and just all around better.  I never once thought it was me.  

Ultimately, I came to my senses and realized that maybe I was applying for the wrong jobs.  Maybe my resume could be better.  Maybe I should spend more time on cover letters and less time just hitting copy, paste and send.  Honestly, I have NO idea what jobs I even applied to when I first got here because I was just applying, applying, applying like a robot.

One afternoon, I decided to look for companies that would be a good fit for me and that I may also be a good fit for.  I searched for creative agencies, marketing agencies, companies that had character and maybe even a little bit of personality.  I would read through the websites, narrow down the things I liked about it and why I might want to work there.  Some of them weren't even hiring, or at least had no positions posted, but I just emailed anyway.  I spent one afternoon emailing three companies that I actually wanted to work for because I liked the company and not just because I desperately needed a job. 

Within a week, I got two emails back.  Within two weeks, I was hired at the one I really wanted to work for.  

Finally, I had a job!  And I got to wear whatever I wanted to work.  I got to be me and talk about my comedy past and future goals, I didn't have to say, "Oh, I'm here to be an Executive Assistant forever" because this place valued other interests/goals in their employees.  It felt great. 

But then things got tough again.  The job was going well, but things were still off.  Certain things made me unhappy - for one, the lack of creative work I was doing.  I was making a decent amount of money but yet that never seemed to be enough.  I needed a car and had to borrow my boyfriend's brother's Chevy Tahoe to get to work forty minutes from my apartment.  Gas was ridiculously expensive, especially in a giant truck/SUV.  I needed my own car, but I had no means of getting one - and there was also that tricky credit score coming back to haunt me again.  

Adulthood and responsibilities and bills and everything that I avoided for the past, I don't know, six years - was really coming to bite me in the ass.  And again, I blamed Los Angeles for it.  I was so far away from home, everything would be easier in Boston, how dare California do this to me!  

And then, I leased a car.  And it wasn't so bad.  It's expensive, for sure, but it's not so bad.  

And then, I started some creative projects - Under Butt being one of them - and it forced me to write all the time and spend every second that I wasn't working to do something that I really loved.  It also forced me to try new things and get out of the house every weekend and do something more than the same old thing.  And with other creative projects, I'm writing outside of my comfort zone and covering wildly different topics and types of writing every week and it's a great muscle to stretch.  

And once those things were starting to shape up, I decided that I was in control of everything in my life.  I thought about all the things that I was unhappy with and figured out a way to change them. 

I'm being moved into a new position at work because I spoke up and expressed interest in a different position and department.  I helped out the department whenever I could, because I was interested in it and they asked me and I enjoyed helping.  Then I took on more responsibilities and different roles with different groups because I asked or expressed interest - and at the end of every day, I'm feeling refreshed and dare I say, happy?  

A co-worker asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I was honest.  I told him I wanted to be a writer - I want to write essays, books, television shows, screenplays.  And I waited for him to laugh but all he said was, "Yeah, obviously. You're in the right place to get your feet wet. You can write here." And as I started making excuses - telling him that I wasn't experienced enough and I was already committed to another department and I've only been here eight months and it'd be weird, etc. - and he said, "So what? Bet on yourself. You have plenty of experience and time to get where you want to get." 

So that's the attitude I'm going into these next couple of months - and the next year - with.  I'm going to bet on myself.  I'm going to make decisions that benefit me and make me better at whatever it is that I want to do in my life.  If it means writing some copy every now and then for brands, writing on my own blogs and not getting paid, submitting to magazines that may or may not publish me or pay me,  writing fluff pieces for websites where I'm definitely not getting paid (but definitely getting exposure) or writing for a YouTube web series that is admittedly fun and stupid - then so be it.  

I'm going to stop making excuses and start betting on myself.  

At the very least, look at what can happen in less than a year when you do that.  You can move to a new city, start a new career, lease a car, take some fun adventures, eat Korean barbecue in Korea(town), take on some fun creative projects, make new friends and generally just be a better version of your previous self. 

1 comment:

Erin said...

It's very encouraging for me to read your posts about job searching and wanting to do creative things. I've been applying to jobs since graduating college in June. Maybe I'm applying to the wrong jobs and need to be more focused. It's good to hear that you're finding your way to a department that would give you more of a creative outlet within the company.

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