You don’t have to do this.
Whenever I’m getting my ass kicked, that’s what I tell myself (only in my head, though — that’s not the type of self-affirmation you tape on your computer screen for your boss to see).
Days where all I want are 20 minutes of silence so I can sit and read a contract to make my comments, but the phones interject like an eager-beaver third grader who knows the answer, hand raised and ass off the chair.
Or I spent my entire morning canceling a flight and getting the reward points back from Delta only to reapply them the next day.
Or 30 client checks come all at once, bundled up and tied with a rubberband, like returned letters of a unrequited love, and I resign myself to spending the afternoon processing money, dimly aware that at some point in my college career I switched my business major from accounting to marketing because I couldn’t tell the difference between a credit and a debit.
Or when a Boss acts like an asshole.
I remind myself:
There’s No Reason to Be Here
Unless I want to be here.
Seriously. I mean that…
To get into entertainment, we didn’t have to sink $150K and three years of our lives into a law degree, only to enter the job market with this financial anchor wrapped around our waist that’ll affect every decision we make. (Only to realize we hate practicing law and we’ve made a terrible mistake.)
We didn’t spend four years in medical school, plus another three in residency, only to emerge with a MD and the fatal realization the last seven years were dictated by what our parents wanted for us.
Relatively speaking, getting into entertainment is a low sunk cost, and (related but probably not causal,) leaving to do something different comes with a low opportunity cost.
“Well, what would you do?” you may ask.
- I could take 9 weeks and become a programmer, like this guy.
- I could always go back to working in restaurants.
- Or any of these jobs listed here. Or posted on this list.
There are a hundred options.
Only Stay in the Entertainment Field
If you think it’s going to be worthwhile. If you think (not “know,” knowing only ever happens in hindsight, anyone who tells you differently is naive or lying) that this is where you want to be, then stick with it. No, entertainment doesn’t have to be “the only thing you can see yourself doing.” You don’t have to love the role. You should, however, have an inkling of how this current role will take you to your next role, and a plan to get there.
If The Problem is the Role
Find a new one.
I know that sounds flippant. It’s true though. Find another job. We can give any number of reasons why it’s not “a good time” to leave our current role, but 90% of the time the reason only has two flavors:
- You don’t want your boss to be mad
- You don’t know where you’d go.
If You Don’t Want Your Boss to be Mad
- Get over it. As an assistant, you may feel like the hub. That without you, the company would crumble into a quivering mass of brainless appendages and writhing torsos, not unlike every episode of NCIS ever made.
- Get over yourself. This company survived before you arrived. It’ll survive after you leave. Any respectable business is not hinged upon the assistant.
- Your bosses might dislike you. Good. It’s good practice, being unpopular. If you were good at your job, gave a fair amount of notice and didn’t screw anyone over on your transition out, then they’ll get over it.
- People leave. That’s a part of doing business.
If The Problem is Finding Other Opportunities
- The best time to create avenues to other jobs is when you have a job. What do you think all that time you took out of your day to get drinks or have lunch with other people was about?To develop relationships with people you genuinely like.To find ways to help them.And so they can find ways to help you.The whole reason for a network is to have an army of people who can help you, should you need it. Asking for help doesn’t suddenly make you insincere. The ground work for that army is laid months before you ask for help — if you weren’t generous with your time and your resources, if you didn’t connect with someone at a deeper level, (it happens) then they won’t be there for you anyway.
- Know what the job market looks like at any given moment. That means before you’re “officially” on the market, know what positions are opening up. Peruse job boards and read the descriptions. When your friends tell you something opened up, inquire about it. Anticipate company restructuring and the landscape of entertainment as a whole. Ask what your friends are making in their roles.Take an interview to know what companies are looking for in their candidates. Keep notes on these, and what other assistants are telling you about their interviews.
The option to move — in-and-out of a field, in-and-out of roles, is a skill and resource that takes work. It’s developed over time. It gives you a sense of abundance. That you’re a person with options. Having options, never feeling like you’re backed against the wall, is crucial for a Zen Assistant.
Photo Credit: marfis75