Should I get some work experience before moving to LA?

Lauren asks,

I got an AMAZING job in December in my current city. It’s in the entertainment business and we do a lot of corporate parties and weddings. I am sure there is a good market for this out in LA, so I was concerned about moving before I had 2-3 years of experience. Do you think this wise?

I obviously want to move ASAP (I’m 23, this is my first non-cocktail waitressing job out of college) but I’m eager to move young because my connections out there encourage me to take classes at UCB (also possible with a day job like I have now). I currently love the job I have and it’s good for helping me save.

While I’m just ITCHING to get out there, my savings are minimal as I had to get a LOT of work on my car. Won’t have to buy a new one at all to drive out there. But, along with wanting at least two years experience in the entertainment/ special event field, I’m not sure how much I’ll need to save .

Maybe 25 isn’t such a bad age to move.

Do you have a recommendation on how much to save, or a goal for roughly two years? I make a decent living but need to cut back and save more. I’m also slightly worried two years experience won’t be enough to help me get a job.

You’re in an awesome position. Great work.

On one hand, you have the allure of security: [click to continue…]

How to Quit Your Job Without Second-Guessing

An old boss’s office was stuffed with books. Wall to wall.

It left no doubt that his was a business built on NYT bestsellers, same as his predecessor before him, who repped authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, and Elmore Leonard.

Sitting in the chair across from his desk, I stared at the spines of all these books.

Man, he’s been in this business a long time.

I learned a lot. Was on all his calls. Listened to negotiations. Studied literary agreements and learned about reruns, spinoffs & subsequent productions, how to stipulate a sliding purchase price, and the importance of reversion language.

But today I wasn’t in his office for a lesson.

I looked up at him. I told him I was leaving the company to work for a writer. [click to continue…]

What If I Missed My Chance to Work On A Television Show?

A week after my boss agreed I could work half-time so I could pursue another opportunity (more on that later), news of this show broke:


HBO, Paramount Plot ‘Shutter Island’ Series ‘Ashecliffe’ With Martin Scorsese And Dennis Lehane

On one hand, it’s amazing, because I the researcher. I was in the room when Dennis and Tom crafted that story.

On the other hand, by going half-time, I had already shut myself out of the project.

When I saw this story, the emotional reaction was: “Oh man, I am an idiot. What did I just pass up?”

[click to continue…]

Don’t Pay Dues and 3 Soul-Saving Mindsets When You’re Fed Up At Work

At a wedding at the Benjamin Franklin Institute, I explained to my friend Sean how part of my work involved chauffeuring pets to and from vet appointments.

“I don’t know man,” he said. “I don’t think I could do it.” Big Ben (the 100-foot replica of Benjamin Franklin glaring down at us) seemed to agree.

I get it. There are days that made me feel all Anne Hathaway in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. During a recent trip to the vet, the dog expressed her gratitude by leaving a lake in the reception area. I cleaned it up with half a roll of off-brand paper towels, the kind that gets soaked by a gentle mist.

you had one job

After her appointment, I had to take my boss’s car to the DMV to get it inspected and registered. I finished the paperwork and paid for the registration:

“Great, now go get the smog inspection, come back here, and we’ll give you the plates and stickers,” the person said. Another 90 minutes and a smog inspection later, I returned to the DMV and got back in line.

An hour later, I had the plates and stickers. I dropped off the car, and returned to mine, then proceeded to cross the hell hole that is the 405 on a Friday evening.

Total time running errands: 6 hours.

Keep Reading If You’ve Ever Been Fed Up At Work

My inner monologue at these moments used to sound like any other whiny, self-entitled intern or unique snowflake college graduate:

  • “I am too smart to sit in line at the DMV for someone else.”

  • “I have so much more to contribute to the world than chauffeuring around dogs.”

  • “I’m cleaning up my boss’s dog’s piss — what is wrong with this picture?”

Mostly, I was angry. I was frustrated. And I didn’t know how to handle it, or make the situation better.

[click to continue…]

How to Survive 80 Hours a Week as a Hollywood Assistant – Part Two

In the last post, I wrote about Bobby’s Shitty Assistant Job (SAJ), and what he could do to reduce the number of hours he worked.

Today, I’ll cover the second part of Bobby’s question: what if your boss is unable to lessen hours and you’re being paid less than minimum wage?

(Although Bobby doesn’t say it, I’m going to work off the assumption that either: there’s no room for growth at the company, or he doesn’t want to grow within the company.)

That, by definition, is a SAJ. And there’s something so debilitating about feeling stuck in an SAJ that it just saps all the energy out from you, and makes you start questioning your contributions to society:

  • Is this all I’m good for?
  • Am I stuck here forever?
  • What would my parents and friends think?
  • I thought I’d be a millionaire by now — how’d this happen?

These questions send us into a downward spiral of blame and shame. It can take years to realize you’re stuck in a “sick system” (which Todd A eloquently expands upon here), where the only solution is quitting.

I covered quitting thoroughly in Fighting Broke. Today I’ll drill deeper into exactly what to do before you quit an SAJ.

First, though, I want to highlight someone’s downward spiral of blame and shame: my own. [click to continue…]