zen assistant

Zen Assistant: Case Study – Quitting Your Job (Part 6 of 5)

Before I left my last job, I got the following email:

quit job email

What’s fascinating, is as more people read this blog (significantly more than the 6 people per week who found it via Google during the first year), more of real life bleeds into my writing, and vice versa.

As I navigate my career, I have this platform to share what I’m learning.

Then, as I write and research and learn, it informs decisions in my career.

Which is a looooong way of saying: I’m still learning.

That email above, (hat tip to Brian Price) reminds me this is all a process. Everything I share, I’ve tried, they work, and they’re strategies that will work for others, too.

However, I still will take plenty of missteps — in my career, in relationships, in personal finance…

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The Hollywood Assistant’s Ultimate Resource on Getting Health Insurance

I love my friends. Really, I do.

But sometimes they do things that make me want to Anderson-Silva my own shin in half. Like post dumb things such as:

Obama Care Rant

Another ObamaCare rant? Stop.

In case you missed it, this is what I mean by “Anderson-Silva”


I understand the frustration. Especially if you work in Hollywood:

Assistants work for producers, who insist it’s a great learning experience, but they just can’t afford buying them health insurance.

Actors / waiters wait tables or tend bar between gigs, for an employer who doesn’t offer health insurance.

The recently unemployed, out of a “secure job” and scouring LinkedIn, who think their only choice for health insurance is COBRA at $460 per month. Which seems like an awful lot for something you probably won’t use. Especially when you have no income.

I sympathize.

However, I live in the real world.

The real world doesn’t care about your rants against “the man” or how much you despise “the system.”

In the real world, nationwide health care is happening. It’s an (admittedly) imperfect system. But it’s a system implemented so that no matter your income level, if you get T-boned by some asshole in a Prius trying to beat the red on La Brea, your medical bills won’t bankrupt you…

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Zen Assistant – How to Quit Your Job (Part 5 of 5) – The Importance of Side Projects

Not everyone in LA has a job.

Instead, what we have are “projects.”

Cynics would say this is pie-in-the-VANILLA SKY, Candyland bullshit. A delaying tactic to avoid joining the “real world.”

And sometimes… they’d be right.

We All Know Those People

The actor waiting tables who hasn’t attended an acting class or booked an audition in years.

The writer serving skinny mocha’s, who spends more time critiquing movies than punching keys.

Bill Lawrence (EP of COUGAR TOWN, SCRUBS) had a part-time job landscaping when he first moved to LA. He’d meet other guys on the job who said they were writers, too. “I told them, I’d love to read your stuff…”

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Zen Assistant: How To Quit Your Job (Part 4 of 5) – Networking

In this Zen Assistant series we’ve been talking about how to quit your job.

We covered the reasons to quit, whether or not you need your next gig lined up, and creating an exit strategy.

In this post, I’ll cover how networking plays into quitting.

Using Your Weak Ties

A huge component of your exit strategy is tapping into your network, what Meg Jay calls your “weak ties:”

Best friends are great for giving rides to the airport, but twenty-somethings who huddle together with like-minded peers limit who they know, what they know, how they think, how they speak, and where they work. That new piece of capital, that new person to date almost always comes from outside the inner circle. New things come from what are called our weak ties, our friends of friends of friends.So yes, half of twenty-somethings are un- or under-employed. But half aren’t, and weak tiesare how you get yourself into that group. Half of new jobs are never posted, so reaching out to your neighbor’s boss is how you get that un-posted job. It’s not cheating. It’s the science of how information spreads.

If the reason you’re thinking of creating a network now is because you need help finding a job — then you’re already too late…

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Zen Assistant: How To Quit Your Job (Part 3 of 5) – Exit Strategy

You have one, don’t you?

An exit strategy, I mean.

When it’s time to leave your company, whether it’s a studio, a prod co, or an agency, do it with a plan. It doesn’t have to Danny Ocean-like in its complexity, but it should cover the bases (which I’ll cover, below).

Why Do You Need an Exit Strategy?

“But I already have my next job lined up. Beyond that, what plan do I need?”

An exit strategy goes beyond whether or not you have a job lined up the moment you burst through the doors, belting Broadway tunes like Hugh Jackman at the Oscars. (In fact, if you have a cache of cash, securing your next gig isn’t even the most important detail to nail down.)

The most important element is this: if at all possible, you should…

Leave the Company Better than When You Started

Ever been in the Boy / Girl Scouts?

Me neither. But apparently, they have a certain philosophy post-camping, post-Kumbayah-ing: leave the camp ground cleaner than how you found it. 

Whenever possible, treat your job the same way…

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