I’m Wanted

You remember that Monster.com commercial from a few years ago, the one where people danced in abject euphoria to ELO’s “Do Ya, Do Ya Want My Love?” when they got new jobs?

I always wanted to do that.

You know that gig I interviewed for last week, the one I was really hoping to get? Well next month I’m going to have a business card that says “Editor” on it.

So one guess what I’m doing as a result. This might help you figure it out.

And feel free to join in the joy.

Went With The Change-Up

I did something different at the job interview I had this morning — and no it wasn’t that I got there with time to spare (for once). Nah, what I did is going to sound inconsequential to those who don’t know me, but to those closest to me or at least aware of my history it might raise an appreciative eyebrow and/or maybe inspire a “Whoa!”

After introducing myself and shaking hands with the division president whose 10th floor corner office has a view to the east of seemingly everything this side of the Continental Divide, I sat down at his desk.

Then I took my sunglasses off. Put them in my pocket.

Like I said such an act will mean nothing to most — a no-brainer that might provoke a “who the hell would wear sunglasses for a formal interview?”

Normally that who would be me, but I won’t go in gory depth or detail as to why other than to say that to this day I can be very conscientious of the damage my right eye sustained in a motorcycle accident 13 years ago last month. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive — or at least not to the same degree as I did back in 1994 — but I am. That my crutch consists of glass and metal where it could easily consist of a glass and vodka is something I will always consider more than a little victory.

Not that there hasn’t been improvement. Early on after the accident I wore superdark lenses — day and night. Even carried a back-up pair in case I lost them. Then I began lightening them until this last pair I bought in 2001, whose tint frankly is hardly any good in direct sunlight. But it is a tint nonetheless and for better or worse I’ve been not leaving home without them to go wherever I might be directly or indirectly among strangers.

On the elevator ride up to the division president’s office I straightened my tie and stood confidant of the assets I could bring to the position and it dawned on me that I had nothing to hide. And as I thought that, a small shiver ran up the back of my neck at the crazy idea of stepping from behind the psychological protection afforded by my shields.

Honestly, it surprised me when I did just that a few minutes later in his 10th floor office with the killer vista. Was it indicative of how immediately comfortable I felt in the surroundings? Maybe. But I didn’t really think about it, I just pulled them off and put them in my pocket. It’s open to debate whether me taking off my shades helped me this morning or leaving them on has been a hindrance in past interviews. But as successful and productive as I think the interview went, I’m all the more proud for having the courage — and it is courage — to eliminate them as a potential distraction and to openly face the man who may very well be my next boss.

Sure, I put them back on when I left the building. But it was bright outside.

Next Phase

Following up on my post last Friday about the excellent phone interview I had for a job I applied for,  I had a phone call today with the company’s HR person and from that a person-to-person meeting has been set up in West L.A. for Wednesday morning with the company’s president.

Nice.

The Unadulterated Thrill Of A Good Interview

I’m not fully letting go with the whooping and hollering just yet. I’ve done so with past job interviews that I thought I’d nailed only to be let down like a lemming off a cliff in a Disney film.

But at the same time I just got off the phone with an editorial director of a national company looking for someone to take the reigns of one of their trade magazine based in West L.A.  and I can’t help but be excited at how well the conversation went.

Fingers crossed.

Keeping My Eye To The Keyhole

When I think back upon my vaaaast array of employments, my favorites have involved me being outside. Be it paperboy for the Herald Examiner in Hollywood (or later during high school when my mom was that paper’s  Echo Park/Silver Lake/Los Feliz distributor) or a foot messenger walking a beat in Century City (even though it was during the horrible Santa Monica Pier-destroying El Niño winter of 1983, too) or scooting around town in my Mazda GLC hatchback as a city-wide “consulate liaison” (a glorified courier), or a Sparkletts Man in Glendale/Glassell Park/Atwater Village the truth is I’m often times more content to be out of an office than inside one.

Nothing’s brought that more home than my having been in Cubicle 759J on the cavernous 7th floor of a cavernous LAX-adjacent office building this past three months, where being a temp more often than not I’m still looked at sideways by the regulars as the outsider, the corporate equivalent of a platoon’s FNG. I’m cool with that mostly, but the fact that a quarter of a fiscal year later I’m still this unknown or unknowable outsider can’t help but rankle a bit.

So when I got an email yesterday short-notice announcing a jobfair today at a place a bit further down the road looking for candidates with clean DMV records to don company uniforms and drive company vehicles around the greater L.A. area and do a specific type of work I thought about how frustrating it’s been soliciting my wares as a writer/editor this past 18 months (well maybe 15 since the first three I just pretty much walked around the neighborhood feeling really pathetic), and decided I’d iron a shirt this morning, take out my earring, go get me a copy of my driving record and put in an application.

Maybe the pay ain’t so great and the commute might be even worse than Silver Lake to El Segundo and who knows what else, but the fact is where I’m at now is going to dry up soon (if not before our vacation next month, than shortly thereafter) and the rarefied air of journalism gets thinner with every rejection, and the blue collar aspects of the potential position definitely appeal to my inner outdoors type. So we’re just going to go see what we’ll see.

UPDATE (12:51 p.m.): Well the first-stage application/prelim-interview went well, but at such a low hourly-rate I’d be hardpressed to take any offered gig unless subsequent interview levels reveal some sort of opportunity for fast-track advancement.

About Rhymes With Doubt

Sigh. I’ve written before about applying for what seems like the perfect gig and not getting it. I’ve wallowed in self pity and frustration, but I’m not going to do that today — or at least try not to.

You put yourself forward as an ideal candidate and you get kicked to the curb. That’s just the reality of the creative marketplace.

But the jobs that come on the wayback to haunt you pack a pretty good wallop. The ones where you submit a resume and get a “thanks but nope” letter a week later… that’s cool. Over and done. But for the jobs applied for and then days/weeks/months pass and nothing happens and you either forget about them entirely like it feels they did you, or at best they become dimly lit recollections in the recesses of your memory…? It smarts when they come back on the scene with a smackdown.

Such as it was with About.com. I believe my New York-based friend Timothy Hughes forwarded the job description to me back in a waning January and I agreed with him when he said it sounded something for which I was tailor-made. It’s been so long I can’t even completely remember the specifics of the assignment other than it being something about wanting a contributing writer/editor capable of scribing about the ins, ups, downs and outs of Los Angeles. The slam and the glam and the gritty and the nitty.

And I thought daaaaamn but I could do that. I could do that with a bullet wound to the arm and my hair on fire. A chance to cover my native land like a blanket? That’s for me.

So I meticulously followed their submission instructions and custom-built a crisp application package that by an elaborate process of elimination included a clip of a past L.A. story of mine that I felt captured both my senses of writing style and of the city. I sent it off, they received it and told me to hang tight no tighter and they’d be in touch.

So January ends and February begins and ends and so does March and by the time April hits the beach and starts marching inland, patience isn’t an issue; recall is.

So About.com obliged me by finally reaching across close to a quarter of a year to sucker punch me in my stomach reminding me today of what I’d long forgotten:

William,
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Guide at About.com. We appreciate the hard work and effort put forth in your application. However, we have not accepted your application for entry into prep. Common reasons for not being accepted are:

* We were looking for someone with different qualifications
* The writing sample was not exactly what we were looking for

Again, thank you for taking the time to apply and we wish you luck with any future endeavors.

Thank you,
About.com Editorial Team

Oh yeah… a Guide. That was it.

Apparently “Ed” Was Wrong

Couple-three weeks ago you might recall I hauled my buddypal “Ed” out of the shadows of trollville and introduced him to whoever seven of you happened to be reading my blog that day. If you don’t want to click that link I’ll just nutshell it for you:

  1. I wrote a sneering post in response to a January 8 L.A. Times article that went make-me-gag ga-ga over the joys of reallyreallyreally expensive custom bicycles and the really rich and/or debt-riddled dudes who ride them.
  2. Four days later “Ed” must have googled “sneering post about custom bicycles,” found my take on the matter and came back with a really bright comment expressing a flagrant lack of understanding as to why I’m having such a pill over the topic. Despite proving himself a phony-name-using idiot for not being able to figure out the answer to that on his own, he showed a remarkable ability to bring his own special brand of genius from straight outta nowhere and peg me as unemployable because I think $8,000 bikes are stupid.
  3. I responded to that pathetic smooth-brained low blow insult by virtually pointing and laughing and by seriously considered showing up at his Hollywood workplace (found via a very basic bit of sleuthing wherein I Whois’d the IP number captured with his comment) and taking a really big sniff until I discerned the very unique aroma of I-didn’t-realize-I-could-be-tracked-down-that-way asshat that could only come from him.

Of course I let sleeping tards lay and didn’t dare seek out the bonehead. In fact, other than some residual harumphing in the immediate aftermath wondering if he’d come back to troll some more and stoke the smoldering blaze with another stupid comment (he didn’t), I forgot about “Ed” and the weak wound he inflicted and got back to the job of finding a job and only just now thought about him having just gotten off the phone and found out that I’m starting Monday back at a new gig in El Segundo. Yes, it’s the same company as before (but a different department), and yes it’s only temporary (but with the potential after this project is compeleted of longer-term work if I want it), and yes there’s that annoying commute. But frankly I could be traveling farther to work for a lot less than the $30 bucks an hour I’ll be making (which will buy me a lot of bus tokens).

And the relief just to be generating a positive cash flow? Priceless.