On The Prowl For A New Job? The Rumor Is True: It’s All Who You Know

job referrals

When you’re hunting for work, your instincts urge you to spend 24/7 on LinkedIn, to incessantly investigate every online job board, and to send out a billion resumes because “it’s all a numbers game.”

Sure, there can be some worth in the digital hustle, but I found the true magic sauce: referrals.

Get this: every job I’ve scored throughout the last 13 years has been through a referral.

No joke. Every employment opportunity, both staff and freelance, has been because of connections I’ve made. I only discovered this a few weeks ago, when I carefully traced a path along my career trajectory to investigate how I ended up at my current gig (aka heaven on earth…well, heaven in downtown, anyway).

When I moved to Los Angeles circa 2003, I needed a job as quickly as possible, which meant either waiting tables or selling fruit on Hollywood Blvd. I scoured Craigslist and found a post for some local catering company that needed servers. (Ok, fine, that’s the ONLY job I didn’t get through a referral, but I didn’t  know anyone at the time, so it doesn’t count.) I shudder to think about how I looked in those pleated tuxedo pants and cummerbund. Spoiler alert: I looked like a chubby panda bear sporting a ponytail.

During training, I met a cool guy from the east coast and we became fast friends. Casey and I laughed our way through countless shifts and I sulked when he quit a couple months later. He started working at an outdoor restaurant in downtown L.A and immediately got me an interview with the manager. Time to burn that cummerbund!

And so it began…

Exhibit #1 – HI, MAY I TAKE YOUR ORDER?

For the next 2.5 years, I doled out cheeseburgers, greasy quesadillas, and forced smiles. I went through a few hundred pens, dozens of lost wine keys, and thousands of white collared shirts. The more double-shifts I powered through, the more I wondered what to do with my life. Eventually Casey moved on again, but this time he called with exciting news: the post-production company next to his new job needed a receptionist and he could easily get me an interview. I knew nothing about post-production, but I was desperate to hang up my apron and not smell like stale food scraps all the time.

Exhibit #2 – POST-PRODUCTION + THE 7 YEAR ITCH

Thrilled to toss out my putrid outfits and psyched for my new (albeit longer) commute, I started with typical receptionist duties like phones, lunch, errands and coffee runs. Over time, my responsibilities multiplied, and 7 years later I’d worked my way up to Business Manager. The steady employment allowed me a sense of stability, but I kept thinking I was destined to do something else. After some soul searching and tons of research, I decided to go back to school. I picked a certificate program at UCLA Extension and told my bosses about the plan. Though they assured me that I could attend school and reduce my hours with no threat to my employment, they let me go a few weeks later. I like to think that I got the axe because they wanted me to have more time for homework.

Exhibit #3 – PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN HIP HIP HOLLYWOOD

Suddenly unemployed, I panicked about my lack of income but loved every moment of school. I sat up front for every lecture and lapped up the lessons like a thirsty puppy. I even griped to my new favorite professor about needing a job. Amazingly, he knew of an opening at a cool branding company in Hollywood and said he’d put in a good word for me. The following week I met with the owner of the agency and BOOM – I began working as a part-time Project Manager. I handled website launches, oversaw design projects, dealt with clients, and learned tons about digital. As much as I enjoyed the folks I worked with, I slowly realized that I wanted to be on the creative side of things. I wanted to write. Later that year, I (dubiously) submitted my resignation in order to enter the freelance writing game.

Exhibit  #4 – FREELANCE PANTS + WAITRESSING 2.0

While I worked on building a solid portfolio, I needed supplementary dough, so I begrudgingly waited tables at the same downtown restaurant from 10 years prior. (How’s that for life coming full-circle?) Even though the apron came with a sense of contempt, this time I knew that waitressing was merely a means to an end, and only temporary. Now I had direction. I had goals. So I polished silverware, grinned through bad gratuities, and enthusiastically folded napkins. I took on side gigs from various clients (all referrals!) and developed a collection of writing samples that I adored. About 11 months later, that rad professor from UCLA got hired at a production company, and got me an interview for a position on his team. Fun fact: the CEO was intrigued that I had video jingles in my portfolio and during my interview he requested that I perform one live. I felt terribly awkward but he loved it and asked me to start on Monday.

Exhibit #5 – AN EXERCISE IN DIGITAL FUTILITY

As a Content Producer on the brand new digital team, I showed up with a shiny attitude and a yearning to utilize all the knowledge I’d amassed over the years. In the beginning, I got to manage a few website launches, write a bunch of fun articles, and interview hilarious comedians for the company’s syndicated TV show. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t really ready to go digital, so eventually my team dispersed in search of new opportunities. A sweet coworker knew that I was seeking a fresh creative opportunity, and set me up with an interview at a very cool tech start-up in the pet industry. The clouds parted. A golden ray of sunshine peeked into my life.

Exhibit #6 – PURRFECTION

Digital + writing + pets + tech = paradise. I’m happy as a kitten in a cargo of catnip. As a dog with a bucket of bacon. As a grateful gal at her dream job.

So therein lies the assortment of job referrals that brought me here. Word-of-mouth has been my best form of self-promotion. If you have the chance, I urge you to always recommend friends and colleagues for employment opportunities. And hopefully they will do the same. Because the adage is true: it’s all who you know.

Battle Of The Nighttime Nags – A Dialogue Between A Girl And Her Brain

Slide1

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

Moonlight peeks through the vertical blinds, illuminating 3 sleeping cats on the giant bed. A frazzled, angry brunette lies awake, staring despondently at the digital clock beside her. 3:28am. A loud, annoying voice startles her.

BRAIN:
Oh hey! Sorry to wake you. But did you hear that noise coming from the living room?

KIM: (sitting up)
No. What was it?

BRAIN:
Probably the cat knocking something off the counter.

KIM:
But all the cats are in here.

BRAIN:
So it’s probably a machete-wielding lunatic here to murder you and kill the cats.

KIM:
Ohmygawd.

BRAIN:
Just kidding. It’s fine. Go back to sleep. You know, if you fall asleep right now, you can sneak in another 3 hours and 32 minutes.

KIM:
Good. Shut up so I can go back to sleep.

BRAIN:
Ok, ok….hey maybe that noise was your loud bodybuilder neighbor upstairs. He’s probably doing naked pushups in the living room.

KIM:
If I looked like him, I probably would too. But not at 3:30 in the morning. Now shut up!

BRAIN:
Fine, just let the sound of your fan drown me out. Having white noise is supposed to help you sleep. But have you noticed that the blades of the fan are spinning around kinda unevenly, and it’s making a weird scraping sound? Might wanna get that fixed. Or buy a new fan.

KIM:
Cool. I’ll be sure to do that next weekend. Please stop talking.

BRAIN:
But aren’t you insanely thirsty?

KIM: (groan)
Ugh. Yeah, actually I am. But I’m too lazy to get out of bed.

BRAIN:
Well, good, cuz the only things in your fridge are white wine and stale chipotle mayo.

KIM:
F*ck.

BRAIN:
Hey, speaking of wine, remember the time you got wasted at that cute restaurant on 3rd street and developed a drunken case of kleptomania?

KIM:
It was a candle. And I wasn’t that drunk.

BRAIN:
Still. Who goes into a bathroom, blows out the incredible-smelling candle by the sink, and shoves it into their purse?

KIM:
Please. It probably cost them a dollar. And I got wax all over my purse.

BRAIN:
Karma, betch. You sure you don’t want to get up and get a glass of tap water?

KIM:
I’d rather shrivel up from dehydration. OH SH*T…I forgot to pay the water bill last week.

BRAIN:
Eh, don’t worry. You’ll just have to pay an exorbitant late fee. Speaking of water, how much longer is this stupid drought gonna last?

KIM:
Yeah, it’s whack. I may have to move back to the east coast. Perhaps I can think about that tomorrow, PROVIDED I GET SOME F***IN SLEEP TONIGHT!

BRAIN:
I can’t believe how warm it is there. Hey, remember that guy Dan you dated in 7th grade? I wonder if he ever found out that you cheated on him with his cousin.

KIM:
Who cares?

BRAIN:
You should probably get up and find him on Facebook and see what he’s been up to.

KIM:
F*ck that. I’m getting up and finding Xanax.

BRAIN:
Fine, but good luck waking up at 7.

KIM:
I hate you.

Kim furiously whips off the covers and settles in front of the TV with a pile of cheese.

FADE OUT.

My Friends Are All…And I’m All…

adulting

My friends are all, “Can’t decide between the black granite vessel or Italian ceramic sink for our bathroom renovation” and I’m all, “Just watchin’ The Simpsons in mah underwear.”

sink

homer-simpson

My friends are all, “Crazy that my baby girl is starting 5th grade this week!” and I’m all, “Who’s coming to my kitty’s birthday party tomorrow?”

My friends are all, “So excited to make this garlic-rosemary-roasted-artichoke-chicken-and-pureed-leeks recipe I found on Pinterest!” and I’m all, “F*** you microwave for burning my frozen burrito.”

chicken

My friends are all, “5 year anniversary dinner with the hubs. #blessed” and I’m all, “I just used my sock as a napkin.”

candle dinner

My friends are all, “Poor Lillie is sobbing after she fell off her big girl bike & got a boo-boo on her knee,” and I’m all, “Moooooooom, I’m watching Rocky 4 and no one likes me.”

girl fell

My friends are all, “Just put in an offer for a 4 bedroom Colonial” and I’m all, “Better start claiming my cats as dependents if I wanna upgrade to a 1 bedroom apartment.”

house

pretty kitties

My friends are all, “Facebook check in: Boston to Bali via Amazeballs Airlines” and I’m all, “Guess who’s driving to Santa Monica and has two thumbs? This betch, that’s right.”

bali

traffic jam

My friends are all, “Beautiful roses from the hubs today for my birthday. #blessed #bae” and I’m all, “Cat barfed up my dying plant.”

kitty-plant

My friends are all, “So psyched to submit my film to Sundance!” and I’m all “I just wrote a blog post and my mom thinks I’m hilarious.”

writer

lisa

My friends are all, “Getting up at 7 to do yoga” and I’m all, “Stayed up til 2 watching informercials and eating cheese.”

yoga

cheese

Sartronic: Anxiety Coming Up With New, Innovative Things To Keep You Awake At Night

Insomnia

Despite a recent surge in sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, increased exercise routines, and healthy eating habits, local emotional trainwrecks have reported that they’re experiencing a flood of new topics that are disrupting their once-normal sleep routines. Even with remedies to combat nighttime restlessness, many anxiety-ridden adults have found that their efforts are a vain attempt to fight unrelenting mental turmoil.

Megan Rebart, an executive assistant at Hollings Realty, says that she used to be able to fall asleep right away, but now lies awake for 45 minutes each night freaking out about random sh*t. “It totally sucks,” gripes Rebart. “I’ll be reading a book in bed, trying to quiet my mind, when suddenly an explosion of adrenaline surges through my stomach and I want to barf.” Rebart claims the source of her newfound stress is natural disasters. “Sinkholes are freakin’ terrifying. Like, how scary is it that the ground can just collapse without any warning? Every time my boss sells a new house, I’m convinced their property is gonna cave in and get scorched by the earth’s crust.”

Ben Thompson, another basket case who works with Rebart, complains that his nocturnal freak outs are due to an annoying and pointless stream of consciousness. “My mind keeps jumping from one topic to another. It’s like WHAM, I sounded so stupid in today’s meeting, then WHAM, did I forget to lock the front door, WHAM, I just thought of the perfect comeback to that moron VP who insulted me from 3 jobs ago, and WHAM why has my lymph node been swollen this long, I probably have some deadly throat infection and need to check if that’s covered by my crappy insurance.”

Ben’s girlfriend Natalia suffers from relationship-related anxiety, but she recently discovered an untapped well of issues to fret about during bedtime. “I used to just bug out that he didn’t want to marry me. But the last few weeks, all I think about is how he doesn’t have a 401k, go to the dentist, own a passport, or cook his chicken all the way through. Our babies would be poor, toothless, and full of salmonella.” At press time, Natalia and Ben laid awake staring at the broken ceiling fan.

Sartronic: New Study Indicates That Men Love Ultimatums

Ultimatum

WESTWOOD, CA – Experts at the University of California Psychology Department released a new study on Friday that revealed men love ultimatums. A comprehensive research process gathered data from more than 5,000 males who’ve all received ultimatums from their significant other, and results showed that nearly all of the participants were grateful that their girlfriend or fiancé forced them into a decision that they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

“We’re thrilled to see that men enjoy caving in to womens’ demands, despite prior evidence to the contrary,” said Brian Doyle, Director of UCLA ’s Behavioral Lab. “Our statistics show that unless a man is challenged and backed into a corner, a woman may never get what she wants. And once he gives in to her, he’ll be grateful that he had to put his ego and self-respect aside.”

Doyle’s team spent hours drawing Venn diagrams and pie charts to develop theories about this attitudinal shift. David Clark, Head of Research at the institute, believes that after dominating the business world for so long, men are happy to sit back and let women dictate every detail of their personal lives. “It really makes sense when you think about it,” said Clark. “A man would never actually want to get married or have a baby. Having a woman manipulate him into achieving these life milestones is a refreshing and welcome change from his previously fulfilling and carefree lifestyle.”

Local customer service representative Allen Paisley echoed the same sentiment, noting that before he married Leslie, his wife of 4 years, he had major commitment issues. “I used to hate when girls slept over – they were just so clingy and needy. When Leslie and I started dating, I wouldn’t even let her keep a toothbrush here. And I probably could have just kept on dating her forever but eventually she said we’re either breaking up, or getting married. I think by pressuring me into marrying her, she made me a better person.” At press time, Paisley was staring aimlessly into his lukewarm cup of coffee.

Sartronic: Local Girlfriend Pretends To Care About Football

football

HOLLYWOOD, CA – Tilting her head slightly to the side so it’d appear that she was actually interested and paying attention, local girlfriend Katie Titus waited patiently for Shawn Williams to finish explaining why the Broncos would win the Superbowl this year. Though the couple has reportedly been dating for over 2 years, Katie never disclosed the fact that she f*cking hates football. “Since I’m from Massachusetts, I’m supposed to be some diehard Patriots fan but honestly, I couldn’t care less. It’s wicked annoying that a 15 minute quarter actually turns into a f*cking hour because they keep stopping the stupid clock. And football fans are the most annoying people in the world. You don’t need to get up and scream every time there’s a tackle or something. Plus, I hate when Shawn goes to a bar at 10 in the morning and has beer with his eggs.” At press time, Shawn was clapping loudly about a touchdown while Katie contemplated how many Sex & The City reruns she’d force Shawn to watch later that day.

Sartronic: Idiot Client Can’t Figure Out How To Update Internet Explorer

IE

HOLLYWOOD, CA – Scrunching up his face in baffled confusion, local entrepreneur Elliot Walden scratched his balding head as he asked web developer Andy Beck how to upgrade his goshdarn Internet Explorer. Beck was recently hired by Walden to make some website updates, since Walden’s online sock shop just rolled out some exciting new styles. It’s reported that Beck made the requested changes within a few hours, but Walden wasn’t able to see the new argyle apparel as he eagerly clicked from page to page. Beck calmly informed Walden that he needed to upgrade the Internet Explorer on his 2007 Dell, but Walden demanded to be walked through this complicated doggone process. “I mean, this guy is such a moron. He doesn’t even know how to clear his browser history. And who the hell even uses Internet Explorer anymore? It’s bad enough he has an AOL email address,” griped Beck. At press time, Walden was asking Beck if he should be pressing the Control, Alt, or Delete keys, looking thoroughly befuddled.