How I Scored The Best Job I’ve Ever Had

So. Recently I started working at an awesome company doing incredibly fun things.

I somehow lucked out and scored a job that allows me to write. To interview comedians. And to utilize everything I’ve learned in the last 11 years about web design, web development and digital marketing. #WinWinWin

I’ll be honest – for the last year, I’d been filled with doubts and fears. I didn’t mind waiting tables and freelancing, but as bills piled up and friends from home were getting married, buying huge houses and creating babies…I was washing my apron, grimacing at my bank statements and feeling like a broke useless oaf who drinks cheap whiskey.

Then the clouds parted and I got that call. That amazing call. That job offer call. Obviously I accepted.

I thought about what I’d done to land such a killer opportunity. And I realized that once I’d decided to be a writer, there were a few things that definitely helped me get where I am.

1) Decide what you wanna do. Then take actionable steps to make it happen.

When I left my perfectly stable job as a Project Manager to pursue writing, the first thing I needed to do was….write! I had no portfolio, and the few pieces I’d previously written didn’t do much to showcase any kind of diversity. So I started blogging. Started tweeting more. Made a few more video jingles. And wrote some articles about bars and restaurants in the West Hollywood area.

2) Make yourself visible.

Wouldn’t it have looked weird if I called myself a writer/ content creator, but kept my Twitter posts and Youtube videos set to private? Don’t make it difficult for people to find you. If you take the time to create good work, don’t hide it!

Bad, bad, bad!

Bad, bad, bad!

3) Prove that you’re a pro.

Once I had some solid writing samples, an active Twitter feed and a healthy blog, I needed a proper website to showcase my best work in one place. I purchased my domain and sought out a talented web designer. I hired an amazing photographer. I bought some rad business cards. Basically, I cleaned out my checking account to make myself look professional. Best decision ever.

Wonder if Moo.com will accept an IOU?

Wonder if Moo.com will accept an IOU?

4) Give your LinkedIn some lovin’.

Like a good girl, I brought 3 copies of my resume to the big interview. But when I sat down in the conference room, I saw that they’d already printed out copies of my LinkedIn profile. How embarrassing would it’ve been if my profile looked incomplete, sad and skimpy? Don’t underestimate the importance of having a nice robust LinkedIn page. And don’t be shy about listing accomplishments or anything else that helps you stand out. My new boss was impressed that I’d taken a dozen classes at UCLA in 2012, and liked that I’d listed poetry among my college writing activities.

Upload a photo, you dingbat!

Upload a photo, you dingbat!

5) Be yourself.

If you know me, you know that I’m loud, very hyper and always a bit animated. On my way to the interview, I thought that I should perhaps hold back as not to scare off a potential employer. But as I chatted with my new bosses, I relaxed and let them get to know the real me. Fun fact: I performed one of my jingles live during the job interview…without music. Hey, sometimes you just gotta be a goofball!

Look who found the perfect outfit for her interview!

Look who found the perfect outfit for her interview!

Look Mom, I Have A Real Website!

After lots of maniacal laughter, too many cups of coffee, and a couple (ok….several…) empty bottles of bourbon, I am thrilled that my new website is up and runnin!

Peep the loveliness here.

It’s quite exciting to see my writing samples gathered together in one package out there on the interwebs. It’s been a fun little journey and I definitely learned a few excellent lessons, like:

1) Don’t get frugal when it comes to photography.

When I decided to use that particular web layout, it was apparent that I needed high quality imagery. I had a couple of mild panic attacks when I envisioned a pixelated homepage slider with pictures that made me look 20 pounds chubbier. Thankfully I utilized the incredibly talented Chris Panagakis, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Chris is creative, hilarious, professional, and absolutely mind-blowingly talented. Plus, he has two adorable cats, a beautiful doggy, and doesn’t judge if you need a lil certain something to help you act natural in front of the camera.

2) Don’t get frugal when it comes to web design and development.

Unless you’re confident that you can design, build, and launch your website without messing it up, hire a pro. And not like your cousin’s roommate’s best friend who says he’s a pro, but doesn’t realize that Flash is a no-no. Hire a real design and/ or dev person. I was lucky to work with Typografx and I’m so grateful for the experience! Tony is incredibly efficient, brilliant and truly knows everything about design and dev. He even talked me out of having flying toasters on my homepage. Just kidding. Seriously though, Tony is  totes the bomb diggity.

3) Be organized.

The more organized you are, the more organized your website is. Make a nice clean site map. Double check it. Gather all of the text and images you want. Put them in folders and subfolders. Label everything clearly. If you want changes made to your website before it goes live, submit the changes to your developer in a consolidated list (not 19 separate emails). If you do send 19 separate emails, apologize for being a jerk. (Like my email titled “Did you know that Tronic means ‘annoying b****’ in Russian?”)

4) Think of your website as an investment, not an expense.

Hey, you gotta spend money to make money right? And part of that is making investments in yourself. And once you see the true value in doing that, you just want to hug teddy bears all day.

Hand Me My Apron: Why I Left The “Office World” After 7 Years To Once Again Serve Steak & Cheeseburgers

“Scuse me, miss, are you sure this is decaf?”

“Can we split the check 5 ways?”

“Do you have free refills?”

“This fork looks a little dirty.”

“This doesn’t taste like Ginger Ale. Did you just mix Coke and  7up together?”

These are phrases that I rejoiced in NEVER hearing again when I quit my job waiting tables in 2006.

I started waiting tables in the summer of 2000. I’d just finished my freshman year in college (love you, Emerson!) and rather than move back to my parent’s house in North Andover, I chose to move in with a couple strangers about 10 minutes outside of Boston. Though I had no prior experience, I scored a job at Pizzeria Uno’s. Yay, deep dish pepperoni cellulite!

A few months, several shattered dishes, and countless fattening pizzas later, I got hired at a family-style Italian restaurant (love you, Vinny Testa’s!). I worked there for the next 3 years as a server, bartender, and hostess. I really developed my “I-hate-you-and-I-hope-you-choke-on-a-mushroom-but-I’m-going-to-charm-your-socks-off” demeanor at Vinny T’s.

In 2003, I packed up my belongings (along with my dignity) and moved to LA. Soon thereafter I began working at an outdoor restaurant at the LA Music Center and waited on hungry theater-goers for the next few years. I laughed, I cried, I accidentally dropped 2 of my cell phones in the toilet, and made some amazing friends during that time. But when an opportunity arose in 2006 to work at a CG postproduction house, I had to take it. I hung up my apron, threw my disgustingly stinky “serving” clothes in the trash, and vowed to never again cry about a bad gratuity.

And now, 7 years later, I’m returning to the wonderful world of waiting tables.

After a lot of deliberation, soul searching, and encouragement from a few awesome people, I decided to pursue a career as a writer. It was time to bid farewell to office life and step into a new world. Saying goodbye to my awesome cute bosses, gorgeous desk and beautiful iMac  meant that I needed new employment…and quickly. I struggled with the decision to once again wait tables. I’d been so ecstatic knowing I would never again have to ask how you want your burger cooked. And now here I am, with my tail between my legs and pen in hand, ready to take your order. Would you like a baked potato or veggies on the side?

But being a server grants me the freedom and flexibility to nurture my creative side. I can type away at my laptop at 3am (because we all know that’s when the epic inspiration hits you) and not feel bad about it. I can use all the undertipping, rude, pompous, self-entitled customers as material in my next blog post.  I can polish off a bottle of whisky with somewhat minimal guilt because hey, all the great writers were booze hounds, right? (cue a sloppy fist bump to Bukowski)

So if you’re wondering what I’m doing on Saturday night, no, I can’t hang out. I’ll be grabbing a third serving of bread for the table who ordered the medium-rare-but-kinda-sorta-well-done filet mignon whose kid is allergic to gluten and wanted their parking validated while complaining about the taste of LA tap water.

And I couldn’t be happier.