I Was Wrong About My Career Path

It has been a few weeks and naturally, it’s Wednesday, so I am mustering up just enough little travel-sized fucks to give in order to write something arbitrary. As much as I’d love to write something heartfelt about my triumphs and tribulations in 2016, I know for a fact that none of you want to read that. How do I know? Because literally every time I see one of those manifestos on my Facebook feed and I have the option to click “See More” I click it just to see how unbearably long it REALLY could be, then when I’m met with the wall of text that follows I start inevitably hating the person who wrote it. I don’t need to read any of it, I just hate you for sitting down writing it out and thinking that it’s important or relevant to another human being that you got super “woke” in 2016 and then you also went apple picking with your grandma for the last time before she died. 

My only valuable information to bestow upon the minute demographic who consistently reads this blog is that 2016 was the year I finally admitted I was wrong about a lot of things. (Everyone loves to read about another person’s failure, right?) In fact, I was so wrong that I lost sight of who I was and fell into what some wonderful people in my life will refer to as “a downward spiral.” Call it what you want, it wasn’t fun and if I can help you avoid it by writing this post you’ll thank me later. Or maybe you won’t because you’ll never have to find out what happens when you eat too much of your friend’s edibles in Vegas.

I tell people all the time that I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was around 7 years old. That sounds absurd because let’s be honest, can seven year olds even write coherently? (No they cannot) I actually kept some of my embarrassing kitten covered “cat-lady-in-the-making” journals from first grade so that I can go back and read them. Granted, most of it looks and sounds like something I’d write while blackout drunk in current times. (AKA talking about my cat’s fluffy tail and being really really mean to boys I have a crush on.) I still remember my second grade teacher Mrs. Schwebach pulling me aside in class, intensely staring at me (a la Billy Madison) and telling me that I should never stop writing. She didn’t have to tell me that, I knew I never would.

When you love something so much and derive so much pleasure from it, you want to make it your career. I landed on writing for television because the stars aligned and my dream school (Boston University) offered a highly competitive program. Given my unhealthy obsession with Family Guy from age 12 onward I felt like it was a no-brainer. Writing for animated comedy, bam. Done deal.

I moved out to LA right after I graduated and busted my ass to try to get into a writers room. I got so close I could taste it on so many occasions but if it came down to me and one other person it would somehow always end up being the other person. It was hard not to take all of the rejection personally and keep putting myself out there through the highly uncomfortable interview process. But I did, and I desperately settled for job after job in the unscripted world. For those not in Entertainment, that means Reality TV. Yeah, I know, I shudder at the thought as well. 

I’d go to lectures and hear people I admire discuss what it took for them to succeed. Everyone’s path was different and so much of the journey depended on luck, chance and sacrifice. For many writers their work was their life, and that life was filled with uncertainty and emotional volatility. I identified with these people and I saw so many similarities in our personalities, I wanted so badly to be them. I remember sitting at a panel where Dan Harmon spoke and I drooled over every single word he said. He is still my idol and someone whose career I dreamed of replicating. 

I’m not sure when the doubt first started creeping in, but when it did I desperately tried to suppress it. I never doubted whether or not I was capable of handling the pressure, workload, and dedication it would take if I did get my chance. I just started to doubt if it was really what I wanted.

Over the course of my multiple job changes, I formed a mental list of what I wanted in my ideal job. The list formed as follows:

  • A degree of work/life balance
  • Stability
  • Livable income
  • At a large company with protection for employees
  • Potential for upward mobility
  • Identifiable and healthy culture (not necessarily healthy-living based, but one I can get behind)
  • Respectful bosses and coworkers

This list seems a bit basic, and when I shared it with some friends from home they actually laughed at me.

Well if you’re in the Entertainment Industry you might find yourself reading the list and unable to check off a single one of those items. I know I have worked at multiple companies where none of those things were present. It’s easy to fall into jobs like that because they have a high turnover rate because, shocker: no one wants them.

Bottom line, I wanted to stop hating my job. I wanted to feel like there were opportunities for me that weren’t based on luck. I wanted to stop leaving the office counting down the days until I could finally get the job I wanted. I wanted to find a job where I could actually push myself and challenge myself until I earned the next job in line. While this is entirely possible in Entertainment, it wasn’t lining up for me and the companies I landed at.

It’s still too soon for me to say whether my new career path will work out, but I feel immensely better every day when I come into this office. I feel like I have a shot, and like I can work my ass off and feel good about what I produce. I look around and see people who are happy to be here and who are talented at what they do. I am part of a culture that makes me feel proud, rather than ashamed.

It was hard as hell admitting that I was wrong. But when I finally accepted it and moved forward, some other major things fell into place. (I finally figured out how to carve my own Costco rotisserie chicken without help!) 2016 was a piece of shit year for a lot of reasons, and who’s to say 2017 won’t also blow up massively in my face? As dumb as it sounds, I find that I have a renewed purpose in my life. I am motivated more than I ever have been before. I am beginning to feel like MAYBE, just maybe, I can sort my shit out.

So if you’ve read this far, all I’m saying to you is not to be too proud to admit when you’re wrong. Especially when the desire to be “right” is making you miserable. It’s not worth it. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to feel fulfilled. It’s easy to get comfortable in something you know isn’t right for you because it’s… easy. You’re really fucking good at something and the right company will offer you a chance to prove that to them. Go find that company.

As for writing… I’ll never stop writing. Duh, I have this stupid website. Also, there are a million different jobs that need good writers. I’ll land on my feet, probably. And if I don’t, I’ll sell my soul to Donald Trump.

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Being a Single Lady in Los Angeles

Sorry I had to take a break from this for a bit because I started a new job. Fun fact, I got this job even though my (at the time, future) boss pulled up this blog in the middle of my interview and started reading a few of my posts, including my fake cover letter. The world works in mysterious ways. 

I don’t feel like I need to reiterate the fact that I am single, but for anyone who just started reading, that’s the waaaaaaay the news goes. I’m off the apps, so I’m as close to “off the grid” as you can get in 2016. Dating culture is an unsightly beast in Los Angeles, one that would have to wear a bag over its head because it would make children cry due to the sheer magnitude of its physical deformities. Why? Let’s explore:

Single women are not a hot commodity

There are plenty of us. In fact, we come in droves. I’ve met so many women I would want to date if I were a straight guy that I’ve relegated myself to a third party category of women called “Trolls named Wanda.” If you are an eligible bachelor in Los Angeles your options are limitless. You can be picky because there are a lot of amazing, badass, beautiful women out here. I would like to say I am one of them, but if you see my feet you will agree with my aforementioned categorization.

Almost any guy you meet who you might be remotely attracted to will possess one of the below major flaws:

  • Has a girlfriend: This is the most common one, tbh. You meet a guy who seems cool and fun and down to clown then you stalk him on Facebook for two seconds only to discover he’s been FBO with some beautiful model, who doesn’t even know how beautiful she truly is, for like 5 years and is on the brink of getting married to her. Yeah, nothing turns me off more than someone who is unavailable. Unless you’re unavailable AND love Dave Matthews Band. Then you’re scum.
  • Socially inept: This applies frequently to men you meet on the dating apps. They hide behind their dating profile because in reality they have no idea how to treat a woman or function in daily adult life. I dated a guy who didn’t even know how to ride a bike. And when I told him I would teach him, he was a little bitch about it. He was kind of a little bitch about everything though, so no surprise there. LA is a city full of man children with strange relationships with their mother.
  • Actor/Model/Comedian: THIS is actually the most common one. I’ll meet a guy who I’m attracted to (a tall beautiful douchebag) and then find him on Facebook where his entire page is littered with links to his personal website, inaccurate headshots, and mediocre YouTube clips from all the student films he has credits in. (AKA his ‘reel.’) I think I would be ok dating an actor if he wasn’t terrible, but I have yet to meet an “actor” who isn’t terrible. Also my ears already hurt at the idea of me dating a comedian. No one would be able to stand being around us and I probably wouldn’t think he was funny.
  • Works in some financial field: Guys who work with money are kind of the worst (sorry Will.) Especially in LA because they have a huge complex about not being in the Entertainment Industry. They make 4 times your yearly salary in a matter of months and they still make you pay for drinks on the first date. Because they are doing YOU a favor by taking you out. One of my favorites said to me “Yeah I make good money but I also work really hard for it!” Bro what do you think I do to make the SHIT money I (used to) make? Sit on my own thumb for 10 hours per day? Just because you work hard and get paid to do it doesn’t mean other people don’t also work hard and get paid in ‘experience’ and executive’s spare turds… You hairy sack of shit.

You start to wonder if you should change something drastically about yourself.

Yesterday I spent a good 4 minutes contemplating whether or not I should dye my hair blond. Of course, the answer is unequivocally HELL NO…(My skin tone is totally wrong for it.) But I feel like if I were a true “tall blond” then I could trick some guy into listening to what I have to say.

Nah, that’s not how it works. The only way a guy will listen to what you have to say is if you pretend you don’t care if he hears.

You decide you’re not going to care about it anymore, then accidentally care about it for a few minutes each day.

As much as I enjoy falling asleep to my stupid cat sleeping under my covers digging his claws into my legs, I really resent the fact that I’ve become the cat lady stereotype that everyone expected I’d be. I decide to stop giving a fuck, but then I realize something trivial, like the fact that the only person who I can look forward to cooking protein pancakes for on Saturday morning is Mary. And my cousin Nick. Both of them are better cooks than me anyway so it’ll just be like back in the day when I’d whip out the Easy Bake Oven for my family over Christmas break and they’d pity-eat my shitty Devil’s Food Cake.

Pretty sure my mom JUST threw out my Easy Bake Oven last year. We kept it around for an uncomfortably long time as a joke, then a few Christmas’s back from college I would still cook with it. I think we finally realized the entire situation was a little sad so we trashed it. I might be wrong, we might still have it.

The fortunate result of it all: you decide to work on yourself.

After fighting the good fight for the last 6 months, I have finally thrown in the towel. I am legitimately going to work on bettering myself. So many times I have told myself I would do it, but this time I really mean it: I am going to read a lot of books. I am going to become that montage in the movie where some Girl Power anthem like “Fight Song” plays and the lead reads tons of books about being a woman, works out so hard that she barfs, throws her full Kirkland wine bottles in the trash can (what a waste, at least gift them), braids her best girlfriend’s hair, and somehow becomes infinitely sexier.

A good example of this:

Please excuse the subtitles, not sure what language they are in.

Before the 3 people who read this jump down my throat for all the sweeping generalizations and stereotypes I just threw at you- I’m mostly kidding. Obviously in this city of a million something people I can’t possibly speak for the entire population. I am speaking from a set of exaggerated anecdotes and personal testimony. Because if I wrote any differently it wouldn’t be entertaining, would it?

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(my mom’s favorite movie ever.)