My first interview on Monday morning was one that emerged in the eleventh hour. I had received a call from an “Unknown Number" on Thursday night while in the car with Jess. A gentleman from a well-respected film production company was on the other end of the call. He said that he had a position that he thought I’d be perfect for, which immediately piqued my interest. But then he uttered a word so awful that I almost hung up. It was a word laced with so many bad memories of affliction and monotony that I shutter to even repeat it, but here goes: Accounting. Yes, the gentleman was looking for an experienced accountant to help his company for four months while it was going through some changes. Apparently my disinterest in the position was evident in my voice, as the gentleman asked, “I take it you’re not looking to get back into accounting?” Remembering advice that I had received before coming to LA (“Don’t say no to any interviews”), I agreed to meet with him to hear more about the position.
When I arrived for my interview, I was mesmerized by all of the framed pictures of classic films produced by this company that were hanging on the walls. Maybe this job would be better than I had expected! The gentleman who had called me started filling me in on the position, and sadly, it was exactly what I had expected. He said that the hours would be pretty standard, 9am to 6:30pm, every day, and he would pay me roughly what I was making when I worked at Ernst & Young. He said that he would need a four month gentleman’s agreement, and I told him that I would get back in touch with him at the end of the day. The only reason I entertained the thought of accepting this position was because of the fact that I’d be working on the same floor as some of the top executives in film and television production. Who knows? Maybe one of the executives would walk by my office, become instantly impressed by my staggering ability to reconcile a bank statement to the General Ledger, and elect to hire me for his production team? Probably not, but at least I’d be making money and could list an entertainment company on my resume.
My next interview was with a temp agency. Before I met with the recruiter, I had to watch a 30-minute safety video about how I should lift large boxes with my legs and avoid trying to repair broken office equipment on my own. Riveting stuff. After an hour of waiting, I finally met with my recruiter; she was a few years younger than me, but very nice and seemed truly interested in helping me secure a job. I explained that I was using her company to try to find an entry-level position within the entertainment industry. She proceeded to tell me about two positions that had less to do with entertainment than my job at Notre Dame, so I quickly reiterated that I was only interested in hearing about positions in the industry. She didn’t currently have any openings in the field, but she said that she would keep me posted (and I’m hopeful that she’ll actually follow through on that promise).
My last interview was for an unpaid internship with a small talent management company. When the owner of the company greeted me, she almost immediately told me that she was not going to be able to hire me, as she needed someone with prior agency experience for these first six months due to the chaos that ensues this time of year. Hearing that you’re not even worth “free” is very disconcerting. She told me that she could possibly work with me in six months from now, once I’ve had a chance to get acclimated to LA and hopefully gain a little bit of experience in the industry. Therein lies my dilemma – how do I gain experience in the industry if I can’t even get an unpaid internship to hire me without previous experience?! Also, it’s difficult to get excited about potentially accepting a position in six months that doesn’t pay! That being said, I was grateful that the owner still took time out of her day to meet with me and offer career advice, even though she knew I wasn’t an immediate fit for her company. Also, she invited me to attend her weekly writers’ workshop, which meets every Saturday, and I enthusiastically accepted her offer.
While my day appeared to be a productive one, I felt more lost than ever. For the next two hours, I did what any self-respecting 29-year-old would do: I called my mom and asked her for advice. I also sought the counsel of several other family members and friends (God forbid I make any of these decisions on my own!). At the end of the day, everyone agreed that I had been an accountant in California once before, and I had been miserable during that period of my life. My mom simplified it for me by asking if I would rather wait tables or work as an accountant. Without missing a beat, I answered, “Wait tables.” Well, there you had it! I phoned the gentleman and politely turned down his offer and then the strangest thing happened: he wouldn’t take no for an answer! I couldn’t believe it! Hours earlier, I couldn’t donate my time to a small management company, but here was a large production company apparently desperate for my services. We went back and forth for 30 minutes, until I negotiated my time commitment to the company from four months to two, starting Wednesday. I’m definitely a little nervous about dusting off my “ten key” and stepping back into the world of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, but the role seems to be pretty straight-forward and the gentleman who hired me assured me that I’m overqualified for the position (we’ll see about that!). In conclusion, accounting may be my stage 5 clinger that just won’t go away, but at least it will allow me to pay the bills while I continue my never-ending search for a creative position in the industry!