This story was inspired by John at Frugal Rules’s post today.
In 1996 (when most of you were just infants), I worked at a regional cable news station as an editor in Seattle. I was part of the original start up crew, and it was really fun learning and growing with the company, and I made some amazing friends I still keep in touch with to this day.
But in my mind I was supposed to want more in my career in video/film…to be more…and I wondered if that was going to be possible in Seattle.
One weekend I was set to fly to LA to visit my friend Diana, who I used to work with at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, who now lived in LA and worked at a movie trailer company. I was always secretly jealous of her because I thought she was working in the coolest industry EVER, while I was just a news editor.
Before I got on the plane she informed me that she was totally backed up on projects, and that she wouldn’t be able to spend as much time out of the office as planned….BUT…if I wanted to help do some editing they would actually pay me, and things would get done quicker for her.
I was THRILLED at the opportunity to work at a fancy pants trailer house! Who knows..this could be my big break!
When I got there I met head producer Jack (not his real name), who really intimidated me. He had a booming presence and he just felt so “Hollywood.” Me being from Seattle, and before that Detroit, I was not used to that kind of personality. I was set to edit a trailer for a movie called Wag the Dog for a Show West presentation. I actually edited the trailer from the dailies, which is not typical because most of the time you edit a trailer from a movie that has already been cut, even if it’s just a rough cut.
But I thought it was so cool to see how Robert De Niro worked as an actor in each take. Jack was really impressed by what I had done, and said that if I ever move to LA I could work there as a freelancer. Not quite the same as a job offer, but pretty darn close. I ended up talking with the owner of the company and they stood by that offer.
The pressure felt enormous, as I LOVED LOVED LOVED living in Seattle at the time, and even though the pay wasn’t great at the TV station, at least it felt steady and familiar. That was one of those moments I did not listen to my gut…so I accepted their offer, and moved to LA one month later in early 1997, and Diana and I rented a house together.
The minute I got to LA I had that “what have I done” feeling in the pit of my stomach, and it never went away for the six months I was there.
The job was an absolute nightmare for me. I never felt more out of place, lonely, depressed, or untalented as I did there. I watched a Ted video once where a guy talked about how if you give someone something to work on, and they pull the plug on that project and don’t acknowledge the work the employee did on it, that it makes the most depressed workers.
That’s exactly how I felt. I put up with several smug producers who would work you to death on a project, only to pull the rug from you and scrap the whole idea, or give it to someone else. I never felt like I accomplished anything.
Then they gave me a really bad time slot from 6pm ish to 2…3…4 in the morning. I’m not and never was a night person.
But the worst had to be Jack. He set out to make my life hell I think. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t stand him or that he treated poorly, but I think I got the worst of it because in all honestly I was a cynical 26-year-old, and I gave him major attitude when he was a dick. I could go into so many details about the stuff he did, but that would take forever!
Outside of work I was also unhappy. I lived in the valley part of LA, and was so bored and having a hard time adjusting to my weird sleep schedule, while trying to sleep in an un-air conditioned house in the middle of the day with 95 degree heat.
I wanted to quit literally from day one, but managed to hang in for six months before I decided to cut my losses and go back to Seattle jobless, but relieved and happy. I also vowed I would NEVER AGAIN live in LA. lol!
BTW there was one bright spot to working there. I got to go to two premiers and premier parties for the movies Jungle to Jungle and Grosse Pointe Blank. It was there that I rode in an elevator with Drew Barrymore. Drew seemed very sweet, and when we got off the elevator the paparazzi where waiting and yelling her name. We tried to get into the shot as much as possible. ha ha!
When I got back to Seattle, I ended up temping for awhile which later turned into a full time job, and it was there that I started my first blog (called e-zines back then)…which I will save that story for another time. 🙂
Have you ever taken a job where your gut feeling was to say no, but you took it anyway? How did it turn out?