Saturday, October 02, 2004

I Guess Cheap Instant Coffee In The Breakroom Is Part of my Past

This May I began looking for a full-time, 9 to 5 office job after I recovered from a broken tib/fib. After being unceremoniously dumped by my previous employer before said injury healed, I held out hope that maybe, somewhere in L.A. there was a kindly by the books office that would hire an office manager/writer/AA with 8 years New York experience.

Well, it's October and I'm freelancing and starting my own business, so obviously the answer was a resounding NO. Now mind you, I 'm on a new track and I'm not trying to complain too much-I like writing and picking up part-time office work when I can, but I'm thoroughly befuddled by my L.A. jobseeking experience. I went on 15 interviews for full-time jobs, mostly for support positions in publishing and the arts, and got zero job offers. The funny thing is that even in previous "bad" job climates, I'd always land a job on my second interview, and if I was really unlucky, on the third. So I wondered "Wait a second. I'm in L.A. Is it that I'm not a 22 year old Paris Hilton clone?" My friends in other cities assumed this was the case, and were shocked when I described the interviewers as normal looking people. I dunno. I guess people in the Midwest think everybody in L.A. looks like Brad Pitt or Pamela Anderson.

Most of the ads I answered were on Monster, Careerbuilder or HotJobs. I've seen some of the same jobs listed again a few months after receiving my "thanks, but no thanks" letter. Oh, and by the way, I had never written a thank you letter after a job interview til this particular search. Didn't help. After thinking about all the successful interviews I had in NY, Chicago, and during my first year in L.A., I realized that the people who hired me had a real (not forced) sense of humor. So, just like my cognitive therapy book claims, having a personality that's compatible with your prospective officemates is more important than your skills or experience. I get the sense this matters more in L.A. than in New York. In New York, all they care about is that you can do the damn job. Here, I've had prospective employers tell me that co-workers always go to lunch together or socialize together after work. They make it sound really important, like a condition of employment.

I think I'm sticking to consulting and freelancing. After all, that movie "Office Space" did cut really close to home.




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