If you’ve been keeping up with me and how I’ve been adjusting to life in Los Angeles on social media, then you’re probably already familiar with my job woes — or, rather, my lack of job woes. You see, I knew it would be difficult finding a job before actually moving out here. And so when folks would ask, “Jay, do you have a job?” and I’d tell them no, they were understandably horrified.
But I had a plan, a very good plan, and that plan was to move to L.A. first and then secure employment. After all, I had a little money saved up, and my résumé is pretty impressive, so how hard could it possibly be to find gainful employment?
The answer: very fucking hard.
First, I grossly overestimated how attractive my experience and skill set would be to prospective employers. Need a copy editor? Hey, I worked for years as a copy editor for the New York Post. Oh, you need a copywriter? No problem, I’ve years’ worth of experience doing that as well for a variety of companies in a number of industries, and I’ve the portfolio to back me up. And hell, if you need any kind of writing in general, I am your man.
Second, I’ve published books. Plural. Think about it.
But nope, none of that seems to matter. In the beginning I applied to every copy editing and copywriting position Los Angeles seemingly had to offer. And you know I reached out to the industry publications, all of the big ones (whom I won’t name here because I may still have a chance of working for them one day), but yeah, you know who I mean. The response: radio silence.
I sent my résumé and credentials to other publications, media outlets, and websites. Bupkis.
Then I decided to switch gears. You see, money’s nice, and I would certainly like to make nice money. But my goal was to come out to Los Angeles and make enough to sustain myself while pursuing my No. 1 goal, which is screenwriting. I don’t need to make what I was making at the Post; I just need to pay rent, buy food, have a way to get around town, and keep my phone on. If I can do that, I’m good, doggy.
But then what I’ve found is that I’m apparently overqualified for the vast majority of jobs out here. Sure, I can apply for a customer service gig — but even with years of customer service experience (even customer service management experience) I’m seen as being overqualified, and that won’t even merit a rejection phone call or letter. Damn.
Other jobs require a valid driver’s license — which I no longer have because, idiot that I am, I let my license expire while living in NYC because who needs a fucking driver’s license in NYC? — or they’re just prohibitively far away. I don’t mind riding a bus to work, but three hours one way? That’s a bit much. After work and the commute to and fro I wouldn’t have any day left to myself. Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds very “entitled millennial,” but trust me, work-life balance is a real thing. You don’t want to burn out.
I’ve always been somewhat fortunate when it comes to finding work. In fact, as I was moving out here, I was in talks with Disney — that’s right, the goddamn Mouse House itself — about a copywriting position. I was excited, and the thing was, they reached out to me. Hell yeah, son.
So I went through all the required hoop-jumping and gave them examples of my work and then went on to write some sample, Disney-branded copy.
And they rejected me.
When asked why, it was because I’d written a generic product description for a child’s Disney Princess dress and didn’t explicitly identify it as “Rapunzel’s dress.” I shit you not.
Oh yeah, in my copy, I also made the mistake of using the phrase “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,” which is associated with Cinderella, not Rapunzel.
OK, I said, but what about ALL OF THE OTHER COPY I’d written? How about my Marvel copy, my Star Wars copy? What about the collaborations with Dooney & Burke or Alex and Ani? Wonderful, I was told, all wonderful.
But they took affront to “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo”? Not ID’ing Rapunzel was the match in the powder barrel?
Anyway, so that’s where I am right now. As I mentioned before, I’ve always been somewhat lucky when it comes to finding work. Well, this old man needs some of that luck right about now.
Ya hear me, Universe?