Guide to Finding a Gig in LA
It is odd that you have this skill set that people in your native area don’t really have a use for, but the rest of the world does. As a native Northern Californian you would think from the outside that since I live in the same state it would be ok, but truthfully the entire culture is different from top to bottom. A round peg in a square hole. I was always out of place where I am from. Sure, I had family and friends. I trail of good jobs and solid network. However, none of them matched my vision. My goals were different. My skill-sets were different. My plans were different.
Then I took a trip to LA for a conference and I experienced the loud, traffic jammed, hustle, no sleep, will to be weird, laid back and trendy cultural landscape of Los Angeles. I could never go back to how things were before. My eyes were opened as a young person and professional. The crowd had the same mindset and goals. The lines blurred between friends and networking. Everything seemed like a mixer, but less cheesy and way more exciting. It good to be around the same people. This was home. I was an Angeleno all along.
Now the goal was to find a gig. I had plenty of work experience and the education to get me at least looked at. I wanted to be in either Entertainment, or the Agency side of advertising. Up north nothing like these pillars of American industry existed. It wasn’t even a thought for most of the people there. It was something they watched on TV, with little desire to participate in its creation. Which is what I always wanted. It is what my skill-set and interests demanded.
This is what I have figured out so far.
1. Be Genuine, People Can Smell A Fake
Know who you are. Everyone here has come here to make it. Most people have heard some outlandish, or bragging rant that everyone in the room knows they are full of it. I have to say, after being here my BS indicator has become much more sophisticated. I get sometimes you hear, “You Gotta Fake It Til You Make It.” But there are repercussions for that, namely trust. When that’s lost your character, not just your reputation is at stake. Barbie isn’t real and Ken has no balls. Be careful when associating with them. Be even more aware so you don’t become them.
2. One Third of LA’s Population Is Completely Full Of It
Relating to the above post I think any typical resident knows it. My first go round in SoCal ended badly after believing someone was what they weren’t. Time and money lost on scale that almost didn’t allow me to recuperate. Pain is an equal opportunity teacher. If you aren’t long time friends – get it in writing.
3. It Really is About ‘Who You Know’ and That Isn’t Necessarily Bad
For all you wallflowers out there let this headline terrify you. For me, this wasn’t a bad thing. It could be the best part. About a week ago I was at a beach party in Santa Monica. I was drinking a beer that was delivered to me on the beach by this start-up called Saucy, talking to people in a side of LA which you couldn’t get past gatekeepers unless you knew someone. They were great people. Doing things with their careers which I moved here for. I looked out at the ocean with the pier faded in the background, there were beautiful happy people everywhere, the weather was perfect and I had made some great new acquaintances. Life was good. Networking is serendipitous when you are being real and not trying to get something from everyone.
4. Treat It Like A Courtship Not A One Night Stand
Be willing to put in work. In the beginning you are the new kid in town. Even with social media and the ability to look up your life at a moments notice, this is a huge opportunity both personally and professional to be that person you are with out any other preconceptions about you. For this reason also, take it slow when meeting new people. Don’t hussle them. It feels sleezy. You always want to work with person and not a sales person. Don’t rush it. Make it a process. Some of the connections I have made a conferences and events have become some of my closest friends. That is because I took a genuine approach to peoples needs and where my skill set fit in with their goals. LA has it all, you’ll find your crew.
5. Don’t Get Caught Up In The Scene
Like I said, LA has it all. Every food type 24 hours, clubs, bars, beaches, and plenty of amazing people to meet that are here to make life awesome. I had alcohol delivered to me and my friends while in a chair on the beach…they didn’t offer that anywhere in Sacramento. For this reason you must exude self-restraint and keep your priorities in order. You came here to make those dreams happen right? How is that going to get done when you go out for the third night in a row? Not exactly the formula for peak performance. I always like to refer to Tim Ferris in this matter. A man with many circles and abilities his message from the 4-Hour series was clear. Make a system that you can’t break to complete your goals.
6. This Is The Jungle…Things Will Eat You
Meet new people. Get to know them. Beware. This is one of the most competitive environments in the country. Keep your wits about you. People talk about things and make things up. There are hustlers. It is a rough town if you don’t watch yourself. By all means enjoy. Always remember there is always a possible predator…and it may eat you if you aren’t aware of what they look like. Sure, it’s tough now. You’re just starting out. Your goal is to become the lion. Because with a city as amazing as LA working to be king is worth the struggle.