LA The City of Angels, the city of dreams. A place where anything can happen and sometimes, oftentimes, the city where things don’t happen as quickly as you would like them to.
Many people move to Los Angeles to follow their passions in all sorts of creative fields. It is, after all, the entertainment capital of the world. Acting, singing, screenwriting, producing, special effects, the list is endless.
But what happens when you are finally here and the jobs you thought were gonna come rolling in simply don’t. Maybe that connection you thought was solid has turned into “I’ll call you if anything comes up.” Or you went in for the interview of your dreams and your nerves got the best of you. These things happen. It’s happening to me right now and of course, the thought of, “Holy eff’, what did I do?”
I left an almost $10,000 a month job back in my hometown as a TV news anchor, all in the name of following my dreams and not having any regrets when I’m on my death bed.
However, as the days start to pass, and the bills start coming in, you quickly realize things aren’t going to be as easy as you originally thought. As you scour the Internet for jobs, sending out resumes and hitting up every possible contact you might have (yes, your brand new next-door-neighbor counts) for employment opportunities, sunny LA isn’t looking so bright anymore.
As scary and frustrating as that may be, I challenge you to look at it as a positive and not a negative. This is the moment you are officially out of your comfort zone and the time for improvisation has come. For me, this was particularly hard to do since I had become accustomed to a steady, comfortable income. I have cried. I have felt my stomach go into knots. I have felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my whole life. And yet, I am choosing to soldier on and stay positive.
That job you’ve always wanted is out there, but in the meantime, you’ve got to pay the electric and phone bills, so don’t allow the fear to paralyze you. See fear for what it is, something intangible that we humans create for ourselves, see that it isn’t something real, recognize it and move on.
I know this is easier said than done, but it is in difficult moments that people, many times, show the best of themselves. Life is about choices and now is the time for you (and me) to choose to move forward. Writing this article is a part of that. I’m putting myself out there in a way I never thought I would.
Do not lose hope. I know there are thousands of hardworking dreamers (as much of an oxymoron as that sounds) like myself going through this same exact situation, trying to figure it all out. Getting a job outside of your career of choice is not unusual. Apply for things that perhaps you would have never thought of doing before. I’m doing it. Why not? What do we have to lose?
Are you a writer but have always been secretly in love with fashion? Why not try an entry level position in a design house or retail store? Are you a musician but got hired in a cool coffee shop instead? You never know. That job you thought was temporary could turn out to be the most permanent thing you’ll ever do.
Another thing that helps is actually getting out there and meeting new people. I know this may sound totally basic but when the bank account is dangerously close to red, staying in and eating sandwiches for dinner doesn’t sound crazy at all. Networking and making connections is a very good way to hear about potential employment prospects and there are ways you can do it without hurting your wallet.
Look up any nearby churches you may be interested in attending. They usually have a ton of community activities, many of them free and usually tend to be a good spot for meeting people willing to help a new Angeleno. Also, if you’re a pet owner, that nearby dog park could be a wealth of information if you play it right. There are also free outside activities, like hiking clubs, that provide some much needed stress relief while also upping the chance of meeting some really cool people. A person I know who has lived in LA for years says this is a city for those who persevere.
It’s true, look at those actors who have been working at their craft for a long time, many as long as 15 years or more, and still haven’t gotten the recognition of the masses. They haven’t given up.
My point is, get out there. Don’t let LA intimidate you. Yes, it is a big city filled with people trying to “make it happen,” but we are all in this together.
Take chances. Go out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Meet new people. Open yourself up to what the city, and its residents have to offer. As much as I want to run back home sometimes, I’m doing it (with pains and gains) and so should you. There’s always room for one more.