I Want a Job

I am looking for a job. I wrote up this detailed statement of why people would do well to hire me for jobs.

SEC 1.
WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?

A) Writing jobs or gigs or even just places to apply – either in comedy, in honest content-rich journalism, or in something technical. I feel like I can write in almost any style. My volume of output is very high (I made this whole thing pretty quickly), and I’m relentless about quality when it gets to that phase of the game.

I’ve written short plays, standup, sketches, prose, essays, and straight news, for myself and many organizations over the years[1]. Most significantly, I was a staff writer on Onion SportsDome where we broke a lot of ground and worked 70-hour weeks[2], and head writer of “GOOMF [3],” an Onion sports web-series (in the style of “PTI”) where we did topical stuff with very short turnaround and wrote each week’s script in one day.

B) Jobs where I can learn about the process of producing theater or video.

“Put me in, coach.”

I know I want to work in comedy. While I like to write and perform, I’d be glad to have a day job where I get to help make things happen and learn how the people in charge put things together.

I’m glad to do grunt work and I’m good at it. I used to work as a clerk at a camping goods store, and also at the New York Post [4], and I learned how to do everything well, including the little details. I worked as an EMT, so I can handle time and situational pressure and people getting upset and yelling at me .

But I can also step up to produce. I was head writer/director of “GOOMF” and was the point person for all creative decisions, as well as for managing the writing staff and directing the shoot[5]. Right now, I produce a few different shows at the Treehouse Theatre[6].

C) Jobs teaching comedy.

I started doing this recently. It evolved from me giving notes to contributors while I was in charge of GOOMF[7]; I worked with a couple different sketch teams[8] and then set up my own classes[9]. I’m particularly about building perspective to think more deeply about what ideas are at the heart of sketches, and getting people to up their productivity and get over their internal blocks.

D) Jobs where I just get to do a good day’s work

I can find pleasure in simple tasks like moving things[10] or even counting the number of pedestrians that go by[11]. I like talking to people, and I’d really like to get into bartending, which combines doing useful things and socializing. Any job that’s free enough that I get to do it in my own personality can provide a good amount of stimulation, since I’m creating my own way of engaging with it. I appreciate having a paycheck.

SEC 2.
WHY HIRE ME?

A) I work hard

I work hard. That’s all there is to it. I start doing the work and I keep doing it and that’s how I operate. That’s been a constant across all kinds of different things I’ve done – from retail to EMS through my Onion career through all my self-directed stuff.

B) I show up on time or early

The amount of time I’ve spent waiting for people is very high. I read something or eat or write notes. The amount of time people have spent waiting for me is very low. When that does happen, I will have let them know I’m going to be late.

C) I will find extra things to do and do them

When I worked at GOOMF, I came in on Thursday, a day I wasn’t paid for, to look at final cuts of the episode, and would bring my laptop and set up and write notes for the contributors on why their submissions were or weren’t getting through and how they could improve[12].

When I worked at an insurance firm, even though I didn’t like it at all, I still took the time to reorganize the filing system, improve the grammatical standards in our survey language, work on a few extra company-wide projects, and create detailed checklists for my replacements[13] letting them know how my job worked.

Wherever it is, my m.o. is to be looking for small adjustments to make things better.

D) I’m loyal.

I care about the people I work with or for or who work for me. I teach people how to do things, I cover their share of work, I try to make sure that the way we’re working is working for them.

I care about the goals of the company. This does make it hard to work for companies with goals I don’t care about, but even at the aforementioned insurance company, a corporation with no mission at all and of which I’m highly critical, I still gave a month’s notice when I only needed two weeks, and volunteered for an important project which I managed to do very well while still keeping up my daily duties.

When I was working, as a summer job, for Current Newspapers, a little local weekly in D.C., I got a tentative offer to leave to blog for the Guardian. The work for the Guardian was higher-profile, more creative, and higher-paying. But my editors at the Current had hired me for the summer (and I’d then stepped up to replace a departed sports editor), and had even asked the owner to pay me a higher rate, so I came to them and told them that I’d stay if I needed them to, and asked what their deadline was for hearing back from the Guardian. They told me I could go, if everything was worked out in two weeks. But at two weeks’ time, the Guardian didn’t have a final decision, so I withdrew from consideration and just finished the job at the Current.[14] I never regretted that decision.

I also tend to make people loyal. On programs where I’ve been in charge – GOOMF, for example, and my Literary Elements of Sketch Writing class – one thing people commented on was the team atmosphere and how much they liked working with everyone else.

E) I give honest feedback

I’m not a yes-man. At most I’m a “yeah, ok” man, but generally I make my opinions clear when they’re asked for, or when I think it’s appropriate to raise them. I know lots of friends have counted on me for this kind of thing, as have managers and executives.

F) I’m self-motivated

With Blizzard of ’96, we create a monthly 25-minute sketch comedy show with different sketches each time. We’ve done four so far this year, with a fifth coming up, on top of a lot of other shows. We do all our own promotion, booking, and directing. We run a real tight show.

On my own, I’ve been writing a sketch a day (on balance) since some time in January. I’m over 100 now. For over two months, with no outside prompting, I managed to never fall behind, and write detailed commentary on each sketch.

I ran two of my own eight-week comedy classes, complete with a class show and extensive notes, all on my own volition, from promoting the classes to building the curriculum to booking space to actually teaching the things.

G) If you believe in all those traditional status signifiers, I got them for you, baby!

Graduated out of Columbia University, class of 2009. And I got them standardized test scores if you want em, got ’em real good. Got some awards for you too. Extracurriculars. I may not agree with your decision to put a lot of weight in these things, but if that’s what gets me through the gate, baby I got the ticket.

To some extent.

SEC 3.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE REASONS NOT TO HIRE YOU?

A) “You have goals beyond our company, how do we know you’ll stay?”

You don’t. You don’t know if anyone will stay. But if I leave, I’ll be conscientious about it, and make sure everything is set up to work as well as possible by the time I’m gone.

When someone trusts me, I care about making sure that was a good decision. I always want people to be gaining enough from an interaction with me that it’s worth it. And these are jobs that, presumably, I’m getting from my friends. I don’t want to hang them out to dry.

Besides, serious writing and performing jobs are few and far between. Don’t worry *too* much about me booking one.

B) “You have all kinds of crazy thoughts and opinions, won’t that make you a risk?”

Not really, unless you’re in a very fragile environment in which every employee’s personal life is under a microscope. And even then, I’m still “respectable” by most standards. And more importantly, I can adjust to the rhythm and standards of a workplace pretty easily.

C) “You’re a major egotist, doesn’t that make it hard for you to be a team player?”

Not really, because being a team player becomes an extension of my ego. Look at Kevin Garnett here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef-f7EeDpYI

D) “You’re overqualified.”

I know. But I do a good enough job of finding things to engage with in the job that I can avoid being bored. And I’m generally okay with not being as high-status as I could in society if I have a place I feel comfortable.

Plus, I hate job searching, so I’m happy to stay somewhere rather than go to the trouble of finding another place.

E) “You’re underqualified.”

I know. But I learn very quickly.

F) “You might be hard to push around.”

Sure. Don’t push people around then. Leave me alone and I’ll push myself around.

If you want to push me to get better for my own benefit and the company’s, I’ll be for that all the way.

G) “We can’t pay you enough.”

You might be surprised how much I need money.

SEC 4.
REFERENCES (people to ask if you need this stuff verified. Names reduced to initials since this is publicly searchable)

[1] The one person who’s seen the largest part of this full arc is Sam W. I worked with him in high school and college, and he was later at the Onion both as my boss and my colleague depending on the project.
[2] Jack K was the boss, here, with Geoff H as the number 2. I worked on episode teams with Chris K, and in a room with Chris S and Krister J. They’d know the most about my work habits.
[3] Dan K was my boss here before I was head writer, and then Zack P was my sidekick. They saw the most of what I did.
[4] Wilson D and Christine P both worked alongside me there. You can ask my former manager Myron R too.
[5] See Dan and Zack, but also Kevin B was the on-set producer.
[6] BJ T and Nick F know my work there.
[7] Nick M and Ben S were the two contributors who also worked with the team.
[8] HUNK was the Maude team I directed; I was brought on by Ben S. I also worked with Black Magic Lab – Anne V C, Krista J, and Meggie S.
[9] Class rosters are real big, so ask me directly for that.
[10] I’ve helped Joe G, Jake W, and Gianluca R with moving recently.
[11] Lauren R was my boss on this project.
[12] Matt K and Dan K were in the room when I was doing this.
[13] Tracey S was my replacement in my first job there; Donat P was my supervisor and Antonio C was my co-worker for the second one (only had one day overlap with my replacement that time). (All job changes my choice.)
[14] Chris K was the editor I went to with this, and Beth C was the editor who hired me.