In the past few weeks and months I’ve started to dive back into the world of searching for jobs. I’m at an odd point in my life where instead of being reactive to what jobs fall into my lap, I can be proactive in looking for a job that I want. It’s a strange transition since I’ve spent most of my professional career accepting jobs that were offered to me, instead of walking into a room and saying “hire me.” So in my initial search I’ve been identifying organizations that I identify with, and am taking it from there. One such organization is the new TV show Last Week with John Oliver. The show is hilarious and smart, but more importantly is their journalistic approach, which is more long form reporting than short form. If you’ve seen the show you know that instead of 3 5-minute pieces about news items they will get deep into 1 item for 15 minutes. I love this style, I think it fits my style of writing/producing, so I began to seek them out.
I started, as usual, by checking their website for employment contact information. Nothing listed. I checked HBO’s site. Nothing listed.
I asked friends who used to work on the Daily Show – no one knew anyone. I asked a friend who works at CBS (where they film the show) – he didn’t know anyone.
Then it became a quest.
I asked old TV professors – no one knew anyone. I asked friends who write for late night TV – don’t know anyone.
I called HBO’s general line – they wouldn’t connect me with anyone.
I even called John Oliver’s agency and spoke to a very pleasant receptionist who said that unless I was looking to book John, there was nothing she could do. She suggested I try to find one of the producers and go that route.
So I put each producer’s name into Facebook and checked to see if I had any mutual friends with any of them – there was one! An old professor I know was Facebook friends with one of the executive producers. I e-mailed him: “this is a random question for you, but how well do you know XXXX”? His response was that they went to high school together and really haven’t talked in many years. No dice.
Somewhere in the middle there I sent the show’s Facebook page a message asked about any contact info. And recently I finally got the response I was waiting for: “Thank you for reaching out Asher, but we are fully staffed at this time.”
That’s all I ever wanted: acknowledgement. More important to me than the actual answer is the process. I just want to know that the avenues I’m running down are at least in the right direction. It’s like when you’re in middle school and you push a girl over just so she notices you. Or more accurately from my life, when she beams you with a red bouncey ball while playing dodgeball. But now that someone at John Oliver’s show acknowledges my existence, I can’t give up. I won’t give up. I might apply to more jobs, I might even take other jobs. But John, if you’re out there, there’s still a piece of my professional heart for you to have.
In the words of a personal hero, Andy Dufrane, after receving funding for his prison library after months of letter writing: “I guess I’ll write two letters a week now.”