So, I’m two months into my new job, and who knows, perhaps even the beginning of a career. I’ve never actually had a career. I was an Actor but having never been payed to Act, I can’t really say it was a career. I have been, and still am a writer. I have been paid to write on more than one occasion, am a regular contributor to The Forward and I have some excellent rejections from professional agents and editors. But I don’t think my writing qualifies as a career, due to the fact that I’m not actually earning a living with my prose. I will say I’m a professional writer if I asked, but I cannot claim a career.
So the question beckons…what the hell have I been doing for the past 20+ years?
THE LONG TERM TEMP GIGS
Goldman Sachs: Aka The Dark Overlord. Worked in different departments over several years. Ended up in the legal department. Eventually I was offered a full-time job (legally one can only temp for a certain amount of hours a year) But, I was an Actor, so of course I declined, and that was the end of my time at Goldman. Six months later Goldman went public and all the employees got shares of the company. Figures.
Radio City Productions at Radio City Music Hall: The Marketing Department was fun until everyone eventually quit and I was running reports and doing projections for the Christmas Spectacular and proofing ad copy. Eventually I was offered a full-time job but, I was an Actor, so of course I declined, and that was the end of my time at Radio City Music Hall. Eventually Radio City Productions was bought my MSG, which owns the Rangers. Figures.
Hachette Book Group: The most recent. I got free books and a nice tote bag.
OTHER TEMP GIGS
Goldman Sachs Trading Floor. Frat boys screaming, phones ringing, the lush days before the 2008 recession. Employment Period: 1 Day.
Cyd Levin Talent Management. Clients included Luke Perry. I signed his 8x10s.
Grey Advertising. 8 years of ass cream, erectile dysfunction medicine and telling my boss not to roll joints in his office because it was reeking up the joint.
Actors Equity. Fifth person to have this particular job in 4 years. After I left, they restructured the department.
[Magazine Name Omitted. Was advised I could get sued] The publisher was a coke-head, porn watching, narcissistic know it-all. I was laid off after eight months, due to lack of funds. The magazine folded less than year later.
Starbucks at Barnes and Nobles. Really. What else is there to say?
Receptionist for a Salsa Studio. The dancing kind, not the eating kind.
Handing out flyers in front of Madison Square Garden. A very low moment.
Popular Science Magazine. Good gig until my boss decided to go to Readers Digest.
Readers Digest. Followed my boss, only to have RD declare bankruptcy a few months later and get laid off.
World Science Festival. More like the World Science Terrorist Organization. Started looking for a new job after one week. Cried a minimum of twice a week.
Prospect Park Alliance. Part time Copywriter. A good gig, I got cut along with the budget.
Israeli Vocal Arts Institute. Part time. How can I put this simply. Worked for a crazy martyr, who, when I asked for a raise after a year of working more than 20 hours a week, without any support, told me how poor she was then literally threw some money at me. Threw it. Yes, I took it.
Part time bill collector / accountant for a small graphic design firm, The CHMajor Group, (no relation, just coincidence).
Gotham Chamber Opera. I’m pretty sure we all know how that one worked out.
Unemployment aka The Pogey aka On The Dole aka How Many Coffee Shops Can I Visit in a Week? I have been unemployed three times, for a total of approximately 2 years and 4 months. The question, is, did I use the time effectively and to better myself as a person? I’m going to say yes, but in reality, probably no.
Angela Bassett’s personal assistant. Length of actual employment, 2o minutes, give or take…
Angela was in town doing a play, and she needed an assistant for the duration of the run. I interviewed with Angela and her husband Courtney B. Vance. A few days later I received a call from one of Angela’s people informing me she decided it would be easiest to fly her assistant out from L.A. rather than train someone new. Bummed but not crushed, I booked a trip to London (having recently lost the Goldman Sachs temp gig…) A few days later I received a call from Courtney B. Vance. “Naomi a few things have changed, and Angela and I were wondering if you were still interested.”
Oh, I was interested alright! I re-booked my trip, postponed a jury notice, and two days later I was at the Public Theatre ready for duty. I was in the lobby when Courtney and Angela walked in. Let’s re-phrase, I was in the lobby when Courtney walked in, and Angela, without a glance my way, basically ran by me and into the theatre. Courtney approached, we shook hands and he asked me to run an errand. On it! It was fast, maybe 10 minutes Upon my return he says “Angela has decided she doesn’t want an assistant.”
And…scene. No offer of payment for the day, no remorse at actually using my services when you knew I was doomed, not even an offer to pay my subway fare. Stupid Hollywood actors. [This story is actually much longer, but I’ve edited down to blog digestible size, please let me know if you want the full version]
I often find myself passing buildings throughout Manhattan and think to myself “I’m pretty sure I worked there.” Chances are I did.