To listen to me, you'd think that all I did in California was take pictures, go on hikes, and eat and drink. But I was there to meet with people - current, past, and potential clients, and anyone who might help me find a job or support me in my hypothetical move across the country.
It's easier in LA, because I've been traveling there on business for at least ten years now, and have a handful of friends, business associates and acquaintances already there - unfortunately pretty much all in the music industry. Despite arriving to one meeting only to find out it had been canceled, I managed to squeeze a lot into LA, including one potential new client and, surprisingly, one potential job that may relocate me there sooner than I thought.
Funny when you think you're just in a meeting, and it turns into a job interview. Then again, 13 years into a career, is there that much of a difference anymore?
The same thing happened in San Diego, where I had to beg more to get people to agree to meet with me. I was lucky enough to be introduced to some San Diegans through my contacts elsewhere, but others I hunted down via blind outreach to info@ email addresses, human resource departments, and actual job applications. Surprisingly, people who I'd never met, who didn't really work in music and entertainment, were actually more than willing to meet with me, with immediate offers for help. And what I thought was an informational interview at The Old Globe Theatre turned out to be an actual interview, for a job I could actually do and probably would enjoy doing.
More than once, within a few minutes of meeting me, the person behind the desk - or the other side of the table at a coffee shop or taco bar - would say, "I really like your energy," and surprised, I would thank them. I wondered if there's just a receptiveness to people in California, or whether my energy was different, changed in some way on the other coast, far from home, despite the stress of driving and navigating and getting lost and being late. Or maybe it's both, a difference on both sides that finally allows me to connect with people with little effort or investment, just...being.
It happened everywhere while I was in California, not just dressed up for a meeting, handing out my business card, but with bartenders, receptionists, musicians in the house band, fellow drinkers, hotel owners, and Weight Watchers meeting leaders. People bought me drinks, took my number and actually used it, became my Facebook friend and offered to help me find a job.
How is it that in a state that's pretty much as broke as New York (probably more), people find a way to be...nice?
Now that I've returned to New York, which became cold and windy the minute I landed at JFK and where I walk invisibly down sidewalks while being accosted by girls with giant purses and shopping bags, I'm facing a very real job opportunity which may place me in LA by May 1. With a month or less to pack up my belongings I want to keep, and give away those I don't, I will need to move myself for the first time in six years.
The good thing is, I feel like California is waiting for me with open arms...
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