I remember when he called, frustrated and angry. He had moved to Southern California from Seattle with dreams of making it big. Don't they all? But what he found was an ever-growing pile of debt lying next to an even greater pile of heartbreak.
Dashed hopes and rising bills. The ghoulish side effects of a struggling economy. While, from afar, California looked like heaven. Up close, it felt like hell.
What do you say to someone who has followed all your suggestions, done his homework, and - and, is a good man... A good man who just can't seem to catch a break. "John" secured a job at the Magic Kingdom within the first few weeks of living in sunny California. He was the guy cleaning up after the thousands of daily visitors, and yet, they still called him a Cast Member.
Thriving at the happiest place on earth is a little more difficult than one might think -- especially when you see your dream slip through your fingers, one broom stroke at a time. He left his ears at the gate after only six months.
"John" is, first, an actor. Not your typical struggling actor though, he actually does what a director tells him to do and doesn't try to give reasons why or blame others for the choices he makes on stage. He just says OK when given direction. OK. Yes, most actors have dreams of making it big, of surviving auditions, of actually being paid for their craft. There is very little chance of this happening. It is only slightly more difficult for an astronaut to get a moon gig, than it is for an actor to get a paying gig. But that gig has not been the focus of his year long job search -- he has been looking for a real job. Anything.
I sat across from John and listened to his dreadful story of student loans, car loans, stacking credit card bills, as he uttered the hushed words of bankruptcy. Angst bannered his face and without asking for help, he told of what will happen if he is unable to find a job quickly...
It's an all too familiar tale.
LinkedIn, Craigslist, Temp Agencies, Twitter, Want Ads, Job Boards, Recruiters telling him "get lost," and close to thirty interviews later. No offers. No jobs.
How could I help?
I jumped in the deep end with him on this one and sent out a "vulnerable" email to my local network. I told his story and vouched for him. By mid-morning, I had received 10 replies with suggestions and job openings in the area. And the emails continued to roll in. And unfortunately, like millions of job seekers, his resume makes him look like a job hopper.
Yes, he is struggling. Yes, he is angry... but I saw it, a glimmer of hope. That may just be enough to get him through the next go-round. Maybe.