How I Keep on Leaping


I am one of those girls who cannot seem to hold down a job.

I could spend the next several hundred words, here, exploring the myriad of psycho-social reasons for this phenomenon. But don't worry. I won't.

By Joselin Linder, author of The Good Girl's Guide to Living in Sin.

Now, in some cases I have quit a job out of boredom or frustration with a boss who was a little too "hands on." In others I have (perhaps not-so-wisely) stopped by some spa or other for a quick massage or loofa while running office-related errands.

In one instance, while working non-stop for 14-18 hour days, I was fired for not being the assistant of my boss' LA-based boss who had recently followed a man to New York City.

The good news in all of this, is that I have always managed to get myself new employment. Even if I had to spend a week or month (depending on the severance package, or lack thereof) crying at the movies before being able to snap myself out of the horrified I-will-never-be-able-to-hold-down-a-job stupor into which I inevitably fell.

I do so by throwing myself headlong-into some endeavor that does not pay me—and yes, you read that correctly.

I get the whole thing about money and needing it to live and whatnot.

However, in the many places I have worked doing the many things I have done, I have never gotten a single paid job off of Craigslist, Monster, Mediabistro or the want ads.

I have, however:

  • Gotten internships where there was no internship.
  • Started businesses where before there was no business.
  • Raised money to start a non-profit where there was no one helping.

And through each of these, I have inevitably gotten hired to work for real cash-money.

This all began when I was twenty-two, just out of college, and taking a bunch of people to lunch for "informational interviews."

A close family friend offered to meet me for one of these and even better, offered to pay for lunch. I took him up on it, not because I was necessarily interested in the field in which he worked, but because I am usually quite hungry.

"Jos," he began, "if you want to make money, work the hardest when you aren't being paid."

Between every job, I have also experienced this strong desire to recreate myself.

So, when I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker after realizing that a wife-beater girl should never work in fashion, I called a small independent film production company and asked if I could come hang around the office.

When later, I felt shallow for working in film, I found a friend starting an organization to help Nepalese orphans and hosted fundraisers. When I decided that the guy helping the orphans was never going to date me, I realized I wanted to be a writer-and I rallied my writer-friends into a weekly writing group.

When, for example, the film company told me I could work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as long as I brought my own lunch and didn't expect anyone to talk to me, I showed up dressed like I thought they were as good as corporate.

I made sure that if the coffee was made, the shelves were stocked and if the shelves were stocked, the floors were swept. If I overheard a director mention that he needed a GY-HD110U 3-CCD HDV/DV, I figured out what-the-hell it was and then sent a list of comparative prices to my bosses without being asked.

Now, after they hired me, I have to admit my eager diligence (which, let's face it, bordered on compulsive ass-kissing) fell off to the point that I was showing up in cut-off jean shorts and answering the phone, if I felt like it.

When they suggested I might not be a born filmmaker and that I look elsewhere for employment, no one was surprised.

I am not a born filmmaker, just as I am not a very good non-profit manager, talent management assistant, casting director or marketing executive.

(So far the writing thing has been working out, but don't worry—I am not counting my chickens and am always looking at the ins-and-outs of cattle ranching.)

But, in every instance, before getting the job I worked my ass off at not having a job.

And if any of those careers HAD worked out...Well just imagine how impressive it would be to be able to say—while collecting my Oscar for best film:

This is possible because of the unpaid all-nighter I put in on a forgotten indie comedy that never was without a pot of coffee, a bowl of M&M's or a GY-HD110U 3-CCD HDV/DV.

After which I would thank God and the Academy.