I’m calling you out, La La Land. Almost everyone in LA, minus Ariana Grande, the angel that writes my morning playlists, is the worst. Now I’m not a negative person, so I’ll keep this article as positive as possible without it slipping into a mindless rant.
People in LA suck. A lot.
If you know me, you know LA is my favorite place in the world. With job offers in Venice, Hawaii, and England, I turned them all down to live on the central coast of California, just to be within three driving hours of LA so I could spend every weekend in Hollywood. Why? Because I like paying $15 for a blended bowl of fruit called an Açai Bowl. There are other reasons, but that’s not why we’re here.
“What can you do for me?”
This seems to be the slogan of almost any golden networking “opportunity” I’ve run into in LA. It’s not always that blunt, but that’s the underlying message behind “let’s grab lunch, connect, and collaborate!”
For those of you who don’t have the privilege of living in the land of avocado toast, here is what almost every networking event/party/luncheon ever looks like:
You walk in, already underdressed, and immediately deal with the anxiety to start a conversation and connect with someone interesting. Some people arrive in exotic cars, have incredible outfits, and entertain circles of people around them as they share their latest story on how they produced/wrote/filmed/photographed some bullshit project no one has heard of. But they drop a few names like “Warner Brothers”, “Dwayne Johnson” or “Atlantic Records” and suddenly in the eyes of the thirsty leeches around them, they’re somebody.
You look back at your Honda Accord you parked yourself because you couldn’t afford valet, and then back down at the discounted American Eagle outfit you bought from the thrift shop and realize that you don’t stand a chance against someone who brought in a swimsuit model out of their Lamborghini Huracan.
But you decide to take a leap of faith and talk with someone since you drove nine miles, or 2.5 hours, to get from Studio City to Santa Monica.
The conversation always starts out the same. One of you asks what the other does, and you each sugar coat your job to make it sound as impressive as possible. Even though you sit at the same desk every day, and want to head butt a knife. The other person is sometimes so full of themselves that they are even reluctant to give you their phone number, for fear that you don’t have enough to offer and you might waste a few minutes of their time.
“Follow me on Instagram. DM me?”
Yeah, ok. I’ll get to that right after I finish grinding my ear off with a cheese grater.
After a few surface level, and painfully fake, interactions, you are left with several conversations about other people, promised opportunities that won’t exist the next day, and shook plenty of hands that will try to forget the memory as soon as they can find someone who can do what you do for cheaper or for free.
But then you manage to find one person that sticks out.
It’s the guy/girl who showed up in the Toyota Corolla and also is wearing a <$50 set of clothes. So you talk to them.
They do this magical thing where they make the entire conversation about you, and don’t mention once what they do or whom they work with. Amazing. You keep talking.
They ask you what your goals are and your talents because they’re interested in…wait for it…you.
We’re onto some next level black magic here. Who is this person?
So you continue to talk, and with some tactful questioning, you’re able to discover what they do. And they humbly reveal it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do. So you decide to get their contact info. After exchanging, you continue to talk about common subjects of interest. I’m not talking about politics, recent trends, or celebrity gossip. Real topics. Like psychology, what motivates you, mentorship, leadership, and common values.
This type of person in LA is a rare gem. They’re hard to spot, but with the right set of eyes, you can find at least one at every event. They’re usually off in the corner sipping whiskey, working the camera/audio at a major function, carrying the champagne for guests at an exotic reveal party, or just wearing the dumbest outfit there. These are the Golden Snitches to your Quidditch game. Catch one, and you’ve won the night.
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