After a few months of interviewing, you’ve landed your first Hollywood job, and you couldn’t be more excited. Your family and friends are incredibly proud of you, and you feel like your career is finally on track. But then you realize the job isn’t what you thought it was. Maybe you’re bored, maybe you aren’t getting along with your coworkers, or maybe your boss is just plain abusive. You start dreading going to work each day, but you’re afraid that quitting will make you look like you aren’t tough enough to handle Hollywood or will raise questions about your level of commitment during future interviews. What should you do?
First, think hard about why you accepted this job in the first place. Is it a stepping stone that is likely to lead to a position you are going to enjoy? For example, many agents ask for a one-year commitment on the desk and then will offer to help their assistants find their dream jobs. If this is the case, consider sticking it out. And if you’re bored or not enjoying the work but can accept that the situation is temporary, hopefully you can at least hang in there until you find a new job (even if you haven’t been at the company for very long). Put your energy into networking and completing tasks at the office that will boost your resume to help pass the time.
But if your boss is one of those crazy Hollywood execs that will scream and throw a stapler at you because they’re angry that you dropped a call, or that their computer is frozen, or that it’s raining, you might be better off elsewhere. You may worry that you’ll burn a bridge by leaving, but think about it — if your boss is an awful person, do you really think they’re going to help you out in the long run? Even if they like you, they’ll probably resent you if you ever decide to leave later down the line. Of course, this is a personal choice — some people handle these high-pressure desks better than others, and there’s a chance that one of these desks might land you a better job higher up in the company or will impress a future employer, so it’s really up to you if you want to stay. But if you’re truly unhappy (and especially if you’re not on the side of the industry you want to ultimately land in), you shouldn’t feel like quitting will ruin your chances of ever working in Hollywood again. You’ll need to carefully figure out how to address it in an interview, but sometimes quitting is the best choice. Look out for yourself, and trust your instincts.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan