Well Done, MediumPosted: April 5, 2008
Television has the power to change lives.
Watching the first man walk on the moon, watching the wall come down in Berlin – those were pretty good. But TV has recently touched my life in a much more important way. It has helped me look for a job.
I was laid off two weeks ago, and it’s been depressing. Looking at the staggering unemployment statistics, looking at my not so staggering resume, wondering how I’m going to find a job.
I was watching the show MEDIUM a few days before the cruel BLO (Big Lay Off). I like this show a lot. Patricia Arquette (love her) stars as Allison Dubois, a woman who solves crimes through her dreams, which reveal information about dead people who have met some sort of untimely demise. [SPECIAL NOTE: Dear Medium show – although I truly love your show, I do have one tiny complaint. Every week Allison solves crimes through her dreams. And every week, when she has a dream, the people around her, usually her husband, spend the first two acts telling her the dream probably doesn’t mean anything and she should forget about it. This is getting tiresome. When you establish that a character has a talent, please don’t waste the audience’s time creating false conflict by denying that talent is valid. Allison is always right. Every week. Work with it. Thank you. Signed, your loving fan.]
In the show, Jake Weber plays Allison’s ever-supportive husband Joe, an aerospace engineer who, this season, has been struggling with being out of work. In this particular episode, Joe went to his routine appointment at the unemployment bureau where he affirmed, yet again, that he was still out of work, and still looking for work. He was noticeably frustrated and angry, and was trying not to take it out on the man who was conducting the interview. At one point the man, very aware of this frustration, looked at Joe and said “Mr. Dubois, why are you waiting for someone to give you permission to earn a living?” This question/statement startled Joe, and you could see that it registered, in some way. Later in the show he came up with an idea for an invention that could potentially provide him with an income.
My own cruel BLO didn’t happen until several days after that episode aired, and for the first few days of unemployment I was in shock – angry, depressed, lost, confused (mostly because my normal Starbucks routine had been disrupted.) But yesterday I was looking at the umpteenth job board online, at a writer/producer job that seemed interesting. A job I knew I could do, to which I could contribute a lot, creatively. But I also knew that my resume wasn’t a “match.” I have all the real world skills and experience through the independent projects Rick and I have produced, but not the kind of experience “they” look for – no title, no big name company I’ve worked for. I don’t look good on paper.
Then suddenly, for some reason, I though of that line from Medium.
“Tara, why are you waiting for someone to give you permission to earn a living?”
I’ve basically been an independent producer for the last two years. Why not think of myself as the one in charge, not the one standing, hat in hand, begging “Please sir, may I have some more?” Why not believe in the work I’ve done for Post Haste? I’ve wrangled 60 drunk rock ‘n roll fans, coaxed a vulnerable performance from a comedic actor and edited 13 short videos on Final Cut, without any formal training. Not to toot my own horn, but why can’t I toot my own horn? Why do I need “them” to validate what I’ve done? Why am I letting “them” define what I can do?
In reality, I’m still going to have to ask someone to hire me. But somehow, one random line from a TV show made me stop and think about my situation in a different way. Somehow, that one random line has given me a little bit of courage.
And that’s why I say well done, Medium! Well done. Now if you’ll just listen to me about those story lines …