This is a true story about a guy I know. Let’s call him Abe.
In August of last year, Abe contacted me because I recently moved to Los Angeles and he had been thinking of making the move as well. He’d been thinking about it for quite a while, in fact. He graduated with a degree in Music Business almost two years prior and had come to the realization that there were not many relevant career opportunities in the Southern United States. His degree was going to waste while he bounced around between minimum wage jobs. Los Angeles was where he needed to be, but he was hesitant to make the move.
Abe is a family friend and I was more than willing to help him out. I told him everything I knew about LA and offered to let him crash in my guest bedroom for a bit until he could find a place of his own. He was planning on making the move to LA in September. He had already established several industry contacts from career fairs, had references in hand, and even went as far as setting up interviews months in advance. Off to a great start, right?
September came around and Abe hadn’t left yet. He was worried his high mileage car wouldn’t make the journey across the country, so he was looking to replace it with a more reliable vehicle. Fair enough.
He then pushed the trip back another few months because Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec is the “slow season” in entertainment. Pilot season starts in January, so he’ll come then. Jobs will be readily available and he should be able to snatch one up in a jiffy.
Abe’s expected date of departure was now January 11th. January rolled around and that date was pushed back to January 13th. Well wouldn’t you know it, that just happens to be Friday the 13th, and of course it’s unsafe to drive on Friday the 13th, so the departure was pushed back another day, and then a couple more.
The following Monday, after 4 months of delays, Abe finally began his journey. He had taken the first tiny step toward achieving his dreams of working in the music industry.
When Abe arrived in LA, my girlfriend and I were extremely accommodating. Not only did we open our doors and put a (rent-free) roof over his head, we went out of our way to show him around town and make sure he was comfortable. Los Angeles can be overwhelming, and we wanted to ensure he would be able to find his dream job and a place of his own as painlessly as possible. We were in the position to provide such an opportunity.
And what did we get in return? Excuses. A whole fucking month of excuses. Abe spent almost a year preparing for this trip, and when he finally made it to LA, he did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He managed to delay pre-arranged interviews (yeah, the ones he had prepared months in advance) because he didn’t want to deal with traffic. He blew off appointments with his important industry contacts because he was sick (he wasn’t). He didn’t leave the apartment for days on end because he didn’t want to lose his street parking spot. He didn’t get a part time job because it would deter him from finding his dream job. He didn’t go to clubs in Hollywood because they were too exclusive. Oh – and I learnt that he had a handful of friends in the area, but he couldn’t visit them because it’s tough to find parking where they live. I kid you not.
Instead of taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity that Abe had been given, he locked himself in a bedroom and rattled off any excuse he could muster up. And you know what? We kicked him out. He had more than enough time to land on his feet and find direction. But he didn’t. Now he’s renting a room at the YMCA because he didn’t look at a single apartment during his month long stay (despite the tips I gave him on finding a place) and I don’t think he’s found a job yet.
The only person Abe hurt: himself.
* * *This story is a bit absurd (albeit completely true), but the funny thing about excuses is that they can be cleverly disguised to the point that they almost seem legitimate: I can’t start a website because I don’t know how to code; I can’t run a startup because I have no business experience; I can’t travel the world because I’m too busy with work.
Are you fucking kidding me? It’s 2012, and I call bullshit. We are living in an age of virtually unlimited access to knowledge and opportunity. It’s not okay to have excuses anymore. We complain that we don’t have enough time, but we spend hours a day on Facebook and Youtube. We complain that we don’t have the proper knowledge or skill, but anything we could ever want to know is right at our fingertips and the information infrastructure is expanding so rapidly that we can literally learn forever.
If you aren’t doing exactly what you want to be doing, there’s only one reason: you don’t want it badly enough. That’s all there is to it.