Reconnecting Just to Ask for a Job

Fred writes in about reconnecting with an old boss:

So, a field producer I worked for a couple years ago (I was a PA) recently started working on a show that I like. I haven’t actually spoken to him in maybe a year or so, but I want to ask him if he could pass my resume along to the show.

However, I’m worried it will come off as me using him (which is technically true…). The polite side of me sees it as being rude that the only reason I’m getting in touch with him now, after over a year, is because I found out he got a cool gig and I want to piggyback off of that. That aspect of this work is still something I’m struggling with. It’s not in my nature to ask people for favors.

Honestly, though, I have been meaning to get in touch with him again. Him working on this show was just a coincidence.

Basically, my question is: Do people on the other end of my situation care when people they haven’t spoken to in a while contact them once they get a good gig? Do they see it as people trying to leach off of their success?

There’s a fine line between networking and using people, but honestly, most AP’s (and people at that level) expect to get calls like this.

It’s not weird to say, “Hey, [name], I heard you’re working on [show]. I really enjoyed working for you on [previous show], so if you need a new PA, let me know.” Or something to that effect.

One thing to keep in mind– they get calls/texts/emails like this all the time. So you’re not being rude, but you’re not really standing out from the crowd, either. Have you ever been to a seminar or a live podcast, where there’s a famous or influential guest? They’re swarmed with admirers looking for some kind of favor or affirmation. Don’t be that guy.

If you are genuinely interested in reconnecting, it’s a good idea to throw some other personal information in there. Ask about the wife and kids, or that side project you know he was working on. You may even want to try an indirect approach– “I know you’re probably busy, but if you have a free evening, maybe we can catch up over drinks.”

Now you’re not the guy asking for something; you’re the guy offering something.

One more thing– don’t wait until you need something to try reconnecting with an old boss. Wait a few days after wrap, and send a handwritten note. Doesn’t have to be fancy; just nice. “Great working with you this season. I really loved [insert personal anecdote here].” You know, so it doesn’t look like you found a form letter from a PA website or something.

Crew Call is back!

With the long weekend coming up, why not catch up on the new season of Crew Call, the Below the Line Podcast? We’ve got a new host, and a lot of great guests. There’s 1st AD Sushi Garciapara, F is for Family creator Michael Price, stand in Clay Chamberlin, and more.

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