Wise words from Robin Williams (in full Serious Beard Mode) in Good Will Hunting, but just because it’s not your fault, doesn’t mean it’s not your responsability.
Last week, I woke up to a text from one of my boss (an associate producer) asking to meet him at his boss (the producer)’s storage unit with the key to get in. As asked, I went to our office, grabbed the white key card from our producer’s personal assistant, then I headed up to storage in Van Nuys. After waiting for my boss to arrive, I put the card to the security box by the gate, expecting said gate to open.
I did this two more times before panic started to sink in. My boss got out of his car and tried the card as well. That’s when we both realized I had the wrong card.
He made a phone call to the producer. Turns out we were supposed to get into the storage unit to grab one of his RC racecars to drive around. Seriously, this had nothing to do with the film we’re working on. Why I had to do this, much less the associate producer, was beyond me.
Anyway, said associate producer came over to my car door, knocked on the window, and proceeded to rip me a new asshole. I hadn’t been reamed out like this in maybe five years. He told me I needed to get my act together, pick my shit up, and stop fucking everything up. He said I wasted his and everyone else’s day and told me to fuck myself before storming off and driving away.
Perfect Ending to a Great Week
Now it had already been a stressful week up until this point and this was almost the tipping point. See, our big boss isn’t just a producer. He’s a huge Hollywood producer of scores of massively popular films, and I at least have some respect for what he does. However, my boss only has his position in our company because he allows himself to be the big boss’s bitch. He doesn’t really do anything, save make matters worse for everyone else because he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He handles the big boss’s personal bullshit in exchange for producer credit on the movies.
Anyway, after a mini breakdown, I do what any other good PA would do– go the extra mile trying to find a way into the storage unit. After sweet-talking one of the employees and explaining the situation, she allowed me into the storage unit.1 So I call my boss back, and tell him I got in. He lets me know the car is in a green and black case. I searched the unit for 45 minutes, and guess what?
The case was never in there to begin with!
Turns out, the case was at the producer’s house the entire time. Plus, a meeting came up, so he didn’t even end up having time to race.
Thus Concludes our Lesson for Today
The point of this story, besides allowing me to vent, is to reinforce the fact that it’s always your responsiblity, as the low man or woman on the totem pole, to double check everything. Was it my fault the assistant gave me the wrong card? No, but I should have asked her or someone else to double-check if it was the correct card. I’m the one who would be me getting yelled at, not her.
Also, you have to accept that you’re going to screw up on the job; the key thing is how you bounce back. I could have just driven back to the office and bitched to everyone about how it wasn’t my fault and my boss is a dick. Instead I stayed and went the extra mile. After doing him a personal favor by running a package up to his house in the valley during rush hour, I was back in his good graces. I think he’s already forgotten about my mishap.
You’re might have to work for people who aren’t as intelligent as you, but just remember to take a breath and keep counting down the days till you can parlay this PA gig into being the next big shot writer, director, or whatever you want to be.
- Great security, by the way. Next on my to-do list is moving the producer’s stuff to a more secure storage unit.↩