asking a coworker to introduce me to her celebrity friends, losing expensive work equipment, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. Can I ask my coworker to introduce me to her celebrity friends?

I am 22 and just started my first job in the entertainment industry. I love my work and am especially happy to be working with my co-assistant, who I’ll call Tess. She is funny and smart and has been really helpful as I’ve been getting trained on our shared duties. I know through social media that Tess is an extremely sociable person with connections to a couple of actresses and writers that I follow and would love to work with someday — I often see her in photos on celebrities’ Instagrams or every once in a while, a celebrity will appear on hers.

I’m wondering if there’s any particular etiquette around asking her to hang out outside of work with the purpose of piggybacking on some of those connections. I am very envious of her famous friends and for a couple specific people she hangs out with, I really believe I have a lot in common with these people and could be a valued member of their writing staff. Is there a good way to ask her this, or is it inappropriate?

Well, it’s pretty much the definition of using someone for what they can do for you, so no, don’t do it. If you were interested in Tess for herself and wanted to hang out with her even if she didn’t have celebrity connections, it would be fine to make social overtures to her. But it sounds like you see her as a means to an end, and that’s not a great way to treat someone. (She’s also likely to pick up on it, which could negatively impact your working relationship with her.)

Once you’ve worked with Tess longer and have both gotten to know each other better, it’s possible that you could just be up-front with her about your interest. But you’d need to wait a while — minimum of six months, I’d say, if not longer — in order for her to even be able to judge whether she’d be comfortable connecting you to people. And there’s a good chance it would still feel off to ask then, depending on the relationship you have with her. (If you’re not close, then it’s a flat no.) She also probably has a bunch of people trying to access her connections in this way, so you should tread very lightly, if at all. Heavy emphasis on “if at all.”

2. Losing expensive work equipment

In my office, we travel long distances with sensitive equipment — tablets, hot spots, cell phones, laptops, nicer cameras. Our mobile offices are 100% company-owned tech. As someone who lives more or less out of my car, I struggle to keep organized as I’m often commuting 4+ hours and need what little time I have at home to sleep and get ready for the next day.

Occasionally, I’ll misplace something in my travel bag or it’ll fall out on my car floor. I’ve always found it after a bit of digging, but recently I just couldn’t find my work phone and after a week of looking was ready to head to my supervisor and confess that I’d lost it (it slipped into the liner or my briefcase). I know that’s serious and can’t happen. I also know that making what I make, I couldn’t have offered to pay for it. How would I have that conversation to maximize accountability, be fair, and hopefully not get fired?

I will say that for me to truly lose something, there’s a chance it was stolen — which I considered after calling everywhere I was that week. But is it disingenuous to say that when you don’t know for sure? Would that even be any better? What do you think?

Typically something like this getting lost once would be considered a normal cost of doing business — sometimes things get lost or misplaced, especially when you’re traveling all the time. A good employer isn’t going to expect you to cover the cost of a replacement.

But if it starts happening more than that, that’s generally more of a problem. It’s still not one that they should ask you to foot the bill for, but it’s something they could understandably hold you accountable for in the broader context of your performance — meaning that it’s reasonable for them to say “part of your job is keeping track of this stuff, and we expect you to find a reliable way to do it.” Given that, it’s probably worth some short-term investment in figuring out a better system for organizing your equipment — ideally one that doesn’t require much work from you once it’s in place. (I bet commenters will have good suggestions about this.)

Regarding saying something was stolen when you don’t know for sure, you wouldn’t want to present that as certain fact since you don’t actually know, but it’s fine to say something like, “I’ve looked absolutely everywhere it could be and called everywhere I’ve been in the last week. It’s possible that it was stolen, but I can’t say for sure.”

3. Can I ask for a title change?

My current job title does not match my job responsibilities. My title is along the lines of “Client Success Coach,” while I actually perform a lot of operations management, office management, product development/ UX design, on top of “coaching” clients. I know I’m one of the highest paid employees (it’s nonprofit so none of us are making that much) so I know I’m not being overworked for less money.

It’s more about my title reading as if I do less than what I actually do for the company. Another person in the office has the title Operations Manager and I have been the one training them and doing the operations for our services. Is there way to ask my boss for a title change without a change in pay/responsibilities? This is a concern for me because I don’t want to put “Coach” on my business cards — I do so much more than “coach” clients for this company!

You can ask for a title change! Explain your reasoning and say that you’re not asking for a change in duties or salary, but that you’d like a title that better reflects what you actually do. Ideally you’d also suggest the title you’d prefer (with a back-up in case they don’t go for that one). Make sure that whatever you suggest fits within their existing salary structure — meaning, for example, that you shouldn’t suggest a director title if the other directors manage staff and you don’t, or so forth. They’re going to be looking at whether the proposed title makes sense in the larger context of the organization, so you’ll have better luck if you think that part through too.

4. Did not following up right away cost me the job?

I’m currently unemployed for the second time this year and I just went through a particularly heartbreaking and puzzling rejection. I blame myself for it, but I wanted to get your perspective.

A friend had referred me for a really cool contract social media coordinator role at a healthcare company and I decided to go through the application process. First, there was a phone call with the hiring manager, then an in-person meeting with members of the team but not the hiring manager herself (she was away). This all took place a couple of weeks ago, then I had a final round interview yesterday with the hiring manager and more members of the team. It all went extremely well — I felt like we all got along and I asked and answered great questions.

At the end of the meeting, the hiring manager simply told me “Think it through and email me with your thoughts.” However, she didn’t give me a clear timeline and I didn’t have a chance to email. Somehow I got caught up in applying for other jobs just in case this opportunity fell through and what do you know — within 24 hours since that meeting, I received an email from her saying that they were moving forward with another candidate! Did I screw this up by not emailing right away? I’m so upset at myself for this and feel that I missed out on a great opportunity. I’m in the interview process with other companies (another reason why I was a bit hesitant to email right away), but I think this was the role I wanted the most out of all my current prospects.

Eh. Yeah, ideally you would have emailed within 24 hours, since it sounds like she was putting the ball in your court and was waiting for you to get back to her before she’d make a decision. And especially with a field like social media, it wouldn’t be surprising if they want to see you operating on pretty short timelines.

But she handled this really poorly and certainly worse than you did. She didn’t give you any sense of what timeline she was expecting, and so if you were the top candidate at that point, the idea that she’d instead hire someone else after 24 hours is ridiculous — which means that either (a) they operate really strangely and this is about them, not you, or (b) you weren’t actually the top candidate, and so this isn’t about your response time and is just about selecting someone else.

{ 337 comments… read them below }

  1. namelesscommentator*

    #1 please don’t ask. It’s the height of rudeness and “I don’t care about you, only what you can do for me.” Let it happen naturally – but let the celebs live their lives without all of their 2nd degree social networks vying for them. It’s a bad look in the entertainment industry to look like you can’t function normally in and about people in the industry. Let it happen naturally.

    Another thought is if these friends are featured all over her social media she might not be that close to them. Social media is exaggerated. And, I know the “important people” I’m actually close with, I go out of my way not to mention – because it puts me in a really awkward position if people ask for things like a connection.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      Agreed. OP 1, if it is meant to happen, let it happen naturally instead of forcing it.

      Become friends with Tess over the next few months, if and only if she is someone with whom you’d want to be friends totally on her merits. Then, if you do encounter any of her celebrity friends, be 100% cool, and don’t leap all over them.

      Be aware that the progression I just mentioned means that you might indeed not be able to connect with her friends the way you’d like to. So be it. You aren’t entitled to her connections.

      Of the bold-faced names I know, every last one of them would rather be treated like first a human, then later an acquaintance, then later a friend, and all of that by someone who has potential to be an actual friend or someone who can create a mutually beneficial relationship, *not* someone who wants to use them as a one-way business connection, or someone who wants to become a hanger-on for reflected glory, or just someone trying to use them.

      Only if you meet all of those criteria is it then even remotely permissible to consider business possibilities, and it takes time and genuine connection to get to that point.

      Then, and I can’t stress it enough, not being overly and outwardly eager to get to the inner circle, and not acting entitled about being in the inner circle if you get there, is what helps keep you there.

      (I said all of that like I regularly run with the big dogs, which I don’t. But I do know a few folks who’ve worked very hard, and/or been very successful, and/or been very lucky.)

    2. Fake old Converse shoes*

      Seconded the social media part. You don’t know if those photos are legit or expertly edited.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Well, not edited as in fake and doctored, but quite possibly curated, yes. I have a few pictures of myself where I am with famous people, but they come from events like book signings, and there isn’t actually a networking relationship to be used. If I played those photos up more on my social media and my me-and-dorky-ordinary-folks ones less, I could see someone getting the false impression that I actually know famous people, which I do not in any real sense.

      2. an infinite number of monkeys*

        Not edited, but most people’s social media personas lead somewhat more exciting lives than the actual people do. I travel to fun places for work, and sometimes my friends comment that I’m traveling all the time – but it’s only a few weeks out of the year. I just don’t post pictures of myself on the couch watching 70s game shows with a cat on my head.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            But her cat is curating her social media feed, making sure no one gets the idea that they can come and sit on Infinite’s head instead. “No! She’s out being glamorous. Don’t come by.”

        1. MCM*

          1. Can I ask my coworker to introduce me to her celebrity friends?

          I suggest you attempt to establish a relationship with her outside of work for a year. You need to invite her out for coffee, dinner, etc. If she decides you have a strong enough relationship, it will fall into place. Otherwise do not ask, it’ll look like you’re being friendly to get something from her, friendships with hidden agendas will always bite you in the rump. This one could bite you in the as@ and cost you your job, with a bad reference in the process.

          1. Green*

            “If she decides you have a strong enough relationship, it will fall into place.”

            That’s actually not true, and is setting up OP to try a long-game approach. The truth is: you can develop a very strong, close relationship with someone and NEVER meet their celebrity contacts. In part because they are very respectful of celebrity friend’s privacy. Usually they don’t invite other people unless celeb friend specifically says, “Bring some of your friends!”

            1. TrainerGirl*

              This reminds me of the movie “Ingrid Goes West”. The main character becomes obsessed with a social media star and moves to LA and literally stalks her, stealing something treasured to get an in with the person. OP, please, please don’t do that. Your coworker deserves far better and you sound very opportunistic. It may just be youth talking, but this isn’t the way to establish yourself.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I don’t think OP should ever ask, even if she does establish a relationship with Tess. The relationship with Tess needs to happen because Tess is independently worth being friends with (i.e., not because she has famous friends and not because OP aspires to meet said friends).

            But even after knowing Tess for a long time, OP should not ask to be connected to Tess’s celebrity friends. It’s such a significant faux pas in the entertainment world that I think asking at any time would likely sink any chance OP has of building a relationship with Tess (or ever meeting people through Tess).

            1. Koko*

              Yep. Celebrities rely on the people in their lives to function as gatekeepers. Assuming Tess does have these contacts, the fastest way for her to lose them is to abdicate that responsibility.

              The way this would happen is if Tess herself thinks highly of your work, and one of her contacts mentioned needing/looking for a writer. Then she might connect the two of you if she thinks that your candidacy is strong enough that the contact will be grateful for the introduction. Outside of that context, she’s not going to recommend you. Notice that Tess is driving the recommendation process and it originates with a need on the celebrity’s part, not on your part.

              All you can do is try to shine and hope your work earns you the kind of reputation that makes people like Tess want to recommend you to people who can help your career.

            2. Specialk9*

              Agree with all of you. One decision I made early on in my career was not to use people. I saw it all around me and it turned me off. So for example, I’m friends with the admin for the new CEO. The company is in turmoil and I’m anxious, so I’d love to pump her for inside information… But I don’t. In fact, I avoid most with talk entirely, so I don’t seem to be crossing that line.

              In the instance of the celebrities, you have three motivations: “envy”, thinking you and the celebrities could have a connection, and wanting to work for them as a writer. For envy, well, remind yourself that you are not *owed* friendships with anyone, much less famous people. It’s a hard thing for lots of us to remember, that friendship is strictly two-way.

              Your feeling a connection is nice but hugely common or they wouldn’t be celebrities, so don’t bet too hard on that.

              The third, the job, is actually a possibility. So how does that work in your industry? I’m guessing job postings are less important than word of mouth.

              Could you be open with your co-worker that you’d like to one day work in the field (is celebrity writing a field? Like ghost writing autobiographies, or curating social media?), and ask if they know what agencies are most commonly used by celebs. That way you’re asking for mentorship and sharing of her knowledge – which is flattering – rather than trying to weasel into her good graces in order to use her – which decidedly is not.

            3. Annonymouse*


              My bosses are kinda big deals in our industry (martial arts/mma) and actually get to know and befriend some pretty cool and famous people.

              These people sometimes visit our school for training etc.

              It would be the absolute height of rudeness and unprofessionalism to ask them for an autograph or to abuse my admin privileges to access their personal information. I’d expect to be reprimanded or fired and I’d deserve it.

              My bosses are also pretty good at figuring out who wants to work/train here for celebs and who are in it for the art. The first type don’t last past an interview.

        2. Geillis D*

          I will never do that.
          I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race (don’t judge!) with the cats safely underneath the covers.

          My social media feed, however, will make you think I spend my days in beautiful scenery, going to concerts and cooking cool food.

            1. Annonymouse*

              I’m judging you

              I find you fierce and fabulous.

              I also envy your comfy pajamas and cute cat

      3. Grad student*

        OP said it’s mostly that Tess is pictured on the celebrities’ Instagrams, though, and less often the other way around. It seems unlikely that those wouldn’t be legit.

        1. Susanne*

          It’s completely irrelevant. Tess could indeed be personal BFF’s with every Hollywood A-lister that is; it still is inappropriate to try to befriend Tess for the sheer purpose of being introduced to her glitzy friends.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Adding my agreement. If you like Tess and want to be friends, then be friends with her because she’s someone you like and think would be fun to hang out with. Assume that you won’t meet, or be introduced to her celebrity friends. If you are not interested in her friendship unless she can introduce you, then don’t pretend to be her friend, stick to maintaining a civil, professional relationship with her as your colleague.

      I don’t have a bunch of celebrity friends but I do have a couple of friends who do, or who work with celebrities, and my experience is that they are very used to people trying to use them, they recognise it , they don’t like it, and it doesn’t work.

      I’ve ended up being invited backstage / to a private screening / to just hang out with a couple of moderately famous people, through friends I have who know or work with those individuals, but the common factors have been:
      – I didn’t ask
      – I’d been friends with the person for some time before they invited me

      And it doesn’t mean that I am now friends or colleagues of the celebrities or would expect any kind of an ‘in’ to them on a personal or professional level – we just happen to have some friends in common.

      In terms of professional networking, as others have said, getting your friend to introduce you in a social setting so you can get on professionally isn’t how it works.
      Also, if Tess is friendly with these people (as opposed to having a professional connection to them) then there is the added issue that even if she wanted to and was willing to try to introduce you to advance your career, that’s not something you do in a social context, it’s like going to a dinner party and expecting another guest to give you legal advice over the canapes because they are a lawyer.

      1. Susanne*

        “I really believe I have a lot in common with these people and could be a valued member of their writing staff.”

        You know nothing of these people except their carefully curated public images. As with any group of humans, some are great, some are OK and some are jerks.

        I have a friend who runs a PR company whereby he matches celebrities with marketers who wish to work with them. A few years back, he worked with Stephen Colbert, who is basically my dream celebrity. I told him that I’d come along for free to the Colbert events and set up folding chairs or sweep the floor for him, hoping that he’d take me up on it! But we both knew it would have been wildly inappropriate to have brought me along. Colbert is a real person, not someone who is there for my personal amusement. My friend interacted with him as a professional PR person with a job to do, and he needed to do that job, not indulge my starry-eyed Colbert worship.

        It comes across as very young, naive and sheltered to think that because your friend knows these people, pretty soon you’ll be partying with them too.

        1. always in email jail*

          That line struck me as well… how can you know you have a lot in common with people you’ve never met?

        2. aebhel*

          Yep. My spouse used to be a stage manager, which meant that he met a lot of big-name acts. I did meet a few of them too, since I was usually his ride to work and sometimes hung out in the sound booth while he was running a show. Most of them were perfectly nice and it makes a good story to tell at parties, but it’s not like I actually knew any of them, and it’s super inappropriate to do this sort of glomming onto a celebrity just because they’re famous.

          If OP is genuinely interested in a business connection, they should remember that a good business connection is a mutually beneficial relationship.

        3. Genny*

          It reminds me of cover letters where the candidate declares themself the most qualified person/best fit/any other superlative, which they can’t possibly know since they have no idea what the candidate pool looks like.

          1. Dolorous Bread*

            On my last job search this year I quickly squashed those thoughts by looking up who actually got the jobs I was really gunning for when I applied.
            A couple examples: I had applied to a music publication for the same role I was just laid off from in another publication. I thought “This description is perfect! This is exactly what I do! Why won’t they call me? I’d clearly be amazing!”
            A month or so later I am LinkedIn-creeping people with my job title for summary wording ideas. I see the person who got that music publication job. They have years of music experience AND relevant journalism experience. I thought “Oh. I would have hired her too.”

            The other one was for a role that was directly a step-up from the one I was laid off from, and I knew the editorial director of the brand in question. I thought I had a total in. Lo and behold they hired someone from a giant world-famous magazine who had that role over there. No way I could hold a candle to that kind of experience.

            I never again assumed I was the “most qualified” for anything.

        4. JulieBulie*

          Also – plenty of other people have (or believe they have) lots in common with these celebrities/VIPs too. Including people who are already close to those celebrities/VIPs.

          Celebs are constantly approached and hounded by people who earnestly believe that they have a unique connection, and earnestly expect that their feelings will be enthusiastically reciprocated. It must be profoundly exhausting.

          It is not a good idea to seek introductions to people who are already surrounded by people who want something from them. They don’t want or need more of that, and it won’t make you stand out in a good way, if at all.

      2. SignalLost*

        I, uh, creatively stalked a band once and got comped passes to a private show and exchanged emails with them for a while, but I only took advantage of my own “notoriety” based on where I worked and the fact they were fans of the company’s products. I also worked with NYT bestselling authors at that job. It would skeeve me out if someone tried to get me to use my connections to meet those people, because they ARE people. Lovely people in most cases, but still people, and people who want to be off the clock.

        Also, tbh, it feels like it would be really obvious if someone wanted to be my friend for my access. OP, I agree with Alison and suggest that “if at all” be the guiding phrase there. Don’t cultivate Tess just for her contacts.

    4. Elemeno P.*

      +1. I lived in LA for 5 years and it was frustrating to meet people who just want connections. It was very transparent, and after enough people have done it, it ends up putting you on guard because so many people just see you as a networking step. Don’t be that person, LW. I actually did try to help people who were genuinely my friend, but I never wanted to connect someone who looked at me as a stepping stone.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I imagine it’s like cold sales calls–if it’s the first one you’ve ever received, your response is a lot more patient than it is for the 437th one. This year.

      2. ClownBaby*

        I have a family member who is the president of a well known film company. He spoke at an awards show a few years back and I stupidly posted about how cool it was on social media, something I hadn’t done before. A friend of a friend start hounding me to introduce her to him because she had some screenplays he would love and that if his company did “This Film” and “That Film” she KNEW she would be wanted there. She started calling, texting, and emailing me at all hours of the day. Asking for his address, phone number, if he had any kids, and if so how old they were so she could “jokingly” marry one of them.

        I’m close with this family member, but I am not about to introduce people I don’t know to him just so he can have bad (or good, who knows) screenplays thrust upon him.

        I ended up being fairy cold toward her and…not my biggest moment…but I actually told the family member that if he should ever see her name pop up to run.

        So OP#1…if Tess is anything like me…don’t push it. You may actually be blacklisting yourself.

        1. Red 5*

          What a jerk of a “friend.” I wish people understood how quickly they were shooting themselves in the foot being like this, and I wish you hadn’t had to put up with it. People like this are one reason I’ve more or less left the entertainment industry, because I don’t have the energy to deal with it politely without screaming “you’re not special and your screenplay probably sucks” at people.

          She deserved you being cold to her, she was beyond inappropriate.

        2. the gold digger*

          I have a friend from college who is a NYTimes bestselling author. (Jeff Abbott – read him!)

          We have a third college friend, Gus , who has a friend, Sally, whom neither Jeff nor I know. (She did not go to college with us.)

          When Sally realized Gus is friends with Jeff, she asked Gus – on facebook! in public! – to introduce her and send Jeff her manuscript.

          I was horrified. I have known Jeff for decades and it has never crossed my mind to send him my manuscript. We are friends. He is not a business contact. We do not have a transactional relationship.

        3. Relative of a Famous Musician*

          My cousin recently made it really big in the music industry. I haven’t had anyone as bad as your “friend” try to hound me yet. But the sudden increase of “friends” asking not so subtle questions about my cousin has been kind of disturbing. People who never gave him a side eye before are now telling me how hot my cousin is and hinting at wanting to meet him. It’s super weird, and not at all subtle. The only reason people know we are cousins is because I have been cheering him on for years before he made it big, little did I know he would blow up to the point of winning an Emmy!!! Now it’s too late to hide out connection.

          OP1, Honestly… straight truth. I’d blacklist you in a heartbeat if I sensed your motives. I’d still be cordial and professional in person. But I wouldn’t let you near my cousin.

      3. LouiseM*

        +1. Things that happen in media go beyond sexual harassment. Opportunistic people trying to get a leg up sometimes forget that celebrities are real people too and can get very invasive. In my line of work I’m privy to the most sensitive personal information of VERY famous actors (think: Tom Hanks-level famous) and I keep it close to the vest to avoid grifters. OP, please rethink this.

        1. Ms. Anne Thrope*

          Right? Remember those nurses who were fired for snooping into Britney’s medical records? Don’t be that guy!

          1. Genny*

            Every so often there’s a story about a consular officer who gets fired for pulling the passport information of a celebrity (the last one I remember was from several years ago when someone got fired for pulling Beyonce’s passport info). Usually they aren’t even doing anything with that information, just looking at it, but it’s still a serious breach of privacy and misuse personally identifiable information. LW, don’t be that person, and don’t put Tess in a position where you’re asking her to be that person.

            1. Captain Obvious*

              Pulling personal data from a celebrity/politician is a mite different than asking a mutual friend for an introduction.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s a bad look in the entertainment industry to look like you can’t function normally in and about people in the industry.

      This is a really good point. And, OP1, it isn’t logical to think that you must have so much in common with people you’ve never met–you should be reasoning “Petunia is cool, so if I meet her friends there’s a chance I will like them” and not “Petunia is a way to meet the people who will like me so much as soon as they get to know me.” That last is going to characterize a semi full of people 2 or 3 degrees removed from celebs, certain that it is just the pesky last connection rudely standing in their way who is preventing their epic romance with Zoe Saldana from fully blossoming–that attitude is a way to make yourself blend in to a very large crowd. Of people the celebs don’t want to meet.

    6. Sarah*

      A close friend of mine is a Big Deal in his industry – well-known name, well-connected…a “Wait you just had dinner with WHO?!” kind of friend. He has invited me out to dinner with people I deeply admire and arranged for me to have drinks/begin friendships with like-minded people in the industry who he thinks I will get along with.

      At the start of our friendship, a woman I know (who, it must be said, put minimal effort into doing anything industry-related where she could have met him and formed her own relationship) took me out to coffee and basically asked me to hand her my network on a silver platter. She does not like me and I spent 45 minutes wondering why we were there until she got to the ask. I said I’d introduce her at the next industry event, and texted him to say, “I’ve been asked to introduce you to somebody who clearly only cares about your status at X event, feel free to react how you wish.” Reader, it did not go well for her.

      These asks are transparent and painful to all involved. Please don’t do this.

    7. Bree*

      I’m not sure why there are so many people in the comments doubting Tess’ connections. The OP says Tess appears often in the actresses’ own posts, and that they occasionally appear in her posts. That doesn’t sound like someone deliberately exaggerating her connections or contextualizing them in a misleading way. That sounds like a genuine relationship. (It would be different if the posts were more one-sided.)

      I mean, yes , Instagram does not reflect the reality of a person’s life, but we don’t have reason to doubt Tess here.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I don’t see this as doubting Tess so much as I see it as advice to the OP to step back and learn more about the situation (any situation) before getting excited about being a part of it.

      2. Elsajeni*

        I don’t think it’s any kind of indictment of Tess to note that “these people sometimes appear in each other’s Instagram posts” doesn’t actually tell you that much about the nature or closeness of their relationship. It’s just another of many reasons the OP shouldn’t try to benefit from Tess’s apparent connections.

      3. nonegiven*

        Showing up in a celebrity’s social media probably just means they were at the same event, possibly through her job. The rare celebrity in her own posts, she probably asked permission to post, first, because she didn’t want to be that type of person. That doesn’t mean they are friends.

    8. LBK*

      Amen to letting celebrities live their lives. They’re still humans. I’m glad some celebs have started to push back on the expectation that they should always be “on” any time they go out in public – the Riverdale cast in particular has gotten some heat lately for not being especially friendly when they’re not at a fan event, but I think it’s great. Someone being a public figure doesn’t entitle you to their time and attention, they have normal things they have to do like eat lunch and run errands just like anyone else.

      To tie back to the letter, if Tess knows these people socially rather than through work, I’m 100% sure they have no interest in hearing about anything related to their work in any context that Tess might be able to introduce you to them in. They are not going to want to hear about your script ideas while you’re out for drinks.

    9. JessaB*

      echoing the oh no no do not do this. I used to work for a lawyer and CPA team that had a LOT of famous clients in New York back when half the entertainment industry was still there. Also sports people. Either your friend knows them because she’s friends with them or she knows them because she works with or for them. ANY of those relationships comes with an understanding that the relationship to them is not because they’re famous. If you do this, AND your friend does introduce you, she runs the risk of being labelled the kind of person that they cannot TRUST. Bad idea.

    10. Green*

      Spouse and I are good friends with someone with significant celebrity friends (A, B, and C list). Spouse has been invited twice to hang out with an A lister once and a behind-the-scenes exec/show creator once. I never have. He has offered to get us tickets for special events on his show.

      And that’s OK! In Hollywood, your contacts are your career. The celebrities’ friend/co-worker doesn’t want to be seen using THEM. They often don’t bring along people they ARE close to when they hang out, much less people they aren’t close to.

      I think that OP shouldn’t ever ask.

      1. The Strand*

        Truer words have never been spoken – “In Hollywood, your contacts are your career.”

        All the more reason to guard them carefully.

    11. Caboodle*

      Even if she was that close to those celebrities, OP, do you think celebrities make it a habit to hang out with people who are constantly sending unknown people their way? Tess is going to be pretty wise to your motivations if you approach her like this.

    12. Red 5*

      “It’s a bad look in the entertainment industry to look like you can’t function normally in and about people in the industry.”

      YES, +1000 to this. On the first set I was ever on that had any “names” attached, I realized quickly that those of us who had the ability to show up and treat the situation as “we’re at work and we’re all co-workers on a work day” and the people who were going “there are STARS here! I can USE this!” or “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M MEETING SO AND SO” were being treated very differently by the cast and more experienced crew members.

      Celebrities and actors are human beings. Treat them that way first and foremost and above all, and things will be much better for you in the long run.

    13. Winger*

      I sort of have to disagree here, as this kind of thing is coin of the realm in the entertainment industry. Not that Alison would necessarily want to encourage “bad behavior” but this is how you get ahead. Alison does give her good advice – wait a few months until your professional connection is stronger before you ask her anything like this. I would add – in the meantime, talk about your own work and the types of projects you have done or want to do, to lay an informal foundation. Who knows what might come of this.

      The answer, however, is not just “don’t do that! It’s rude!”

      1. Annonymouse*

        As you said these connections are currency.

        Tess is not served well by throwing her “rare coins” at any beggar asking for change.

        This guarentees she loses that connection and will possibly lose others with her throwing their contact details and need for privacy about willy nilly.

        Tess is better served by guarding her “rare coins” in a vault and occasionally taking them out for private use or maybe showing a like minded collector who can appreciate the coins for their history instead of them being worth lots of money.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think the idea that you meet Sam Waterston at a party, and he then tells the Godless writers “Hey, I met this really cool person a month ago, you should hire her to write Season 2”, is a fantasy. Put about by people that are sure there must be A Special Trick that everyone else is using, but denying them. (It reminds me of when my oldest and her friends were desperately trying to parse the mysterious ritual by which you got into the college of your choice.)

        There are dozens of examples downthread of how very badly “Hi, acquaintance! I just realized you have a network that can help me, so integrate me into the A-list! :) Now!” is received.

        Or as Mouse puts it, what’s in this transaction for Tess other than annoyance?

      3. Captain Obvious*

        I completely agree with Winger. I see all kinds of holier-than-thou advice above (“one decision I made early on in my career was not to use people”). But this kind of networking happens all the time in Hollywood and DC (aka “Hollywood for ugly people”), and people who do it well *do* get ahead. Demure people (“it’s rude!”) don’t, unfortunately. Congressional offices and Hollywood studios are both full of people who got their jobs because of happenstance encounters with someone-who-knew-someone.

        There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cultivating a relationship because it will benefit you in some way. It doesn’t even mean the relationship itself is shallow, merely that there’s a transactional element to it.

        Now, I also agree that OP should be tactful about how she goes about this. It makes sense for OP to cultivate her relationship with Tess before she attempts to leverage it.

      4. Captain Obvious*

        I should add one point to my post. People interested in this subject should definitely read a book called THE SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY by Deborah Piscione. One of the points she makes is that people in Silicon Valley are very, very open to sharing their rolodexes with newcomers. That may be less true in LA, admittedly. But the point is: they ask. It’s part of the culture.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#1, try really hard not to see Tess as your access key or as a resource to utilize to meet her friends. As Alison notes, it’s an icky/unkind thing to do. And unfortunately, no matter how sincere or enthusiastic you are about Tess’s friends, it’s going to be transparent that you’re not really interested in an authentic friendship/relationship with Tess. Given that you don’t know each other, there’s also no reason for her to leverage her relationships for you.

    Folks with famous friends are often hit up to help people connect to those friends. A good friend is going to protect their friend’s privacy, as well as their relationship with that friend. Having to constantly filter requests is exhausting, and makes it less likely for that person to trust you or introduce you to folks in the future.

    1. kittymommy*

      Yeah. Trss probably has a well honed radar for this and will act accordingly, which could very well end up negatively affecting your job, depending on how valued Tess is. Also, as another thread has stated, the LW truly doe not know if she would even like these people. Everyone thinks that they could be besties with a celebrity they like, really, wet have no idea what that person is actually like on a day to day level.

    2. Connector*

      I worked at a law firm (not in LA) where one of my fellow attorneys knew some celebrities. He introduced a couple of people to them, and the celebrities were cool with it. This is a YMMV point.

    3. Indoor Cat*

      Perhaps a tangent, but I recently read the book ‘Fame Junkies’ by James Halpern, which is a book-length sociological study of people who become celebrity assistants, people who work for TMZ and Star magazine, people who run fan-clubs who, in essence, worship the person they’re a fan of, people who spend inordinate amounts of money on these agencies that “help” you become famous (think Rebecca Black), and people whose entire self-esteem comes from participating in someone’s entourage.

      It’s from 2008, so pre-social media and YouTube, but I’d still recommend it, especially if LW might see herself in any of the “characters.” It’s quite accurately portrays how parasocial relationships can become addictive and out of control, and how using people to get close to celebrities can easily become a “normal” mindset in the thick of it.

      Alison has the practical advice covered, but if LW wants any “big picture” advice, here’s mine: focus your energy on the things in your life right now. Build up and tend the relationships you have; work on your art and writing until you’re proud of it; do good work. I’m not a total zen master who thinks contentment is the secret to inner peace or that that’s even possible– ambition can be a good thing in moderation and in certain contexts. But have an ambition to be– not to be seen, not to be important, just to be. To be a great writer, to be a great friend, to be a force for good in the world.

  3. CAA*

    #2 – I use a Grid-It for small things, cords, chargers, mice, etc. I don’t put my phone on it, but you could.

    Also, check out the Find My Phone tools in your iCloud and Google accounts. If the lost device is powered on, you can pinpoint it on a map and make it ring loudly, even if it’s set to vibrate only. This is really helpful if your phone slides out of your bag and goes under the seat in your car (ask me how I know) or gets lost in your home. Try it out before you need it again!

    1. Athena*

      I second this. Find My iPhone has been my lifesaver so often, my housemates used to groan when they heard that ring. “SERIOUSLY? How OFTEN do you use it?”

      1. Camellia*

        And I use “Where’s my Droid?” It’s activated by your choice of key word to text, and it will override the silent function for up to five minutes.

        And, since I often have my phone muted/no vibrate at work, I also gave my family the key word so they can use it in case of emergency. If my phone goes audible then I know one of them is trying to reach me and I can check my text/missed calls. They’ve only had to use it one time in xx years, thank goodness.

        1. JessaB*

          Exactly. there are so many ways to find your phone, and those lovely little tags for smaller items and computers and things. Seriously even if the company does not provide them – and they SHOULD, a few bucks for tags is a lot cheaper than a phone or a laptop or even a high end charging cord. And the company can probably buy them in bulk cheap or even printed with the company logo. But phones are especially easy both iProducts and Android come with finder features. Heck just calling your phone can often find it if it’s behind the sofa.

    2. Marthooh*

      I was gonna say, ‘Find My Phone’! And there are tracking devices you can put on other equipment, which your company might even pay for if you point out that this is a potential problem.

    3. London Expat*

      Check out Tile ( for all the non-phone stuff. I was always losing my keys, and this has been a lifesaver for me. You can just attach it to your camera or tablet or whatever it is that you’re losing, and as long as you can find your phone, it will use Bluetooth to play a sound that you’ll hear if it’s somewhere within 50 feet of you (and show the location of the item on a map on your phone). If you can’t find your phone but can find anything else with a Tile on it, just press the button on the Tile and it will make your phone ring (even if it’s set on silent). As Marthooh says, your company might even pay for it.

      1. Cascadia*

        Yes to Tile or the tracker! My husband uses this and it helps him as he is always losing his keys and/or phone. They also have ones that you can put on wallets, or stick to things. It’s super handy. The things that help me with losing stuff is routine – I always put the same items in the same place. My keys always go here, my phone always goes here, my wedding ring always goes here when I take it off. Then follow that routine explicitly every time and it will become second nature to you. Good luck!

      2. Windchime*

        I love Tile. I bought a package of 8 last year and gave one to each family member as a little token gift. I use mine to find my keys AND it has the added benefit that I can use my keys to find my phone if I’ve set it down someplace.

        Tile is great.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      It may be too informal for what you do, but I really like Osprey packs. Use them for traveling (I work from home), and my husband uses one as his briefcase. (He’s in tech, can wear jeans, and has the “get Rising, he can fix it” rep–not sure how all this translates to you.) They are really well thought out in terms of having enough pockets–there’s a place for everything, but I’m not left trying to remember which of 47 pockets seemed like the logical place to put the Sudafed or my phone.

    5. DumbQuestion*

      Seconded. You don’t even need an app if you have an Android. Open google and type, “Where’s my phone?” to locate your device.

      I also have tile in my wallet and on my keys.

      I forget and lose things a lot. A LOT.

    6. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I love this idea!
      My org gave me a backpack with all my equipment in it, and the person before me had (kindly!) put each item into a plastic baggie and labeled it. I’ve been doing really well keeping everything in the backpack, and in the original labeled baggies. I’ve also recently designated a canvas tote bag the back-up bag to store things in when I don’t need to be traveling with them. If I don’t think I’m going to need something for an event I leave it at home.

      I will note that my office is my kitchen unless I’m on the road, so there is no chance of something wandering off.

  4. Colleen*

    OP#1: I met a woman who works with many famous people while we were in a neutral location — think, spa vacation — and she was very sly with me, at first, about what she did and who she did it for. As we started to enjoy each others’ company more, she “confessed” her job and who she did it for, and told me she normally doesn’t tell new people about it because there are so many people who will use that knowledge to “befriend” her to simply try to get at her contacts. I felt sorry for her because she could not be as open with people as she wanted to be, and this did appear to cause her pain.

    If you are truly interested in befriending this woman, befriend her. If you only want to get to know her better for her contacts, it might be better for her and you if you were honest about that.

  5. going anon*

    #1: I’m going anon just to be safe. I work in publishing and have had people try to become friends with me to meet the famous authors and celebs I used to work with. Not only is it exhausting to deal with, but it’s an incredibly mean thing to do to someone. No one wants to be used only for their connections to famous people.

    Not to mention, when you’re in that environment, it’s very obvious when people are trying to use you for your connections. You unfortunately become good at spotting people who aren’t genuine with their overtures of friendship. I’d disagree with Alison about waiting six months. I don’t think it’s ever okay to ask Tess to hang out if you only want to meet her famous friends.

    The only time I have ever introduced a friend to a very famous author was because I had an extra pass to an event and I knew this friend wouldn’t embarrass me, make a scene, or try to use the opportunity to gain something. A lot of people have tried to use me to meet celebs or authors to pitch their manuscripts or get their perfect job. If Tess is any good at her job, she’ll be protecting her relationship to those celebs from people who want to use them for their fame.

    This type of behavior if pretty frowned upon. I have friends who work in other areas of the entertainment industry and they’ve had similar experiences, and don’t have very kind things to say about people who try to piggyback their connections. The entertainment industry is very gossipy. Doing something like this can ruin your career, and you don’t want to be known as someone who can’t act appropriately.

    Also, you may be envious, but sometimes working with celebs really isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes the personas they show to the public – the ones people relate to – are very different from their real personas.

    1. bridget*

      I see a difference between using her as a professional connection and a personal one, but maybe that’s wrong of me.

      It seems very not okay to socially buddy up with someone in order to actually try to make social friends with their friends. If that’s what OP wants, I think she’s out of bounds to try to get it through Tess.

      But, I’d OP actually just wants to work for them, and is very transparent that it is a work connection, that seems a bit different to me. She shouldn’t try to get close to Tess socially to do this, because that’s misleading, but it seems reasonable to me to spend some time demonstrating she’s really good at what she does, and then ask her professional connection- Tess – to make a professional introduction. That seems much more like networking than just using someone. And since it’s transparent, it will be easier for Tess to say no if it’s uncomfortable.

      1. going anon*

        There’s a difference when that professional connection is a celebrity, though. There’s an implication – and one I got from OP1’s post – that a connection with a celebrity skyrockets your professional career. So, you’d be moving up five steps instead of advancing normally. People want celebrity connections because it fast tracks their career or it gives them a cool job with cool people.

        Think of a celeb as the CEO of a company. If you’re an entry level assistant in your first job and you ask someone to make a professional introduction to the CEO, it’d come off as toeing the line and out of the norm.

        1. Dove*

          There’s another complication to trying this, too – being a celebrity comes with the hazard of stalkers. Tess would be absolutely within her rights to be concerned that OP1 is a stalker, especially when they’ve only just started working together and she has no knowledge of what OP1 is like. It wouldn’t be unusual for a stalker to try and get close to a celebrity by getting introduced through someone else who isn’t famous but knows the celeb.

          1. Infinity Anon*

            The only way it might work would be if the OP applied to a job working for that celebrity through normal channels and then asked Tess for a recommendation (provided they had been working together long enough at that point where Tess could actually provide a professional recommendation). That would be normal networking, but it doesn’t seem to be what the OP is trying to do.

          2. nonegiven*

            I remember that story in the Gift of Fear.
            There was a stalker they’d decided was an immediate threat, but there were a couple of different targets he might be after. In the course of searching the land around one’s property they found 2 other stalkers camping out separately Stalkers they already knew about but didn’t consider an immediate threat.

            Celebrities have stalkers coming out of the woodwork, don’t become known as one.

          3. Rosa*

            Yep. In my life I’ve dealt with two quite serious stalkers who were obsessed with celebs I knew. I literally don’t know a single person in the industry who hasn’t been stalked-by-proxy.

            I worked with a minor TV actor last year and all his fans follow me on Twitter and try their hardest to befriend me, while openly speculating about my relationship with this guy and make really quite unpleasant comments about me, like they think I’d never look at their twitter feeds. The irony is the actor is the biggest (insert bodily term here) and behaved so badly I filed a formal complaint with Equity. But of course his fans assume everyone who meets him must love him and see him as the perfect unicorn prince they do

      2. MK*

        I think the problem if that Tess is not connected professionally with these people, she is their friend. If it was professional connections all around, I would have no issue with it.

        1. Green*

          That’s still not particularly cool in the entertainment industry. You can say things like, “Hey, I’ve got this script; do you know anyone you could send it to?” but “Hey! Send my script to your friend/former boss X!” not so much.

          1. Captain Obvious*

            I can speak more about DC than Hollywood, but “hey, can you send my resume to your former boss” happens all. the. time. And it often works.

            I should add one caveat from what limited experience I do have in SoCal: celebrity actors aren’t usually the people you want to meet if you’re trying to sell a script. That tends to be more high-profile agents and producers.

            1. Rosa*

              Yeah. The fact the op thinks being buds with and partying with celebs is the secret to getting a TV writing gig is a red flag. Unless the actress is someone like Lena Dunham who’s also showrunner, actors are the least important people in terms of being able to help your career.

      3. Runner*

        Here’s the thing: OP is 22 at her first job as a co-assistant in the entertainment industry. There are 10,000+ more people who also think they would be perfect additions to the Mr Robot or Westworld writing rooms. What OP does have is her foot in the door, by already being there geographically and by working in the industry. I mean, connections are one way of breaking into the industry… Here I might suggest OP FIRST apply and interviews at the places she wants to be, THEN if there are overlaps in those sites, talk to her coworker for general suggestions …

        1. aebhel*

          Right–OP is already breaking into her field. ‘Befriending’ random celebrity connections is more likely to backfire than being stellar at her job.

        2. Alton*

          Exactly. Celebrities and high-profile people often have strangers who haven’t established themselves in the field try to approach them outside of the usual professional channels in an attempt to “be discovered.” And this often shows both lack of perspective about your own capital in the industry and a lack of knowledge/respect for the professional norms in the field. For example, in the novel publishing industry, you typically look for an agent rather than submit directly to publishers, unless you’re submitting to small/niche presses that allow direct submissions. You typically submit only a few pages or your first chapter, because the agent/editor gets hundreds of submissions and will only read the first few pages to decide if they want to request the full manuscript. Doing something like sending your entire manuscript directly to an editor at Penguin or asking a famous author to read your book at pass it along to their agent is asking people to do a lot of extra work just for you, and suggests you don’t understand or care how the industry works.

          Networking also has to take into account how well you know someone, how much you’re asking of them, and how much you can offer them in return. If you’re a beginning TV writer, it’s unlikely that a big name celebrity is going to be able to do much for you. They have nothing to gain from helping out a total stranger and may not even have many connections to the sort of jobs that someone might use to get a foot in the door. You’re probably better off networking with people who are at your level and a little higher.

          1. SignalLost*

            Oh god, the slush pile. I still have nightmares about it. And I would think A LOT less of an author who repped a friend who’d written something in slush, because honestly there was one gem in the pile of hundreds.

            In fact, I did have an author who repped a friend. I hired the friend based on his previous work and credits, and found out much later that he couldn’t deliver. The only author I’ve had to fire, and that turned into a hilarious shitshow all by itself.

            1. Indoor Cat*

              Question: does “the slush pile” refer to all submissions or just ones submitted inappropriately?

              I’m asking because, full disclosure, I’ve finished writing a fantasy novel and I’ve got a list of about fourteen small presses that I think would fit (Small Beer Press, etc), all of which are open to unagented submissions or queries during certain months. I know other people who’ve gone this route, but in your experience, is it better to try to get an agent anyway? I mean, I don’t have a ton of publications to my name, but if editors think poorly of people who submit directly, it’s probably worth a round of agent queries.

          2. Rosa*

            I have a great story. I sold my first screenplay (which wound up having one of my favourite actors in it) because I landed a little two-line acting job in a low budget indie film and got chatting to the producer. Turned out we had a lot in common and my screenplay had specific elements she was looking for.

            Which sounds like a fairytale but the crucial element is that I was already an established and award winning writer, I just hadn’t made a feature film yet. If I hadn’t had that “fame” of my own there’s no way a producer would have considered my screenplay, regardless of our personal connection and friendship.

      4. fposte*

        I wouldn’t ask her to make an introduction. If she kicks ass, I could see her asking if Tess would be *willing* to make an introduction not to the celeb but whoever’s in charge of hiring for their writing staff with the understanding that there’s a risk in the question of cooling off the relationship with Tess. But asking if she’d be willing rather than just asking her to do it and making it about the hiring and not about the stardom make it more networky and less climby.

        1. NLMC*

          Even if Tess was wiling to make the connection as soon she tells said celebrity that she is “also a writer” they will most likely see this as a red flag. So it’s not just Tess that is going to be on high alert for user behavior.

          1. fposte*

            My suggestion wasn’t that Tess ever introduce her to the celebrity at all, but to the people who actually hire. (That being said, now that I realize this is all Instagram life and nothing Tess has actually brought up to the OP I think it’s a total no-go.)

      5. Captain Obvious*

        “She shouldn’t try to get close to Tess socially to do this, because that’s misleading, but it seems reasonable to me to spend some time demonstrating she’s really good at what she does, and then ask her professional connection- Tess – to make a professional introduction.”

        ^This. Absolutely seconded.

    2. Mad Baggins*

      Thank you for sharing your perspective! I think you bring up a great point about people’s private and public personas being different.

      OP, Tess sounds like someone it would be nice to be friends with regardless of her connections. Maybe you can learn some other things from her–someone who can become genuine friends with people in the limelight can probably teach you a lot about how to break the ice and get to know people beyond their social facade, how to know which gossip should be shared and which secrets should be kept, and how to be a good friend, not just a groupie. These are things I’d want in a friend, and even if she doesn’t end up introducing you to anyone, I think you’d learn a lot and gain a good friend!

    3. AlsoAnon*

      I’m also going anon for my reply. I second EVERYTHING that Going Anon said. I’ve got a celebrity friend, and the best advice I was given as I started to get to know them personally was from someone else who told me how many times fans and other people had burned this celeb trying to capitalize on their fame. People wanting the celeb to pay for meals, give tickets to events, help the person professionally get into the industry, etc. So many people think that there’s no harm in their tiny requests, or that it’s no big deal for the celeb to give the free stuff. But put yourself on the other side of the equation when you NEVER know if a pal really likes you or if they are just in it to get something for themselves. Part of our friendship is that my pal knows that I’m not looking for anything from them other than getting to hang out occasionally once in a rare while, and that I not only respect their privacy, but I help them maintain it—quite rigorously at times. I’ve had tons of people wanting me to ask my pal for an autograph or to give them a script, or whatever, and can spot advances a mile away. Trust me—if I’m your Tess, you need to prove to me over time that you are able to be around my pal without asking them for ANYTHING before I would ever consider inviting you to meet them. The last thing I want is to have someone ruin my pal’s evening by cornering them and trying to “network” with them.

      Working on the entertainment industry, you will naturally meet famous people throughout your career. Start looking at what they’ve sacrificed to achieve their goals. These people work (yes, WORK) crazy hours, can’t go out in public without being stared at, and have a lot of trouble building friendships that can withstand the demands of their celebrity. The perks and money are super awesome in return, but aren’t all that fulfilling emotionally. Your question today is really about wanting to click with someone who can help you advance fast. And even if Tess introduces you to her friends, you won’t forge a connection by simply shaking their hand. You have to get to know them as real people, and learn how to relate to them beyond what you know of their fame. My advice is to focus on being an interesting person in your own right, and to not push too hard to get in front of famous people. If you are a good/fun/talented person to know, people will want to get to know you naturally.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Crazy hours. Ha. Husband works in music as mentioned below. I have a running joke with some of my friends that he is actually an actor who I occasionally pay to appear alongside me as he’s so often busy working in the evenings.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          You should claim he’s a spy. The movie sort, who’s constantly dangling from helicopters and squirrel suiting his way into high rise offices.

      2. Radio Girl*

        Yes! Focus on you! You are one aspect of life you can control.

        If you ask Tess for introductions, chances are she’s going to catch on very fast that you are more interested in networking than in her. Big turnoff.

      3. Sarah*

        Yes! My roommate and I are friends with a couple, both of whom are in industries where people are desperate to get autographs/pictures/special treatment from them and their friends. Over the time we’ve gotten to know them, they’ve opened up more and more about what people have asked them for and it’s completely ridiculous. Once my boss found out I knew them, though…well, he keeps hinting about things he wants and I keep pretending I don’t notice. Part of how we keep their friendship is they know that we’re not using them – they’re never on our social media, we’ve never once asked for anything, we pay for rounds when we go out, we ask about them and their lives because we care.

        Connections like this can happen so randomly (the guy in the couple I was talking about saw me with my roommate’s puppy and asked if he could pet her) and if you’re going to be in a world filled with celebs, OP, the biggest thing to learn is how to not treat them like things to be acquired/achievements to be unlocked.

      4. going anon*

        Yes, it’s exhausting to be Tess and for me, it’s given me a less than kind view of people and how selfish they are. People who really bug me about it are on a blacklist. If you hand me a manuscript and tell me you want it published or want to go to an even so you can give Famous Author/Movie Star your manuscript, I’m going to sever all communication. That’s not how the industry works, and I’m not going to be used like that.

        One of my close friends works in the sports entertainment industry and has, on a few occasions, been on air talent. She lies about her job when she tries to date because she’s had so many men try to use her to meet their favorite athletes or to get tickets to games or other big events.

        For both of us, we work with famous people and giving friends or acquaintances access to celebs is a huge breech of professionalism. I have people who don’t understand why I won’t make that connection and or get offended when I say that I don’t want them to embarrass me or I don’t have time to indulge their celeb fantasies while I’m trying to do my job or foster a professional relationship.

      5. Specialk9*

        That makes my heart hurt for them. I’ve always suspected that the money just isn’t worth the hit. That’s really sad.

    4. Red 5*

      The only time I’ve introduced a friend to an actor I’ve worked with was similar to what you describe. I knew this friend would behave and would follow the rules if I set some, and I asked the actress beforehand if she would mind if my friend who was a fan came to visit to meet her and watch the shoot one day (after having asked my department head, who asked the producer, etc. but the set had visitors pretty regularly so we knew it was possible). The list of people I would do that for, I can count on one hand.

      And YES to it not being glamorous like you think. There are a couple bigger names I’ve met that I basically can’t watch anything they are in anymore because they were such jerks, but I almost never will say that or tell people exactly which actor I’m talking about when I tell stories because I don’t want to burn any bridges. Most people probably have no idea those guys are terrible.

  6. Ann Furthermore*

    #1: In addition to the comments here about people being used for their connections, which really is an unkind thing to do to someone, it sounds like the OP hasn’t been working with Tess for very long. If she really friends with some famous people, the OP might send up a red flag with her, and make Tess wonder she’d be opening up her friends (or even acquaintances) to some potentially stalkerish behavior. It’s a real thing that anyone in the public eye should be aware of.

    Of course, I’m not saying that the OP is a stalker. I’m sure she’s not. But it could come across to Tess that way, especially if any of the people she knows has had to deal with that in the past.

  7. AnonAndOn*

    “I am very envious of her famous friends and for a couple specific people she hangs out with, I really believe I have a lot in common with these people and could be a valued member of their writing staff.”

    I’m getting the impression from reading this that you want to move up quickly in the entertainment business by using these celebrity “friends” to get ahead. You say this is your first entertainment job. Work your way up naturally in the business. Don’t rush things and don’t try to force connections. No one goes from an assistant to one of the top people overnight.

    Let these relationships and connections form naturally. If you do end up connecting with a celebrity, the relationship may be more genuine if it formed naturally, not because you were trying to find a quick “in” to one.

    1. selina kyle*

      It really doesn’t sound like OP wants to be friends with Tess or her celebrity connections, she just wants to use them for her career. Which, when done under the guise of friendship, is really unfair and icky.

      1. Bea*

        It’s also likely to backfire. Famous people and their friends have all their guards up, you don’t just slip in by asking if they want to hang out and get drinks.

        Asking can scorch the bridge before it was even fully built.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Yes, and as noted above, it also doesn’t really make sense. You don’t advance in your career because you meet famous people who help you bypass the normal route (work hard, build a reputation, prove yourself, advance).

          Asking won’t only scorch the bridge—it’s likely to get you on the “hell no” list, and that information spreads widely in entertainment. OP’s desired approach is a great way to sink her nascent career.

      2. Captain Obvious*

        >”It really doesn’t sound like OP wants to be friends with Tess”

        …which is why she shouldn’t approach it from an “I want to be friends with you” angle, but rather one of getting a professional introduction after she’s established a working relationship with Tess for a few months.

        >”No one goes from an assistant to one of the top people overnight.”

        Do you have data to support that? I’ve met people who have done just that.

    2. Is it Friday Yet?*

      OP1 Instead of trying to use Tess to get to her celebrity connections, what about asking her how she made them in the first place? Maybe she could be a mentor for you and help you form your own connections?

  8. Geoffrey B*

    Re. OP#2: if this happened at my work, the biggest concern would not be “lost a phone” but “waited a week to report it lost”. Missing IT gear can be a significant security issue, and for many workplaces it needs to be reported to security ASAP so they can take appropriate measures to minimise risk of unauthorised access etc.

    1. SusanIvanova*

      I’ve just gone through the “lost company devices” training for a new job. “Find the device” has to be on and if we notice it’s missing we can only search half an hour before we need to call them to do a trace.

    2. Daffodil*

      Yes, I was coming here to say this. It’s worth having a word with your IT department of how quickly they want to know that an item has been misplaced. Depending on the data on your phone and what systems they have to manage it, they may be able to lock it or do something else temporary to protect it until you find it again. Or they may need to remotely wipe it, which is a pain to recover from, but is much better than, say, losing sensitive client information. During my time in IT, I pleaded with people to let me know ASAP when something security related happened – the sooner I knew about it, the sooner I could take steps to protect the organization’s data, and the less of a headache the event would be for everyone. Any IT department worth their salt understands that life happens and will have a policy (possibly a formal one, possibly not) for how to deal with it.

      1. Amber T*

        This. We go through very specific training with every employee because everyone has access to some sort of sensitive information. If it’s lost, you report it immediately so IT can shut it down remotely. If you end up finding it later, great, they can start it back up. Stuff happens… bags get lost at airports, a trunk in a cab randomly bust open, causing someone’s laptop bag to fall out and get run over by a bunch of cars, cell phones get lost. We do build it in as a cost of doing business. But the cost of someone outside the company accessing our data and doing something malicious with it could potentially be exponentially greater than the cost of a new cell phone or laptop.

    3. Disability Manager*

      Same with mine, I lost my phone the day before I was due to be off and the expectation was that I came in to report it directly to IT so they could locate it via some fancy schmancy app and make sure it hadn’t been used and wipe it (which I did).
      It’s key to know here that I work for a bank, so our devices are triply locked down.
      Be aware that you might have breached and internal policy here and be prepared to be very apologetic.

    4. Random Thoughts*

      My company is different – we investigate the circumstances of something going missing. If it is just someone losing it through carelessness they need to replace it. We had one guy get out of his car, put his iPad on the roof while he took a phone call and then went into the office. Someone stole it. He had to pay for it.
      If a loss or theft wasn’t reported in a “timely manner” (a day at most, unless there were mitigating circumstances) there are consequences, including firing.

      All of this is specified in the IT documentation that is signed when the equipment is handed out. My suggestion is to check what your company policy is. Some are more savage than others, I think ours is over-the top, hopefully your company is more reasonable.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        That’s terrible. And illegal. Your company can’t force you to pay for things that are stolen or lost, even if you were negligent.

        1. fposte*

          They absolutely can in most, possibly all states if that’s written policy. However, it doesn’t matter to Ramona anyway as she’s in the UK where it’s a whole different set of laws that she knows better than USAns do.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            Ok, just looked it up and you’re right. It’s only illegal if it brings the employee below minimum wage.

            But it is a really shitty thing to do to employees.

            1. JessaB*

              Even in the US most places that would make you pay for missing items have a written agreement you have to sign. It isn’t something they blindside you with. It’s one of the few times absent a union shop or entertainment industry in the US that there are contracts, and even that’s not an employment contract, specifically. Also there are accidents and there is negligence. You leave the company stuff in an unlocked car, you’re going to be liable. And it bringing you under minimum wage only means they can only recover it at a certain amount per cheque, not that they can’t dun you the whole amount either.

            2. Helena*

              Per a 2006 Department of Labor ruling, you can’t deduct for lost equipment for exempt employees. You can from non-exempt.

                1. LBK*

                  That was the sense I got from the articles I was reading, but it seems weird to me that paying someone and then forcing them to give you a part of that paycheck isn’t considered a de facto deduction. I guess under the guise that they might have another job or savings or something else they can pay it out of, so it’s not necessarily/technically coming just out of the paycheck you’re giving them? It just feels like a blatant loophole.

                2. Helena*

                  That’s not what the DoL says. Here’s the direct quote: “It would not matter whether an employer implements such a policy by making periodic deductions from employee salaries, or by requiring employees to make out-of-pocket reimbursements from compensation already received. Either approach would result in employees not receiving their predetermined salaries when due on a “guaranteed” basis or “free and clear” and would produce impermissible reductions in compensation because of the quality of the work performed under the terms of the employer’s policies, contrary to 29 C.F.R. § 541.602(a).”

          2. LBK*

            I think California might be the only state that legally requires employers to pay for business expenses and even they have an exemption for equipment that’s damaged or lost due to “gross negligence,” although in brief research it sounds like the standard for what qualifies for that exemption is pretty high.

            1. fposte*

              Yeah, I had a page open for sourcing that was basically yadda yadda yadda except for California, which is kind of weird. Which is of course the official legal disclaimer.

              1. Ramona Flowers*

                Over here I would expect my employer to claim the lost item on insurance and swallow the cost of the premium (aka deductible I think?)

    5. Clewgarnet*

      Agreed. I work for a telecomms company and that would be a disciplinary offence. (Also, if I wasn’t answering my work phone for a week, I’d be in for it from my boss!)

      1. copy run start*

        Yeah… not having my work phone for a week would be a Big Deal. I’m technically always on call, even if I rarely get called. I would tell work immediately, since potentially confidential emails are on it, the security token generator for work, etc.

        I know people have cracked screens quite often at my office, but I think if the phone is up for an upgrade anyway, the company just pays for it. Especially for the field techs.

    6. Agent Diane*

      This. So much this. I’d be up for gross misconduct if I failed to report it for a week.

      Get a bag that fits all your kit. Put all your kit in it. Check before you leave a location that everything is there, in the same that you check you have keys. (I go through a “wallet, phone, keys” routine every day before leaving home.) If you can do that for your own stuff you should do it for your employers’ stuff.

      Put cables etc in a smaller bag you can fit inside your main bag. That stops them tangling into stuff, and reduces the risk pulling a charging cable out accidentally lobbing your phone out too. (Also handy if you shove cables in overnight bags – no risk of your spare underwear snagging on your iPhone charger when you pull it out to lend a colleague!)

      Never leave the bag visible in your car while you take a comfort break etc: opportunist thieves may break in to nab it.

      Treat all work kit as if you would have to pay for replacements so you actually keep track of it.

      1. Agent Diane*

        This is experience of 21 years in roles where I have had kit I could not have afforded to replace, btw. You need to master this unless you want your employer to stop trusting you.

      2. selina kyle*

        I used to have a sticky note next to my front door with a short list of things I needed after I forgot an important USB for school a couple times. So that could be a first step too along the lines of the “wallet phone keys” routine.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          I have one that simply says “TURN THE HEAT OFF!” because I pay for my own electricity and I am NOT about to heat the apartment when I’m not there to enjoy it.

        2. JessaB*

          we have a white board on our front door and we write notes to each other on it. We also have a printed out notice tacked to the door about “remember your phone and your water and whatever other stuff we need to always take.”

          Checklists are your friend. You can even use one of those packing list programmes to make sure you have everything. Also label everything. It’s really a pain if you’ve been at a hotel and you leave something in the restaurant and the thing has no tag on it so thy don’t now who to give it back to.

          Make sure even your cords and thumb drives have some kind of label. Easier to go to the lost and found and say “android charger with a purple label that says Jessica on it.”

          I love by the way those packs of labels designed for school kids that have their name printed. Obviously if you have an unusual name they don’t work for you but you can get a bunch of labels printed or just print em off your computer (file labels are narrow enough you can roll em around a cord.) But make it easier if someone finds your stuff and is honest that they can get it back to you.

          1. Marillenbaum*

            My sister lives in the UK, and her children’s school requires basically everything to be labeled: clothes, lunchboxes, backpacks, even shoes! She ordered a bunch of labels on Etsy with Eldest’s and Youngest’s names, and spent the week before the start of term attaching them to EVERYTHING. But hey–at least the time Eldest came home wearing someone else’s shoes, she could call that kid’s dad and arrange a return swap.

            1. Agent Diane*

              My child still loses things even with all the labels. I’ve no idea whose fleece we currently have, but it’s not child’s. ;)

              Another tip if you’re looking for ways to feel more like you’re on top of this is the unclutterer website. I took a fair few tips from there.

            2. Specialk9*

              US school required that too. For the clothes, I didn’t want to make the next kid to wear these clothes (my kid’s cousins’ hand-me-downs, bless them, and I’ll gladly continue the recycling onward) to feel weird about wearing clothes with another kid’s name in them, so I got iron on labels with a recognizable decal – think squid or dinosaur. School figured it out.

    7. K*

      Yes, please do report it as soon as you think you’ve lost it. If you find it again no harm done, if it really is lost you’ll have to report it eventually.

      Even if it doesn’t have sensitive data or your IT department doesn’t use any tracking software they should be able to go through the phone company to make sure it’s not being used by a thief racking up a huge bill.

    8. Lynca*

      I agree. Where I work not reporting the loss (whether theft or not) for a week would get you a written reprimand in your file along with being responsible the cost of the replacement phone. I could also see it getting you fired depending on circumstances.

      Waiting a week or more to report equipment missing is an extremely cavalier attitude. You are basically showing a lack of care/responsibility for company property and that can be seen as a performance issue.

    9. Matilda Jefferies*

      Yes, this. Plus, reporting it stolen when you don’t know for sure that it was, sounds to me like deliberate hedging – like you’re trying to get out of trouble or avoid taking the blame. I don’t know if that’s actually what you were thinking, but that’s certainly what I would be if I were your manager. There’s an integrity issue there. Whatever the mistake was, whether it was losing the phone in your car or someone took it out of your bag at McDonalds, you’re far better off being honest about it.

      And combined with you waiting a week to report a potential privacy/security breach, I think I would have a lot of questions about your suitability for this particular job. Obviously each situation is different, and context matters a lot here, but I would definitely be watching you very carefully going forward.

      TL;DR – it’s better for everyone if you report it right away. If you don’t know if it was lost or stolen, say that, but don’t say it was stolen when it wasn’t, and definitely don’t wait more than one day to report it.

  9. LizzE*

    #1 – This might not directly relate to Tess because her relationships with these celebrities sound more social/personal, but famous people, especially the uber famous, often require people around them, particularly those who work for them, to sign confidentially agreements. And even if there are no NDAs involved, they often vet their social circles extensively to protect their privacy.

    Basically, what I am saying is that there is an expectation from Tess to be discrete. Even if she were willing to accommodate this request, some celebrities friends might view this as intrusive (which Alison also brushed upon). She earned their respect and trust; if she wants to invite you to the social circle, she needs to make that decision on her own.

    1. Not Australian*

      If Tess is posting pictures of her celeb friends on Instagram, she’s not being all that discreet.

        1. fposte*

          I glossed over the fact that this is all based on Instagram posts, and that most of them aren’t even Tess’s posts. Yeah, don’t bring this to her then. It raises the possibility of an alarming level of pursuit.

      1. ket*

        Not necessarily true. For all we know, even if Tess posted (rather than the celeb posting), the post was vetted & cleared by the celeb’s media team. “Instagram” doesn’t mean “candid and unvetted.” It often means heavily curated and edited.

  10. Lady Phoenix*

    #1 Using someone for their connections is gonna make you an asshole not just to the person but their connections as well. If you want a genuine friendship, go ahead. But if you see Tess as a stepping atone to famous people, expect a cold brush off. You think celebrities actually LIKE their friends being used?

    #2 I am going to be more harsh, but constantly losing highly expensive and important equipment sounds like a good way to get a bad performance review or a termination. You sound irresponsible, especially since WAIT to report company property going missing. Consider this a wake up call and find a better means to be organized.
    1. Keep your items in one place. Maybe set up a backpack JUST for work items and keep the items there when done.
    2. Install “Finding” apps on your equipment
    3. You need to change your attitude about how you treat the equipment. If something goes missing, find it or report it ASAP.

    1. Paula*

      You don’t mince words! I imagine OP#2 feels pretty terrible about losing it – she wouldn’t do it on purpose. I think she deserves a little more compassion.

      1. Czhorat*

        OP2 deserves compassion, but the self-description as discorganized and messy is a bit of a red flag. If your car is a black hole into which items vanish and your briefcase the same then perhaps it IS time to reevaluate to an extent.

        1. HS Teacher*

          I agree. My girlfriend is constantly losing things, including her work equipment. I bought her some Bluetooth tags with trackers and she lost them before I could install them for her.

          I have no idea why she can’t get organized, but it comes off as being scattered or uncaring. She lost her work phone for a week and it ended up just being in her car, which is so messy I refuse to ride in it. She’s a fantastic person, but I’d never hire her!

        2. Lady Phoenix*

          If OP’s car is that messy to be called a “black hole”, than it needs a deep cleaning. Constantly losing expensive equipment is a big deal and their work is probably losing their patience.

          It is one thing to lose a phone or to have the luggage vanish after flights (happens all the time), but losing or misplacing things just because mkes the OP sound highly irresponsibly, disorganized, and unreliable — stuff that makes companies see you as liability.

        3. Jesca*

          I am a messy person. OMG if something finds its way into my car, there it stays – unless its food. I am also extremely absentminded. So I have a system for important things. I always put x here and do y this way every single time. Once, I deviated from y, and put my wallet on top of my car to pump gas. I drove away and wallet has been lost to history.

          I use these strategies to help my son who suffers from severe ADHD and Anxiety. It works well. Develop a system that turns into a habit. And dear god never drop anything important in your car :)! And yes Lady Phoenix is a bit harsh, but the reality is you need to, as an adult, mitigate your own personality quirks and habits when they interfere with getting things done or can result in losing important items. My car is my messy place – every where else is organized, or I wouldn’t get anything done.

          1. aebhel*

            Yep. I really sympathize with OP, since I have ADD and keeping track of things is really difficult for me. So I always put things in the same place–that way, I don’t have to remember where I put it, because it always goes in [X] place. Even if it’s just a backpack in your car where all the important stuff goes, or a spot on your kitchen counter, or whatever–you don’t have to invest in some kind of expensive system for organizing, but you do have to become predictable to your future self.

            1. Jessica*

              “You do have to become predictable to your future self.”

              As someone else with ADD (and the anxiety that can come accompany it), this is such a helpful framing for me. Thank you.

              1. JessaB*

                Yes, I am stealing this phrasing, and people wonder why I have multiple redundant back up systems of stuff. Because I have ADHD, OCD and a really bad case of job PTSD from former bosses. I may be a mess in my room, but OMG my office is like an army base waiting for the inspector general.

                1. JessaB*

                  Oh and this is why I freak out and have anxiety attacks just reading posts about people who mess with other people’s stuff and screw around with their desks and change around their papers or post it notes.

          2. Matilda Jefferies*

            OP, you might want to check out ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Even if you don’t ADD or ADHD, this book is a fantastic resource on the basics of getting – and staying – organized.

            1. Matilda Jefferies*

              (I’m all over this thread, in my own ADD-scattered way. I promise this will be my last comment on the topic!)

              I also love the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, for changing personal habits like disorganization. There are tons of resources out there – you’ll probably like some better than others, but they all work, and they’re all better than losing-or-maybe-it-was-stolen your phone in your briefcase for a week. Good luck!

              1. Marillenbaum*

                Seconding the love for Better Than Before! It’s so helpful. I’m somewhat organized (which would astonish and delight my childhood self), but I’m also an Obliger who needs external accountability the way other people need water. It makes such a difference!

          3. Lindsay J*


            I have ADHD and have always been very disorganized (at least at home – at work I’ve always been praised for being neat and organized, to the disbelief of my parents and partners).

            However, I’ve come to realize that being neat isn’t a huge, impossible thing for me to do or an unreasonable request.

            Medication has helped, but what it really comes down to is awareness of what I am doing.

            Like I used to just toss my debit card into my purse after buying something, because I wanted to get home and I figured I would fix it later. But that lead to me losing or thinking that I lost my debit card a lot. So now I make sure to take the extra few seconds to slip it back into the slot in my wallet when I’m done. Now it’s always there, and I don’t get to the cashier at the store only to realize that my card is nowhere to be found.

            I was having trouble remembering to grab my ID for work in the morning, so now as soon as I get home it goes on a hook by the door along with my car keys.

            It’s nmot okay for my car to be biohazard-y, but it doesn’t get that way overnight, so as long as I take out most of the stuff I bring into it on any given day I don’t have to do huge cleaning ordeals.

    2. Coffeelover*

      I have to agree and this is coming from someone that used to lose things all the time. It’s not hard to keep things in one place if you make a conciencious effort to do so. Get a work bag and as soon as you’re done using something put it back. Have a specific spot for everything so you’re not just throwing things into a black hole of a car/bag. So your phone doesnt end up under a seat or in the lining of your bag. OP needs to make the mental switch from “oh I’m just so disorganized” to “I’m an adult that can take care of my stuff”. The first is basically just throwing your hands up and saying that’s just the way it is. I think it really is a mentality switch that needs to happen. No amount of organizational equipment will help if you don’t make the effort to use it. I made my mental switch a few years ago and haven’t lost anything of importance since. I even have a bowl at home where I always put my keys. My life is way less stressful as a result.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        +1 I always tended towards disorganized as a kid – I’d literally DO my homework and then shove it randomly into my backpack and never see it again – is it stuck in a book? Crumpled on the bottom? mixed with this notebook? Who knows? – by the time I got to high school/college I figured out I was screwing myself over, and FIXED IT.

        I’m now organized to a fault. And when I travel, my suitcase is literally full of other bags for X, Y, and Z. A small bag for cords/chargers/earbuds. A computer bag for my laptop, harddrives, mouse, etc. And so on. My suitcase is literally my clothes and about 5 smaller bags.

        1. SpiderLadyCEO*

          I did the same thing: I am hyper organized, because for me there is no in-between. It’s either a s###fest or it’s immaculate.

        2. Specialk9*

          Have you seen the Betabrand “Weekbender” bag? It’s a bag that starts flat and then zips into a structure. The walls are a hanging bag suitcase filled with clothes, the ends are shoe pockets that zip into place, and in the middle there is a laptop pocket and a big empty space for clothes and such. It’s wicked cool.

    3. LBK*

      The OP hasn’t actually lost anything yet, she’s asking about how to navigate that possibility if she actually does. Let’s back off a little.

      1. Bird*

        I read the letter as the OP saying that she lost her work phone. It’s unclear whether she found it again after looking for it for over a week, but regardless, that in itself is a big deal. I work in a setting where devices may include extremely confidential information about clients, so we must report any breach or potential breach of privacy – including theft or loss of phones, laptops, etc. – immediately or risk termination. OP may not be subject to such harsh consequences, but she does need to find a more useful system for keeping track of her work-provided equipment.

      2. Sue Wilson*

        OP has lost things, they just have subsequently found them. Losing things is a problem even if it’s not a permanent loss.

        1. LBK*

          I guess it depends how long they’re “lost” – sometimes it takes me a day to figure out where the hell I put my headphones, but I don’t think that counts as losing them. The only lengthy time frame she mentions is not being able to find her phone for a week.

  11. HannahS*

    OP 1, celebrities aside, I think this is an issue of learning how to properly network. Here are some important points related to your situation.

    First, you need to know what connections you need to be making, both in general and at this point in your career. Generally, you don’t need to network with actors. They aren’t the ones making hiring/firing or produce/not produce decisions. That’s producers and head writers and the like. The instances where an A-list actor has plucked a writer from obscurity and given them a job are incredibly rare. The only one I know of is Nia Vardalos (Tom Hanks saw her and became the producer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding), but Nia Vardalos was performing in a well-received one-woman play that she had written herself. You’re working as an assistant and are at the beginning of your career as a writer. Now, everyone starts somewhere. But right now, if you don’t have a lot experience writing, you need to work on getting writing credentials under your belt. Make friends with other writers and showbiz people who are around and a bit ahead of you professionally. Work together to put on shows in small, poorly attended theaters, or put stuff on YouTube, or freelance, something, as a way of learning your craft and getting writing credits. This is the professional network you need in the arts at the beginning of your career. I’m seeing it with my friends in the music world; no one’s cozying up to A-listers. They apply for grants to put on shows on Thursday night in a church. They take the tiniest of jobs in small venues that can’t hire anyone more experienced. They put on shows themselves and self-produce albums. The people who succeed work for years before gaining the attention of the powers that be who can help them farther, and then they’ll often then help people in their existing network.

    Second, you need to know what you want. What do you think these people can do for you? They aren’t going to hire you based on your feeling that you’d be a good addition to their staff. They need solid evidence that you’d be good. They don’t need to be familiar with you, they need to be familiar with your work. The same question applies to Tess. What can she do? No matter how cool and funny you are, she can’t recommend you to anyone as a writer if she doesn’t know that you’re a good writer. I feel like the ideal scenario is that you are a very skilled and talented writer, and you have some work that’s “out there” (published, a show, a podcast, a YouTube channel, something), Tess hears Celebrity Friend say, “We’re calling for submissions to hire a new writer” and she’ll go, “Hey, my colleague is a writer, her stuff is really great, can she submit some writing samples?” And then when your submission comes in, it might get a more careful look-over because Tess recommended you. That’s it. That’s often the most networking can do for you. And that assumes that Tess is genuinely really good friends with these people and that Tess respects you and your judgement, and she trusts you not to abuse this connection. And on top of it all, celebrities get SO MUCH MORE crap than people in other industries, and so do their friends. So don’t let your excitement of “this person I know and like is friends with all these really cool incredible people that I admire and otherwise cannot access” fool you into thinking that knowing them will help you professionally. Instead, work on getting writing experience while earning a living doing other things.

    1. Myrin*

      That’s a fantastic comment!
      I was also wondering about that myself – I’m not remotely interested in the showbiz and know basically nothing about it but it’s never seemed to me like the actual celebrities are the people you need to know to get ahead there. (I mean, obviously there are famous people’s spouses or kids who seem to be getting jobs just because of that but that’s a very close connection, not someone you vaguely know about in your socio-professional circle.)

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

        I don’t know either but I’d imagine that for the most part the actors are not the ones making decisions about scripts, writers, etc etc (except maybe comedians). Someone else comes up with the project and then hires actors for the parts, right? I’d think that if you want to be a script writer you’d want to be making friends with someone who knows other writers, producers, etc.

        In any case it’s not cool in any industry to be friendly with someone in the hopes that they will introduce you to someone more powerful, not because you are genuinely interested in them. And their connection might be more tenuous than it seems.

      2. MK*

        The thing about spouses or kids is that a) they may well have social connections with celebrities in their own right (if your parent is sucessful actor X, there is a possibility that you have known famous actor Z, celebrated director Y and powerful producer N since you were a kid) and b) the family connection can be a selling point (say, when promoting a film).

    2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      Excellent comment and advice, especially the part about knowing what you want. It’s easy to get caught up in the image of celebrity/success and not consider that you need a solid platform under your feet before proceeding.

      And OP #1, kudos to you for asking for advice before saying anything to Tess. To me, that speaks to your character. Plenty of people would have forged ahead and not even considered that their actions were inappropriate. Good luck with your career.

    3. Susanne*

      “Second, you need to know what you want. What do you think these people can do for you? They aren’t going to hire you based on your feeling that you’d be a good addition to their staff. They need solid evidence that you’d be good. They don’t need to be familiar with you, they need to be familiar with your work. ”

      This is an outstanding comment, and one I hope that the OP really takes to heart. This is not about how cool and funny you are at the cocktail party with Tess and her celeb friend.

    4. Marthooh*

      Yep yep yep. Plus, celebrities meet LOTS of people, every day of their lives. That’s part of being a celebrity! Just meeting them won’t make you stand out in any way, and pitching yourself if you do meet them will make you stand out in a bad way.

    5. Drew*

      This is a really compassionate comment. Taking the whole “celebrity” aspect out of the reply points out that learning how to network in and of itself is an important skill.

  12. Daria Grace*

    #1, keep in mind that if even people like you who aren’t close friends know that she knows famous people, she’s probably getting asked to make introductions by a lot of people. She can’t agree to all of those and constantly fending off such requests would get exhausting.

  13. Sarah*

    LW1: Don’t do it. Don’t try to hang out with this well-connected friend, ever. Don’t use people like that. Just don’t. (And don’t confuse your desire for social climbing with professional networking.)

    LW2: You’ve identified a problem. How are you going to fix it? Find a way to not lose company equipment.

    1. caryatis*

      LW#2, you said “I struggle to keep organized as I’m often commuting 4+ hours.”

      So if a 4+ hour commute makes it difficult for you to do basic life tasks like keeping track of your stuff, have you considered moving closer to work? It sounds like you work in multiple locations, but you can move closer to the location(s) where you work most often. You might still have to do long drives occasionally, but you’d be less flustered and disorganized if you could have a 30-minute-or-less biking or walking commute most days. It is possible–it’s just that most people don’t try.

      1. Sarah*

        As someone with a job like what OP 2 describes, I suspect this is not an option in her current job. I live a 15 minute walk from work, and I regularly have hours of driving at the beginning and end of the day. It comes with the territory in environmental consulting, and I am sure in other careers – you work a full construction day (up to 12 hours) and have to be at random work sites before the crew gets there, and leave when they do. I hold pretty strong limits on what distance I will drive in one day- I will not work more than 13 hours in a day including drive time and reports cause I’m stubborn and don’t want to die on the road, but 14-16 hour days are not unheard of for many. I have also lost equipment.

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        A plea from someone else with a long commute: those of us who travel a long way to work are perfectly aware that moving is a thing some people do, and get very tired of people suggesting it like they are the first person to do so and not the 127th.

        In any case the letter writer said the travel is part of their job. They also mentioned needing their time at home to sleep. I bet it would help a lot if you just took 5-10 minutes of that time at home to organise yourself.

        1. JessaB*

          Yes and moving is not this easy simple thing that people think. All your bills have to be fully paid, you need to save for deposits, for moving fees, whether that is a truck and friends or a moving company.

          Even if you pay every bill on time all the time, you may still have deposits to pay in a new location especially if there are new providers of services. You need to be able to take time off to actually DO the moving thing.

          You need to find a new place, and possibly change other things like doctors and schools for your kids. If you’re moving away from family you may have to get daycare for your kids or pets because your mother two blocks down is not going to come to this new place an hour away to sit. If anyone in the household has special needs the current location may be adapted for them and doing that in a new place has costs.

          Every time I hear someone say “just move,” as if you snap your fingers or cross your arms and nod your head or wiggle your nose, and voila magic, you’re moved, I just want to scream.

          And it’s worse if you’re living cheque to cheque or you can’t for various reasons pay every bill on time every time. Because then you’re subject to the “poor tax” of even higher deposits on things you already have trouble affording.

      3. Susanne*

        “LW#2, you said “I struggle to keep organized as I’m often commuting 4+ hours.”

        It’s unclear to me why the length of the commute makes a difference? You put your briefcase/ bag / backpack / whatever containing all your stuff in the passenger side seat / on the floor / in the trunk, regardless of whether the commute itself is 15 minutes or several hours. The good thing is that this is a mostly solvable problem – as long as you change your mindset from “I’m just disorganized, that’s me” to “I have found and consistently use systems that help me keep track of my stuff.”

        1. Agent Diane*

          This. Please read the people suggesting ways to be organised as that’ll help you sleep better!

          I loved the comment upthread about 5 minutes following a system is “being kind to your future self”.

  14. Violet*

    OP2 – Is there GPS tracking on any of this equipment, especially the phone? If so and if you can access the tracking, this could let you know whether the misplaced item is somewhere in your car or if it was left in a different city.

  15. Myrin*

    #4, I’m actually confused about the hiring manager’s original request. You were supposed to “[t]hink it through and email [her] with your thoughts” – what thoughts? Unless I keep skipping a crucial part of your letter, they didn’t offer you the job or anything, right? Were you just supposed to reiterate your interest/confirm that you still want to work with them after getting to know them a bit better? I’d actually assume that’s a given if I were the hiring manager!

    In any case, I’m reading the whole thing similarly to Alison – either they had several top candidates and then decided kinda willy-nilly-ish that they’d go with the first to contact them (which: Not Good) or they had a favourite who wasn’t you and over the course of the next day decided to go with them. Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t beat myself up over it if I were you!

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Yeah, it was so unclear that I wonder what they’d be like to work with. Passive aggressive, one might imagine.

    2. HS Teacher*

      Agreed. It sounds like a clueless hiring manager. I wouldn’t lose much sleep thinking I’d done something wrong. My only suggestion would be in the future to get clarification when someone says something vague to you.

      1. EddieSherbert*


        I wouldn’t know what to reply based on those guidelines. Plus, if she did want something detailed from you in your followup, and you assumed she just meant “just confirm your interest,” actually replying (within her very short and unannounced deadline!) wouldn’t have helped anyways!

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m guessing 2–someone else was their first choice, and when she got back to them with a winning follow-up email they offered her the job, and she took it. In which case the speed of OP4’s reply wouldn’t have mattered.

      I view the request as an extension on “You should have questions for the company in the interview.” That the hiring manager wanted to hear back from the top candidates something that reflected having learned more about the position during the interview, and having a clearer sense of how they would fit into it. (Not saying it should be the next “Tell me your greatest shortcoming”–it’s totally reasonable to ask your questions in the interview, right then–but that she was perhaps just going for a sense that people were thinking about the fit, not stuck in “It’s a job and pays money, so I’m a perfect fit” with new info not nuancing that at all. And for this specific job, it sort of makes sense as a test–how compelling are the potential media guru’s follow-up emails.)

    4. fposte*

      Yeah, I read the HM’s words as just badly phrased stuff about following up and keeping the discussion open; I didn’t think the followup had anything to do with somebody else’s getting the job.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’ve seen some interviewers do this. It’s weird, but some do. It’s basically “think over everything we’ve discussed and then email me your thoughts about your level of interest and how you’d approach the job.” I think people who ask it are looking for confirmation that the person is really interested, but I’m not sure if there’s some other thinking behind it.

  16. TL -*

    OP #2: Could you get a tupperware bin for your car – a bigger one – and just throw all of your work electronics in there? You shouldn’t need them when you’re driving and you could easily put it on the floor of your passenger seat when travelling (assuming nobody else is travelling with you.) You can line it with a blanket and leave the lid off to make it really easy to use – just toss things in when you get in the car.

    If you have large equipment then I’d advise getting one for the back of the car for things you’ll always store after using (tripods, large computers) and one in the front for things you’re more likely to trek in and out (cameras/phones/laptops.)

    1. Luna*

      They actually make trunk organizers that might work. It’s safer to leave stuff in the trunk out of sight rather than the front seat anyway.

      1. Elemeno P.*

        I was thinking this, too! I have a trunk organizer for my stuff that I’ll need last minute and it’s great. There are different pockets so I can keep everything neat.

      2. Temperance*

        In my experience, these just become bottomless wells of trash if you’re not an organized person, which is does not sound like LW is.

        1. TL -*

          Yeah, anything with organizer in the name is actually for more skilled organizes, not beginners (in my experience.) Easy to see, use, and access is best for those starting to get organized.

      3. Specialk9*

        I have a cube in the trunk filled with emergency gear that would cover the whole trunk if not corralled. Why not one for electronics?

        (If you were thinking of a car emergency kit, do it. Wool blanket, space blanket bivvy sleeping bags, freeze dried banana chips and cereal, water, reflective road triangles, tire inflator machine, jumper cables, folding shovel, maps, lighters, garbage bags, first aid kit. All that fits in a regular cube like what goes in a bookshelf.)

  17. bookmoth*

    Letter #2: Have you heard of the Tile? I have one, a “gift” from my husband. I keep the Tile in my (paper) calendar. I have the Tile App on my phone. If I can’t find my calendar, I ask my phone if the calendar is within range (not sure what the range is, but I have a big house, and it serves me well), I can make the calendar chime.

    (And visa versa – if I have my calendar, I can make my phone beep, even if its volume is turned off).

    The only limit, I think, as to how many Tiles the app on your phone can track for you is how many physical Tiles you have.

    Tiles are not expensive, especially considering that you can put them on anything (keys, calendars, sewn into the lining of your coat, etc). I’m planning to get a half-dozen more this Solstice, some for me, some as gifts.

    (Full disclosure: I do not work for Tile, nor receive anything from them. I just feel like their product has made it possible for someone as severely ADHD and scatter-brained to own her own business and I am grateful to tell people about them.)

    1. London Expat*

      I second this (and I don’t work for Tile either), but they are awesome. Couldn’t live without my Tile now!

    2. esra*

      I was actually going to suggest Tile as well. It definitely would’ve solved the briefcase issue quicker.

    3. Bullwinkle*

      I also thought of the Tile, I’ve never used them but my mom swears by them.

      I will add also that I have spent time doing seasonal work and essentially living out of my car, with limited space in whatever dorm room/shared room/tent I was sleeping in for all my stuff. I felt like I was constantly re-organizing my car to keep on top of whatever I needed for the day/week, dirty clothes/clean clothes, groceries etc. I’m not the most naturally organized person, and I found that not having a stable space for your things means you have to keep track of everything in your head, which uses a lot of mental energy and is quite stressful. The more you can outsource that to a specific system, whatever works for you, the better. Other people have suggested good physical organization tips, but maybe a checklist also?

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Sewing it into the lining of your kids’ coats could be revolutionary. By February the school lost and founds always look like a ski store special, awash in the sort of bulky, good quality coat you can’t fathom someone not checking for. I get mittens, but parkas?

      1. JessaB*

        Coats are easy, I have a medical condition that makes me very hot all the time. Despite this I had parents that insisted that I put on a coat and hat and gloves and I was DYING, honestly I thought I’d sweat to death, by the time I got to school, that stuff was NOT on me anymore, and coats are hard to carry. They stopped forcing me when I didn’t want to by the time the 3d coat went the way of the dodo.

        Today in Ohio the weatherbug on my computer “says” it’s 30. Any time it’s under 40 I take my sweat jacket with me (hoodie with a zip up front,) I tossed it into the car and left it there. I have worn it once so far and that was because of rain.

        Kids run around and play and get hot and take off the jacket and forget to put it back on and those are kids who have normal temperature regulators in them.

  18. HA2*

    #2 – there’s two pieces to this.

    First is that the company absolutely sees lost equipment as part of the cost of doing business. I’m sure it’s happened before and will happen again. But it’s something that’s addressed in a performance review, usually from the point of view of “are you generating more value for the business than you are costing them.” Lost equipment is added to the cost of employing you, next to the salary and benefits. The fact that you’ve lost would also be added to the tally of how reliable/unreliable you are.

    The flipside to this – you should start treating “maintaining company equipment while in your personal space” professionally, as part of your job. Because it is. Develop a filing system or procedures for yourself if you need to, or keep a logbook or dedicated storage container, or whatever – treat it as part of your job to come up with a safe and reliable storage and transport solution for company equipment. Other commenters here have posted good options.

    #4 – no way that waiting 24 hours to respond to a request that starts with “Think it through” should cost you a job. If someone says to think something through, I think it’s quite reasonable to draft a response and edit it the next day. If I interviewed someone on Monday, I would think nothing of getting a response back from them late Tuesday night. That’s a 100% normal timeline as far as I’m concerned.

    Here’s another way to think about it. I’d be willing to bet that they didn’t send you that rejection letter until they had in hand the signed acceptance paperwork from another candidate! I don’t know how long it takes them to send the offer, and get it back, signed, and do HR paperwork, from the moment the hiring manager decides they want to hire someone, but man, 1 day is a tight timeline for that. Maybe they’re super-speedy, but I’d actually guess that they were moving forward with the other candidate before they even talked to you. It’s possible you were being interviewed as their failsafe in case their already-sent offer fell through, or something crazy was uncovered in the reference check, or something.

    Or maybe you didn’t interview as well as you thought; maybe the hiring manager who talked to you post-interview liked you, but some of the other team members you interviewed with didn’t like you (or at least didn’t like you as much as other candidates), and that didn’t come out until they did their post-interview debrief with each other the next day, at which point you got the rejection letter.

    Either way, I’m almost certain that “waiting 24 hours to respond” was not what cost you the job.

    1. Machiamellie*

      I agree. I think maybe Alison missed the part of the OP receiving the rejection within 24 hours of the interview. I wouldn’t think the OP’s not sending a thank-you email immediately would be to blame in any way.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Nope, I got that part. As I said, either the interviewer *really* jumped the gun or they just decided during that time period to go with someone else, unrelated to any lack of response from the OP.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      If anything, I think you’d want to leave 24ish hours so it looks like you “thought it through.” Rather than shooting off a generic “thanks for the meeting so excited about job” email.

      OP, very likely they had another first choice, and decided to go with them during that 24 hours.

  19. Em Too*

    My company works with Government data and a newspaper bothered to report that 3 people had lost their security cards. Including me. But from our angle, I’d reported immediately, it was invalidated, no risk*, no concern and certainly nothing for me to pay.

    *They’d also have needed my password and my specific laptop to access data.

  20. AlwhoisthatAl*

    #2 – I’m afraid it’s a matter of discipline, the finder apps like the Tile are good but means you have already lost/mislaid the item. And laptop bags and most luggage is meant for carrying rather than quick location of what you need. What I have done is take over half of the boot (sorry trunk) of the car with a flight case. Then you make a place for everything and mark where everything should be, even doing foam cutouts in the flight case. You have a similar case – usually a briefcase in the front passenger seat footwell – all clearly marked. Then when you go somewhere all you need is a brief visual check. And if something is not there, you look for it until it is found, never leave a space. That means any “lost” item can only be at your current location.
    Have a look at the way Breakdown Recovery vans have their stuff laid out.
    I did this for years on the oil rigs and it made my life so much easier

    1. SarahKay*

      Seconded for the foam cutouts.
      My Dad is a keen amateur photographer and he has a hard case lined with cut-out foam for all his equipment. It keeps the equipment protected when he’s on the move, plus he can see at a glance that everything is there. I’d suggest something similar for you, together with forcing yourself to get into the habit of checking in the case before driving off anywhere. A gap in the case means don’t drive off.

      I also think you need to check with your company on what their reporting policy is for misplaced items. My company expects us to report anything like that as soon as reasonably practicable. They’re set up to wipe devices so that confidential information isn’t lost.
      Truthfully, this would be the bigger risk for me than having to pay to replace the equipment (unlikely unless I was shown to be very careless). Loss of a laptop worth £1,000 to the company – bad, but a blip overall to the company, and not something I’d expect to be penalised for, outside of a low point on that year’s annual appraisal. Loss of confidential company information because I didn’t report the laptop loss – very bad for the company, and I’d expect disciplinary action and maybe even being let go in the worst case.

      1. Wheezy Weasel*

        Third for the foam cutouts and the specially designed flight case…I prefer the Penguin brand but there are several other good ones. It’s a mental switch in my head whenever I have to unlock the padlock to get into the case, or un-padlock it from my vehicle attachment point, to tell me ‘this is really important stuff, that’s why I have to take this extra step’.

        I’ve also found it helpful to purchase separate chargers and adaptors if I’m moving between permanent locations on a regular basis…a separate laptop charger in my home office and one at work, two USB chargers in my car for two different work devices really helps me avoid packing and unpacking items. Then when I open my flight case and need an accessory, I know the accessory that is packed in the case needs to stay with the device because I have one in my permanent or mobile location.

        1. SarahKay*

          Oh, yes, excellent point, separate chargers and adaptors for home and work (or work and travel, etc) is so useful.

  21. Dove*

    OP2: if you’re *routinely* losing pieces of work equipment, you need to take steps to make that stop happening; it doesn’t matter that you keep finding that you just misplaced things in your car or your home. Get a backpack or a briefcase or a small rolling suitcase that could go in an overhead bin; this is where your work equipment lives now. It’s either in the bag or it’s in your hand/in front of you at your desk. Make sure that the bag doesn’t have a way for anything to slip between linings and get lost that way, and get a lock for it – keep the key on your keychain with your car keys.

    It’s obnoxious, but it’s also a basic step if you’re aware that you’ve got a problem with misplacing and losing things. And it’s an incredibly important step if you’ve got work equipment that would be expensive to replace or would result in exposing your company to serious security risks if it goes missing.

    1. I'm Organised Because I'm Lazy*

      For chargers and leads and plugs and other small, fiddly items, I also like using these little bags (often called handbag organisers) that have several pockets and you just pick the whole bag up when you need to move stuff, and you can sit it in your workspace as a desktop organiser. Before I found these organisers, I used to use either a large jewellery roll or a medium-sized, multi-pocket toiletries bag, so those are also options.

      Also, when I realised my car was regularly getting into a mess, I budgeted for a professional interior clean once a month, because that kept the mess at a maximum of ‘three-weeks messy’, and forced me to clean out the stuff that didn’t need to be in the car anymore, rather than letting it all pile up.

    1. NYC Weez*

      Lol, not OP #2, but I dislike talking on cell phones, so I personally use my laptop with Skype or a desk phone as much as possible rather than talking on my cell. I’ve also kept a personal phone separate from work, and I’ve shared that number with a few close colleagues so I could completely forego my work phone if needed, as long as I had regular access to WiFi for my laptop.

    2. Risha*

      I don’t even have a work phone. I use my personal cell to contact colleagues during the rare off-hour emergency, and a conference room phone for conference calls a couple of times a week. Everything else is IM and Lync or Zoom meetings.

  22. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    #2 – I don’t know how your equipment is organised, but could you take a photo after it’s packed? I used to have memory and sleep problems (all okay now) and I sometimes took a photo of things and compared it to my checklist.

  23. hbc*

    #4: It might be as simple as “Email us with your thoughts” is that interviewer’s standard closing line. Or they really wanted to hear your thoughts but the next two candidates were amazing and they realized there’s nothing you could email that would put you in the top spot. Or any number of other factors that don’t mean there was a first-email-first-hire situation.

    Basically, either this is a normal situation and a delay on an email wouldn’t upend a top candidate, or it’s an unusual case and they make very bad decisions and there’s no way to predict what kind of random tests they might have set up.

  24. Athena*

    Not sure if anyone’s said this, but I’ve recently bought a Tile for my keys and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made. Attach it to small things (they have different ways to attach it; it just slips onto my key ring) and sync it to your phone and you’re set.

    I did see an earlier commenter recommend Find My iPhone, and I recommend it heartily.

    Other things – like work things or car things that tend to go awry – I leave in a box on my passenger side. I’m usually the only one in my car, so I can just dump things in there, especially if they have a tendency to fall into cracks in the car, and it’s so useful. I swap it out with one I use for the doggo’s beach stuff, because i tend to fling as well, and have spent many an hour trying to untangle an errant leash from some weird place in my car while my dog silently judges me (she who digs individual holes for her toys and is the height of organisation).

  25. Ruth (UK)*

    2. I don’t have a lot of expensive stuff to keep track of but I do have a particular system (or what I think if as ‘rules’) for things that would be a pain to lose. I don’t know how well it would work for you with the [amount of and type of] stuff you have and all the travelling but you might be able to adapt something similar to work for you.

    Basically, for a number of items (especially my keys, phone, and wallet but also other things including my bike pump etc (I commute everywhere by bike) and some other things) I have ‘rules’ about where they are allowed to be when not being currently used.

    Example: if my keys are not currently in my hand (eg to unlock something) they can only be either in the left pocket of my winter coat, the left pocket of my summer cycling jacket (depends on time of year), or the top right corner pocket thing of my rucksack. Then, if I want to find them, if they’re not where I first looked, I can only need to look in a maximum of 2 more places (but usually just one more). I will never ever put them down on a table, counter, surface or other pocket etc for any amount of time. The only exception is if I’ve gone out somewhere where the rucksack and jacket would be too casual and then they’d be in a smaller bag but I would always put them back into the pocket of whichever coat I’m most likely to use next on arriving home. The coat is the main default location.

    My wallet is those same places but the right pocket of the coats.

    And so on. This works for me and I never end up looking for my money or keys, etc. Also, if I am out and think ‘oh do I have my keys/phone/etc?’ it only takes me a moment to check without any rummaging about trying to locate them etc. (Ps. I also keep my cards in the same order/sections within my wallet for the same reason)

    I realise this might be more difficult with the type and/or size of items you have and being in lots of different locations but you could maybe create some sort of rules of types of locations things can be in, or where/how will put them in your car so that when your car is packed, you’ll be able to check quickly if you have everything?

    1. Jaydee*

      As a person with ADHD, losing and finding important things is sort of one of my super powers/hobbies/areas of expertise.

      I have found that having a place for things and being rigidly compulsive about only putting the thing in its place is the only way to prevent the losing of the thing and the subsequent wasted time trying to find the thing.

      I now have specific criteria for purses, work bags, and wallets to facilitate this. If the wallet has a wrist strap and either a zipper or snap closure, I’m more likely to take the whole thing out of my giant heavy work tote for a coffee run than to just grab my debit card. And I am infinitely more likely to put the wallet back in the bag, whereas that sneaky debit card always wants to end up in a pocket and not be found until I do laundry days later.

      Likewise I have never once forgotten my ID badge for work because I created a rule that all work bags must have at least one outside slip pocket into which I put my keys, phone, and badge. If the badge is not clipped to my clothes, it is in the pocket. There is nowhere else it should be. Not in my pocket. Not in the cup holder of my car. Not in a desk drawer. Not even in a different pocket of my bag.

      You should get in a similarly rigid habit with regard to your work stuff. Other commenters have suggested ways of organizing the larger things within your car. But for the smaller items (phone, tablet, hotspot, file folders, etc.) Make sure they have ONE place in your travel bag and make sure they go in that place and nowhere else whenever they are not in use. If your travel bag doesn’t zip or have another good closure method, see if you can get one that does to prevent items from spilling out in your car.

  26. Ramona Flowers*

    #1 My husband works in the music industry and knows some celebrities. I asked him how he would feel about a request like yours. He said: “Well obviously I’d say no, as people wouldn’t appreciate me trying to use my friendship with them in that way.”

    It sounds like you’re feeling excited and starstruck by these second or third degree connections. Here’s the thing: celebrities are just people. The people they are connected to are also just people. You cannot work with celebrities, or be friends with them, if you are so blinded by the idea of celebrity that you want to step on and use your friends or colleagues.

    Some celebrities are nice. Some are not. None of them are going to hire you for their writing staff because you know someone who has appeared in an Instagram photo with them. They might hire you if you build up a reputation for doing good work and being the kind of person others want to recommend. Don’t build a reputation for being a grasping user instead. It’s a small world. Word gets around.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      PS I got it into my head that you meant social media writing, but from reading the other comments it seems not.

          1. Specialk9*

            I had the impression that a lot of veteran actors transition to producing or directing. (I’ll admit that my understanding of the difference between the two is fuzzy.)

  27. Tuesday Next*

    OP1 this isn’t much different from expecting colleagues to buy your MLM products or give you a lift to work. It’s plain and simple, using people for what they can do for you. Sorry!

    OP4, 24 hours is a weirdly short time to expect someone to respond. They must have someone else lined for the role all along.

  28. Nea*

    OP#2: I am a disorganized person who has to be organized. To keep myself from going crazed I make the organization as easy as possible with a combination of color coding and Everything In It’s Place.

    Color coding: cheap bright nail polish is your friend. Check before you do this to work equipment, but a little dot or stripe of bright pink or baby blue shouldn’t be a problem on a cord or chassis. You can scrape it off with a fingernail and it won’t leave sticky behind it like a label would. Now: all your stuff and the plug of the corresponding cord gets a little dot. My laptop has two blue dots. My printer one pink one. I can look at the power strip and know instantly which plug is which. Ditto packing – match cord to device and you’re good.

    If you can’t dot your work equipment, then at least steal a few of those twist ties with flags on them next time you’re in a grocery store that wants you to label bulk foods and use those to label your cords. Use colored ink/highlighters.

    Everything In It’s Place: If you’re feeling wealthy (or have a second-hand store that throws these up) get a Jen Grover Butler Bag or one of those Vera Bradley totes with 6-8 inner pockets. If you’re not feeling wealthy, get a Grid or a customizable crafting tote or tackle box. Worst case scenario, get an old Mary Kay makeup sample bag off eBay or do what Jen Grover originally did, which is shove the silverware rack out of a dishwasher into an old tote. (If you only carry small stuff, hanging toiletries bags will do.)

    Er, I’m making assumptions. Whatever is appropriate for your company and gender, as long as it has a billion pockets.

    Now LABEL, LABEL, LABEL!!! The phone goes ONLY in this pocket labeled “phone” and hopefully that label is color coded. The phone cord goes ONLY in its pocket, etc. It only takes seconds to shove everything in its place and eyeball for missing things. (Because anything you don’t need has a piece of paper shoved in it saying “not used this trip”)

    Yes, it’s Garanimals For Grownups and yes, I have a bit of OCD. But the pain in the patoot of setting it up is well rewarded with the ease and no stress of at-a-glance finding my crap.

    And then when you lose it in your house *cough*notthatIdknow*cough* Find Your Phone is invaluable.

    1. Specialk9*

      Color coding electronics to chargers with nail polish is brilliant! I do that with keys, so I know which is which without the bulk of those key covers… But never thought of how it can help with the tangle of black cords. I’ll bet one could even just use colored rubber bands, in a pinch.

      I also recently had to switch from micro-USB for virtually everything, to USB-C. I decided to get all of my charging cords and micro-to-C adapters in red color. It’s been super helpful in keeping things straight.

  29. Julianne*

    #1, please only try to become friends with this woman if her friendship is something you actually want in your life, not just for her connections. I’ve been in a position before where people assumed I had connections that could help them (celebrities and other influencers who could easily get my friends high-paying jobs), befriended me to get access to those assumed connections, and then completely ghosted me when they found out that I didn’t have those kinds of connections. It sucked. Even if you know for a fact that your coworker has connections, trying to form a friendship with her just to access them is a pretty gross move. Focus on a good working relationship above all else, because I guarantee that things will get really awkward if you try to use her.

    1. Orca*

      Also, a good working relationship with this person would probably be way more valuable connection-wise in the long run!

  30. Radio Girl*

    OP1, you say you are 22. Do you really think you have enough experience to do social media or public relations for an established entertainer? Or any other kind of work.

    Once you gain some experience – years of experience – and polish and enhance your skills, maybe. But let it happen naturally.

  31. B*

    In order for me to find anything, I have to be a “everything has to have a place” kind of person. I have an organizer that fits on to the back of the seat that has pockets of different sizes I use for the stuff I need while traveling to field sites. I got it from Duluth Trading Post.

  32. SandrineSmiles (France) At Work*

    Ah, OP 1. I understand the temptation. I really do. I would be so, SO tempted to do the same. I actually kinda did on a smaller scale (famous French Youtuber that I idolized) and lemme tell you, it didn’t go well.

    I’ve known Elsa for at least 15 years. Two years ago, I realized that she was friends with Youtuber’s girlfriend. By extension, Youtuber was her friend as well. A convention came up that Youtuber was invited to, and Boyfriend and I went with Elsa (shared accomodation) and she introduced me to Youtuber’s GF (who is delightful, we even added each other on FB haha) .

    Elsa told me about Youtuber’s presence at the convention because she knew I wouldn’t betray her trust, and she knew how much I liked him. So she talked to the GF, and at some point I found myself posing for pictures with Youtuber and I was SO HAPPY (had seen him once before but the pictures were lost).

    But then… turns out Youtuber seems to have some sort of attitude that I just cannot condone. One day I posted about it on my private FB, and a mutual friend came and tried to defend him. It wasn’t anything criminal, mind you (although it could have ended up that way – Youtuber, having a rather big Twitter following, liked a tweet mocking feminism and a few friends of mine have been harassed by his community because they dared question it and he said nothing to help ease the tension.) . But it’s left a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Keep in mind that, no matter the celebrity scale, the same thing could also happen. You might make a small connection, be all star struck, and then bam, one day it all crashes down.

    Be natural. If you like Tess, befriend her. If you don’t like Tess, don’t befriend her. What’s meant to happen will happen naturally. As others have said, if during your getting-to-know-Tess time you demonstrate talent in any domain Tess’ friends might help you with, trust me, if she likes your stuff, she WILL mention you without you asking.

    Bet of luck to you. Celebrities are like cats anyway. They can tell when youre genuine or not: the more you push to meet them, the less likely they’ll be to want to meet you.

    1. SandrineSmiles (France) At Work*

      Oh, and also. If Tess even has any clue that you only want to use her, she WILL eventually mention it to the celebrities in a “Haha I can’t BELIEVE someone has tried to use me AGAIN to meet you” and bam, bridge burnt for you :/ .

  33. Hush42*

    I guess I’m reading #4 differently from Alison. It says that “…within 24 hours since that meeting, I received an email from her saying that they were moving forward with another candidate!”. This reads to me as if the hiring manager didn’t even give OP a chance to respond within 24 hours since she sent the rejection e-mail in less than 24 hours. In that case it wouldn’t really have mattered if OP had responded right away. Right away would have had to have been immediately after the meeting. If she had in fact wanted OP to think it over and let her know because she wanted to offer them the job she would presumably actually given them time to think it over and not expected an instant response- she could have gotten one of those in person.

    1. hbc*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they had, say, an 11:00 interview and the interviewer assumed/meant that OP would get back on the same day. We’ve probably all had managers who forget to give relevant instructions or think that their expectations are obvious when they really aren’t.

      Still, most of those would still call or email the top candidate to see what happened to the email.

  34. SaraV*

    #1 – Let’s say you started out your letter with “I’m 22 and just got my first job in the teapot industry…”, and Tess has worked with well-known teapot designers, and you want to become a designer yourself, or perhaps work at actually manufacturing those designs, it would be a bad move to befriend Tess for just her connections to those people.

    What I WOULD do is observe Tess’s work…what she does and how she does it. What are her strengths? (And observe in a non-stalkerish way, please) After 6 months or so, maybe ask her how she got her connections to these celebrities. Small venue theater work, volunteering at something, etc.?

    All in all, if there is going to be a friendship with Tess, please let it happen naturally.

  35. Oryx*

    OP#1, I have a friend from college who works in the entertainment industry. She’s worked with some incredible actors and actresses over the years and while there are ones I’d love to meet or get an autograph from, I’ve never asked– and this is someone I’ve known for almost twenty years and met long before she got involved with all of this!

    There’s no way it’s appropriate asking someone you barely know and only met recently and only seem to want to know because of her connections.

    The thing of it is, through my job I’ve had the opportunity to interview at least one of her colleagues along with other celebrities and it is far more satisfying because I had to work and earn a certain level of respect to get those opportunities (and those opportunities were far more involved than just a simple meet and greet through a mutual friends). So, if this is something you want to do — and it sounds like you do, if you mention writing for their shows — figure out how to do it on your own merit. Don’t use Tess.

  36. hbc*

    Two things to keep in mind for #3:

    1) The company may want your customer-facing title to be more simple and better reflect what that narrower focus of your job. You may need to be open to still calling yourself a Coach externally and even keeping it on your business cards, but having your internal title (and the one you put on your resume) reflect the more complicated situation.

    2) Sometimes there’s no way to really reflect what you do in one title, especially if you’re a jack-of-all-trades kind of person. You can capture the breadth on a resume, be known for it internally, and let it come out naturally with the clients (“It sounds like you want X, I’ll be able to design a mockup when I’m back in the office Wednesday), but it’s probably never going to work in a title.

  37. Nea*

    Argh, typed up a huge comment and I think it got eaten in the ether. To recap for OP#2:

    I’m a disorganized person who has to be organized, and my method for doing so is Garanimals For Grownups. Everything is color-coded and everything has a very specific place to live.

    My favorite form of color coding is cheap, bright nail polish in Disney colors. Two dots of pink on the printer chassis, two dots of pink on the plug of the printer’s cord. One streak of blue on the laptop chassis, one streak of blue on the plug. I can look at a power strip and know what’s what, and I can look at the equipment and see what doesn’t have a matching color. You’d have to ask your company if that’s okay – it shouldn’t hurt the equipment and it shouldn’t leave residue like tape or labels might. And you can scrape it off with a fingernail if necessary without damaging the equipment.

    The other thing is to get really particular about “a place for everything and everything in its place.” You need something with LOTS of pockets. Depending on your gender/budget/business needs, this could be everything from a Vera Bradley tote (OMG the pockets in those things, and they’re padded!) to a customizable handyman tool case to a hanging toiletry kit – whatever works for you as long as it has LOTS of pockets or compartments. It doesn’t even have to be anything the clients see, as long as you can use it at the beginning of each trip and the end of each day to keep yourself organized. And everything lives in its own specific, labeled, pocket or compartment. Preferably a color-coded label. (Ornament bins are going on sale now – repurposing one of those for the purposes of keeping things organized in the car might work.)

    Personally, I’m all for the “throw it in one place, dig through that place” form of organizing, but I’ve had my share of panics when my idle toss missed the bag and suddenly somethingI needed was hidden under the car seat instead of where I thought it was. It’s worth the extra time/money/pain in the patoot to give things a specific place to live.

  38. Nonprofitplainjane*

    I was able to get reimbursed for a computer case bag. I keep all of my work equipment in there computer, thin file folder, jetpack, and cellphone, and all the corresponding chargers. I always put them in the bag when leaving whatever location I am at. When I am not using them there are either at my house or locked into a desk drawer. I haven’t had any issues keeping track of them, and yet I routinely misplace my personal cellphone.

    1. HS Teacher*

      Agreed. OP needs to get in the habit of putting things in the same place when not using them.

      I had to start hanging up my keys when I walked into my home every night. Now I don’t lose them anymore.

  39. Czhorat*

    For OP4, I’m a firm believer that a real offer will still there after a day or two. As others said, it’s unlikely that they found someone new within a day.

    It is better to follow up with at least a “thank you” the next day, but if they had moved ahead that quickly then it’s likely they already had someone. Second guessing yourself after not getting a job is very easy to do, but that way lies madness.

  40. mreasy*

    Joining the chorus but: OP, I worked in the music industry for 15 years. If you stay in entertainment and excel, you will undoubtedly accrue your own, honestly-acquired coterie of celebrity or one-step-away professional connections. The way to ensure this will NOT happen is to be the kind of person who is clearly striving toward that as an end, rather than doing a great job. I have had numerous interns with this attitude (despite trying to hire those without it), and I couldn’t give them good references for future positions, knowing their real motivations and unwillingness to work to establish themselves. The connections you long for will come in time, but you are far too junior to expect them now.

  41. HS Teacher*

    OP2 could use a cheap smart watch synced to her work phone. I have a Martian watch that cost me $35 on Amazon. It vibrates any time I’m more than a few feet from my cell phone. You don’t have to turn the other notifications on if you don’t want to. The charge lasts about a week for me.

    I like it better than the Samsung watch I paid over $300 for.

  42. Jilly*

    OP3 – Ask for it! I did that a few years ago. I was working on a government contract where the client agency had to approve all rates so I knew they couldn’t give me a raise beyond the annual 5% built into the contract (I managed most of the contract compliance and had been dealing directly with the client when trying to get raises for other staff – operative work trying). So I talked to my boss (the project lead) about a new title to show progression over the years I had been working on the project. He was amenable and talked to his technical counterpart who was also basically on board. However my particular position was considered “key” in the contract so the client had to sign off on the change from their contracts office, not just the technical side. And since it wasn’t mission critical it took awhile. But still, I got to rewrite my job description and got a title bump (from X Manager to Director of X, Y, and Z which more accurately reflected what I had been doing since basically day 1).

    1. Specialk9*

      Yeah, companies are often amenable to free ways of motivating good performers. FREE is a win in their eyes.

  43. Properlike*

    OP#1 – Former entertainment industry writer here. You’re young, you’re new, and the one thing you can and should do right now is to work your butt off, with happiness and gratitude, at any menial job you’re given. Work on your writing on the side, find a writers’ group. Network to establish relationships and to help other people, not yourself. Over time (and it takes time) the people in charge of hiring — most of them not celebrities — will look around for that one person who is trustworthy and always gets the bagels without complaint. They will ask, “What do you want to do?” And then they will help you do it, which is why your specs need to be On Point and numerous. Attitude is everything, but relationships are More Everything and getting the reputation as a (sorry) Star****er or opportunist will mean you’re avoided not only by those in your immediate orbit, but the people they know because word will spread. Appreciate Tess and go out of your way to make your life easier, but put all the rest of it out of your mind and focus on the work.

    1. Zinnia*

      This. I was thinking an appropriate thing to be asking Tess would be something along the lines of, “I saw the photo of so and so on your timeline, and my dream job would be working as a writer for someone like them. Do you have any advice on what I should do over the next few years to best position myself for that sort of job?”

      IE, ask Tess for career advice, not celebrity advice. And then work hard and follow that advice. That is much more likely to get you an introduction to someone who can help you achieve your goals. (Which, as others said, is unlikely to be a celebrity.)

      1. Shiara*

        I feel like even this is too much. It’s explicitly linking the OP’s desire for Tess’s career advice with her celebrity connections which still comes across as fishing, rather than being interested in Tess’s career advice because of Tess. Also, given the industry, Tess probably already knows that that is OP’s dream job.

    2. ArtK*

      I was looking for a good comment to support and of all the good ones, I like yours the best.

      First, I hope OP#1 is in entertainment because she likes the work, not because she wants to get close to the rich-and-famous. There’s a tinge of star-struck in the letter that concerns me — others have raised that point. OP, you only think you have a lot in common with the celebrities and writers.

      The best advice is to work hard and develop a solid reputation as someone reliable and discreet. If you succeed at that, you will meet celebrities. This is really true of any industry and should be tattooed on the forehead of every 22yo just starting out so that they see it in the mirror every morning. A bad rep can follow you around and ruin any chances of success; this is especially true of entertainment where wannabes are a dime a dozen.

      A bit of cold water: Assuming you do meet some celebrities and interact with them on a professional or personal basis (as in, not as a fan), you’re going to discover something: They’re human. Some are nice and some are… not. One difference between us and them is that they have the money, power and influence to indulge their personalities. The nasty ones will use you just like you want to use Tess — for whatever they can get — and won’t care at all.

      Something else to bear in mind: While some celebrities want to be worshiped by everyone around them, the vast majority want to be treated like normal people when they’re off stage. Treating them respectfully and professionally is a must in building that good reputation. If you go fan girl on them, you’re toast. Although I don’t work in the industry, through a set of curious chances, I’ve had the opportunity to see the human side of a number of celebrities. My ex taught at, and my sons attended, a school with a number of famous parents, so I got to see them in that light — parents concerned about their child’s education. It was eye-opening.

  44. Trillion*

    Op#2 I worked emergency utility repairs frequently and shared a vehicle with another supervisor. We had a lot of equipment needed in the field and I found the best way to organize this was by using cheap milk crates. The hard plastic kind I think I picked them up for 5 bucks or so. I used cardboard to organize different compartments and each item has a specific place. Our personal safety equipment and extra jackets went into duffle bags. Because this was in an SUV we covered it with a tarp a similar color to the gray lining of the vehicle so at first glance no one could tell it wasn’t empty. The tarp was also useful if we had to transport things temporarily. Just toss it on top and don’t have to rearrange everything in the back. I use this in my personal vehicle, a standard sedan, so that anything I frequently need is always in the same spot. Hope this helps.

  45. Murphy*

    #4, I’m actually confused about what “Think it through and email me with your thoughts” means in the context of a job interview. OP doesn’t say that there was a verbal offer or even that they were told they were the top candidate. I could understand “Feel free to email me any follow up questions”, but this seems like kid of a weird thing to say.

    1. Kathleen*

      Yes, I also would have simply taken this as a slightly weird and awkward way of saying, “Let me know if you have any questions.” I very strongly doubt that the OP did anything wrong, but even if she did, I think it’s far more likely that the problem was is with the interviewer rather than the OP.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I mentioned this above, but I seen some interviewers do this. It’s basically “think over everything we’ve discussed and then email me your thoughts about your level of interest and how you’d approach the job.” I think people who ask it are looking for confirmation that the person is really interested, but I’m not sure if there’s some other thinking behind it.

      1. JulieBulie*

        I thought it might mean that the interviewer was looking for some follow-up on a specific topic they’d discussed but not resolved, such as an unanswered question, something that required additional research (like, exactly how many attendees at this event you organized, what was the budget, what was the profit – something that wasn’t originally expected to be important enough for the resume, but came up during the interview).

  46. Kms1025*

    #1 – Do. Not. Do. It. It comes across as not genuine, because it isn’t genuine. This isn’t the same as networking, you want to use her for who she knows, not who she is…and she will sense it.

    1. Captain Obvious*

      “It comes across as not genuine, because it isn’t genuine”

      We’re discussing professional relationships, not folk art. I agree with much of what has been written above: that OP should be networking with agents and writers, not A-list celebrities; that OP should be in entertainment because she likes entertainment; that there are tactful ways of approaching the situation; and that you should always be willing to reciprocate.

      But none of this is to say that relationships can never be transactional. Joe Nye, a political scientist at Harvard, wrote a book not long ago in which he argued “transactional” presidents are far more effective than “transformational” ones.

      1. Specialk9*

        I mean, yeah of course, the rule of President is uniquely low power and checked/balanced, so they have to be able to wheel and deal to get anything done. But most jobs aren’t so uniquely set up to prevent power over-reach.

        But if it’s a transaction, then OP needs to figure out what they’re bringing to the table that benefits the co-worker. Right now it’s envy, wanting to be friends with celebrities, and wanting a job – all benefits to the OP and none at all to the co-worker.

  47. Alli525*

    OP#1 – I have a friend-of-a-friend who is part of a very rich and famous family in NYC. She has spent her entire life questioning whether her friends are only friends with her because of her connections and wealth, and in fact has made every effort possible to hide her family ties in her professional life (she’s an actress) for fear that she’ll only get roles due to nepotism.

    Trust me – don’t ask your coworker. She probably hears it all the time, and this will damage your relationship… PLUS you run the additional risk, depending on what kind of person she is, that she’ll badmouth you to her famous friends (“ugh this girl I work with is just trying to be friends so she can meet you, it’s so obvious”) and that could damage your ability to network in a particularly cutthroat industry.

  48. CM*

    OP#1: Be awesome at your job! If Tess enjoys working with you and sees you as somebody who’s on her side and helpful to her, she’s more likely to be willing to do you favors in the future.
    OP#2: I agree with the suggestions for trunk organizers (not just for trunks, can go in your back seat!) and having a designated place where you always stow your tech equipment when you’re not using it.
    OP#3: Maybe a director/VP/”senior” level title? Some places are possessive about titles, but there’s a decent chance your boss would see this as an easy ask, as opposed to a salary increase.
    OP#4: You might have screwed it up by not responding right away, and I think ideally you would have responded a little sooner, but I don’t think there’s a big “lesson learned” here. What you did was reasonable and the way they reacted was unexpected.

  49. Adlib*

    #3 – I just recently (last month) asked for a title change as well to better reflect what I do and give me a bit more seniority with those who haven’t worked with or met me yet. My boss just told me to pick what I wanted after I gave him some suggestions, and he would make sure it got changed in our systems and with HR. I just let him know up front I wasn’t expecting a promotion or extra salary (above a COL increase this year, hopefully). Go for it, and I hope you get the title you want!

  50. bohtie*

    Yo #1, I work with famous people on the regular through some volunteer work I do in the entertainment industry and tbh celebrities and employees alike can ABSOLUTELY tell when someone is only it in to be a fanboy/fangirl/fanperson. So can the people whose connections you’re using. You can do it, but you likely won’t be invited back, and you won’t be taken seriously afterwards — you’ll be perceived as someone who only works in the industry as a means to meeting famous people, and that will hold you back professionally SO MUCH. Plus you’ll annoy everyone you work with. Just don’t do it. And when you do meet a famous person, please treat them like you would any other client.

  51. Louise*

    OP #1, I’m gunna offer some bold advice: unfollow your coworker and her celeb friends on social media. It sounds like you’re dealing with some intense jealousy and fomo, which is causing you to want to make these pretty inappropriate asks. If looking at her pictures gives you a pit in your stomach (trust me, I know the feeling), just stop looking! Remove the temptation, and start seeing your coworker as a human being. I know it’s important to stay aware of what’s going on in the entertainment industry, but there are much more effective ways of doing that than through Instagram.

    1. nonegiven*

      There are a lot of entertainment writers on social media, follow them, just to get to see what they deal with and don’t post to them or otherwise make yourself a pest. Take writing workshops, classes, seminars when you can fit them in around your job, and write. Write a lot. They got where they are because they are the type of people who can’t bring themselves to not write.

  52. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #4

    I think OP should have responded sooner if she was excited about this job, but the hiring manager could have said in her email that they would be moving on is no response is received in X amount of time. I think both sides could have done better in this case.

    1. nonegiven*

      Sounds like they were carrying on with filling the role until someone else formally accepted an offer. It’s like looking for a job, you don’t stop applying or interviewing, and wait around for an offer, until you have a job.

  53. Hmmmmm*

    LW#1: I went back and re-read just to verify that you are very young. My first tip is that you watch the film Ingrid Goes West. Its a dark comedy about a girl who becomes obsessed with making friends with a girl with a glam Instagram. I think it would be good for you because a) you don’t want to be an Ingrid b) it might enlighten you that Tess might be an Ingrid. The first rule of being friends with famous people is never telling people you are friends with famous people. If she’s an Insta-pal or is frequently photographed with celebs, she might just be a superfan or have a second job as a hostess for a party company. You don’t want to fall in that well of crazy. Just try to focus on yourself and developing your own network naturally.

  54. Dust Bunny*

    1) Isn’t there a German megaword for when you’re embarrassed on somebody else’s behalf? Fremdschamen? Because I’m mortified just reading that. Meeting a celebrity whose work actually interests me is one of my nightmares because what on Earth would I say that wouldn’t ruin the whole situation?? I know somebody who met Lyle Lovett somewhere random one time and pretended she didn’t recognize him because she didn’t want to make things awkward . . . because it’s in no way implausible that you wouldn’t recognize Lyle Lovett, right? (We’re in Houston. He’s from here.)

    2) I can’t tell if this is a regular problem or just seems like it because it’s the reason you decided to write AAM, but . . . you need a better system. Granted, I don’t travel for work, but I also don’t lose equipment. OK, maybe the occasional pencil or whatever, but nothing significant. And I’m not an especially organized person, but costly equipment that I need for my job–I will sleep with it and roll it into the bathroom with me if I have to. My employers are pretty forgiving but there are only so many times they’d let me misplace stuff before I’d be in a lot of trouble for not being more careful. Sometimes, I’m just a bit clumsy, isn’t really an acceptable answer.

    1. Red 5*

      If it makes you feel any more calm about potentially meeting a celebrity you admire, I’ve met a lot of people that I really respect and admire and even one guy I had a crush on as a kid because he was in one of my favorite movies. The key is just to remember that they are people, and people do like when other people genuinely appreciate their work and their effort.

      Whenever I’ve been on set with somebody I admired, I would do my job and make sure that things went smoothly, but there’s almost always a lull at some point in the day where you’re mostly sitting around staring at the lighting guys trying to get something perfect and making small talk. So you small talk like you would with anybody else you barely know, and usually there will be a point where you can just say “you know, I really loved *particular album or song,* it was beautifully written and really moving…” or something like that.

      You like being told when you’ve done a good job at work, I imagine. So just think about how/when you like being complimented.

      But while I’m at it, never approach a celebrity while they’re at dinner or eating. If you see somebody famous at the next table, just kick your friend under the table and gesture and go back to your entree. But if it’s a situation where you just end up talking to them, just talk, it’ll probably be okay : )

  55. Tuxedo Cat*

    For letter writer #2, I have found that taking a few seconds to be really deliberate has been helpful to ensure I have everything. There are a lot of parts of my life where I fly through activities, like locking my front door, and I’m left wondering if I did said thing/have said thing. Taking the time and care to really think about this has been useful for my fears that I didn’t do something.

  56. Long time reader, first time commenter*

    OP #1, please don’t be that person. I currently work building luxury homes in a very wealthy part of Florida, so a lot of my clients are celebrities. I hate when people ask me to come along to something involving a celebrity. It’s embarrassing, and quite frankly, it has caused me to change my view on a lot of people. Seeing as how you seem to have little to no interest in Tess herself, other than to piggy back into a celebrity circle, its distasteful. I am also certain that Tess would be able to sniff you out immediately, it becomes quite easy after a while. Finally, I know you framed it as using her connections to advance your career (which is bad enough in itself), but it certainly does not come off that way. It comes of as though you want to enter this social circle to show off your new celebrity friends on social media.

  57. Former Ops Manager*

    OP #2
    I’ve noticed a lot of people are suggesting tile. You may also want to check out the orbit card (it was on Oprah’s list of favorite things this year: It is similar to tile but thinner.
    If you do consider something like that, it really does need to be part of a system to keep you organized. A bunch of great suggestions have been made already. I’m a disorganized person and that means I need to work extra to keep myself and my things organized. I travel a lot and haven’t lost anything while travelling because I ALWAYS make sure everything is in it’s place before packing up. This sounds like the perfect opportunity for developing a new skill for you!

  58. Elbe*

    #1 – Befriending someone as a means to an end is a horrible thing to do and, for Tess’s sake, you shouldn’t do it. These people aren’t her business contacts, they’re her friends. Trying to connect professionally with these celebrities would make Tess look bad and could affect her real-life relationships, which is awful.

    And, for your own sake, realize that this plan has very little chance of success. These celebrities have access to a more established professional network and are used to working with the best people. The odds are slim that they would want to work with some 22-year-old with no experience just because they have a friend in common.

    1. Green*

      If they’re in the entertainment industry, these people are likely both her business contacts AND her friends. If people want to introduce you AND an opportunity arises, they will. If they don’t (or the particular celeb doesn’t seem receptive to it), they won’t, and you need to be OK with that.

  59. Matilda Jefferies*

    OP2, I’m also going to make one more really obvious suggestion. Please buy a new briefcase! Or have the lining fixed in your current one, so nothing can slip in there and get lost.

    There are lots of really excellent suggestions in this thread, but of course they all require some mental, physical, and financial effort to implement. Change is hard, and it takes time. But there is one thing you can do right now, that doesn’t involve a huge change in your life or habits, and that is to get yourself a proper briefcase. It won’t solve the problem on its own, but it’s one small step towards owning the problem, and doing what you need to fix it.

  60. Industry person*

    I am entertainment industry-adjacent and I know and work with a few very high-profile people. One thing to note is that my relationships with these people depend on my being VERY protective of their time and energy. One of my clients in particular is really popular with a lot of people I know, and I sometimes have people ask if they can meet this person, and I always demur and say no.

    Celebrities are in this weird space where people feel like they know the person, and it’s very one-sided. They are, by necessity, hyper-aware of when people want things from them and when people are treating them like ‘Celeb X’ rather than like a person.

    So, #1: you can totally make friends with your new coworker and start hanging out with her, and meeting these people may follow organically from that. That’s how good relationships are formed. But don’t befriend her to get to them; that’s both gross and unlikely to work, because if she gets even a whiff of untrustworthiness from you, she won’t ever introduce you to her celeb friends, most likely – and she probably won’t continue the friendship either.

  61. Temperance*

    LW1: I am not a friend to famous people, but I have a job that is weirdly coveted in some circles. I actually once had a man give me his business card, which had a really stupid catchphrase/brand on it, and tell me to call him if I ever get laid off or leave my job, because he wants it.

    I more or less have told a whole bunch of my friends and contacts about the weirdo (he was weird in other ways, trust), so needless to say, he won’t have my job, ever.

    1. Red 5*

      Yes, these kind of things backfire so fast. And in a competitive industry the last thing you want is to be remembered for something negative.

    2. Allison*

      Ick! Who does that? Who straight-up tells someone they want dibs on their job when it’s up for grabs?

      1. Green*

        I jokingly send my resume to one of my best friends every time he posts for an intern. :) That’s about as close as I’ve gotten to that!

  62. Red 5*

    #1-I also have worked (and sometimes still do work) in the entertainment industry and this is not the way to go about doing this.

    Tess will absolutely see this for what it is, and it comes across very poorly and will backfire on you. I remember an early set I was working on, there was one PA who basically would latch onto any celebrity they could find at any random moment and ask these really weirdly intrusive and also kind of basic questions that just came across so needy and like they was just there to advance their own agenda rather than actually work on the project we were there to work on.

    The celebrities didn’t like it, you could see it on their faces even though they would politely (and quickly) answer. But after the other PA left they would talk about them and say how weird and annoying it was, and how pushy.

    In the entertainment industry, a lot of people are doing a lot of things that are really just to promote themselves and get ahead in their own career. You develop a sixth sense for it, and it makes you doubt a lot of your relationships and how genuine they are in the first place. And if you make it so transparent and you aren’t providing anything in return for those kinds of intrusive asks (you don’t say that you can introduce Tess to anybody or do anything to help her out) then you will quickly get labeled and Tess will avoid you rather than help you.

    Be a person first and foremost, and be as good at what you do as you can be. That’s the best way to prove yourself and move ahead, do a really, really good job at whatever it is you’re working on. People notice that, and they will remember it, and that will help you start to get further.

    Also, don’t focus on the celebrities and big names at the detriment of everybody else. I know at least four stories of people getting jobs because they were recommended by the craft services people. It happened to me once actually, and I’ve gotten jobs other PAs, sound people, etc.

    Actors and celebrities are often nice, and you should always be kind and respectful to them too. But they’re also just people who are at work when they are on set (and usually when they are out in public) and it’ll do you a lot of good to start viewing them way. They remember and respect people more if you’re less a starstruck fan and more a good co-worker who sees them as a human, in my experience.

  63. Sue Wilson*

    #1: Two stories:
    My aunt used to have contacts with a pretty big recording company. Did I get free CDs? Yes. Did my mom ever say, “keep us in mind if you get something you don’t want”? Yes. Did we ever ask for anything specific? No. And that was family.

    My mom wants to become a sports agent. She knows coaches and basketball/football stars because she went to school with them. I’ve had fancy 7 course dinners with a couple of them and gotten birthday presents from them. My mom can call them up and they will answer. I’ve gone to school with their children and been at their birthday parties. She recently filled out the application to be a NBA agent, and needed personal recommendations. I asked if she put any of her NBA friends on there. Her answer: “No that would be weird.” You’re not even as that degree of separation, OP and the people you want to meet don’t even have that type of relevant to your stated goals. Let it go.

  64. phil*

    I was in the entertainment business for 40 tears and if you want to get on a writing staff-WRITE! First, the celebrity probably has little to do with hiring the staff, that’s the producer’s job. Second, you will be tagged as a pest and you chances of getting a job fall to zero.

  65. Granny K*

    Sorry to pitch a product in this forum (and note that I don’t work for this company) but have you looked into the Tile product? If you had one for one or more pieces of equipment that you could track on your phone, it might give you more of a sense of where things are and help organize you a bit better. Alternatively, you could keep a check list with you of all the pieces you need to carry and check them in and out of your car, your hotel, etc. I think if you were more systematic with tracking, after a while it will seem easier and help you stay organized.

  66. Bored IT Guy*

    #2 – As many folks have already mentioned – have a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.

    I always keep my wallet and keys in my front left pants pocket, work ID badge clips onto the belt loop directly above that, personal phone in my front right pants pocket, and work phone gets clipped onto the belt directly above that. Before I leave the house, I physically pat each of these locations to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

    Also, verbal reminders to yourself may be useful. As I’m pulling out of my garage, I say out loud to myself “I have closed the garage door” … If I don’t do that, then I spend the entire drive wondering if I really did it.

  67. Tim*

    #4 – “Think it through and email me with your thoughts.”

    Could your reader possibly have omitted some details about the interview? Perhaps the hiring manager had shared some details about a current project and wanted to know how your reader would approach that certain situation.

  68. anonagain*

    Letter #2: This isn’t possible or practical for everyone, but in this situation, I personally would probably hire someone to help me get organized. I would also work with my ADHD coach on making sure that I was sticking with it. I’m pretty sure that there other types of coaches (i.e. not ADHD coaches) who would help with this. There are probably even professional organizers who do coaching.

    Having a workable system is important, but for some of us it can be hard to figure out how to do that. For something this important, I would consider it a good investment to get someone to help me with that step.

    That might not work for everyone and every situation. Depending on the nature of your work, there may also be concerns about someone else being in your workspace. If it isn’t possible, there are definitely other resources.

    My suggestion for anyone setting up an organization system on their own is to look at what systems you have in your life that do work. Try to figure out what it is about that system that makes it work and try to copy it here. For example, my best systems are the ones that are clear and very easy. If I have to open a door or box, things don’t go back where they belong. Some people like color-coding, labels, perfectly sized bins. Whatever it is, I think it’s so much easier when you aren’t fighting your system.

  69. JD*

    LW2: I understand that losing a phone is not ideal but “it is serious and cannot happen” is excessive. People lose things and phones are small and easy to lose. People lose phones ALLL the time. I have found four in my life thus far and only 1 owner ever claimed it. Short of losing things constantly it is not going to be a huge deal by any stretch. However as others have said, find my phone app rings the phone and tells you where it is so it is pretty simple these days. I got my boss a Tile for his keys which is amazing, also I was just tired of helping him find his keys every day.

  70. PredNation*

    OP#1 – Don’t ask. I have many celebrity friends so I can tell you it’s super obvious when people use me to try and get to them. And it’s incredibly annoying and makes me think less of them.

  71. JD*

    LW1: My SO was in the NFL and therefore still knows a lot of people and can get tickets easily and invited to events. Seeing the friends call him once every now and then just ticket searching or to meet someone at an event they suspect he may go to is so sad. He truly feels these “friends” are trying to reconnect and then he rarely even hears a thank you. It will get you no where to use people for what they have to offer in this sense. Also, let’s not forget, people have feelings. At least she finds you annoying and fake for not really wanting to befriend her but wanting to use her. At worst, she, ya know, has human emotions and is hurt.

  72. drpuma*

    LW1, IF (not when!) you ever ask Tess about her famous friends, the question should be:
    “Hey! I’ve noticed you’re friends with some well-known people. How did you meet them?”
    Try to learn from her and put in the work on your own rather than expecting her to give you a boost up. Learning from her will likely help you to succeed in your industry regardless of whether or not you also make famous friends (or “friends”, who knows).

  73. Karen*

    I was the one who submitted question #4 – thanks Alison for taking the time to answer and publish, and I appreciate everyone else’s insight as well. When I received the hiring manager’s email saying they were moving forward with someone else, I simply treated it as the way I did with other rejections – just a polite “Thank you for your time” email. Really no use in dwelling on it now but I will definitely be more mindful about following up soon after an interview, even if that’s not necessarily the reason for the rejection.

  74. Noah*

    I know people in Hollywood (oooh, I’m fancy!!!) and what #1 wants to do is Really Normal Behavior there. She should go for it.

  75. The Rat-Catcher*

    OP #2:

    I sympathize with you. I really, really do. I have been this person for most of my life. And just when I was starting to implement some systems (the Tupperware thing in your car mentioned above is an absolute lifesaver), along came kids and the systems went to HE double hockey sticks. “Everything in its place” works fine until the second you get in the door at home, both kids are having meltdowns and you can’t very well tell them to wait while you put 27 items in their designated spaces.
    For that, I recommend a catch-all option literally everywhere. In my bedroom, it’s a green bucket, for when I get undressed and find cards in my pockets. In my car, it’s the Tupperware thing. It’s a certain pocket in my purse, a certain pocket in the diaper bag, on my desk, it’s right in front of my computer where I can’t miss it…you get the idea. It was kind of a game for me, waiting for a new situation and thinking “what’s my catch-all here?”
    I have lost things in the linings of purses and briefcases enough times to know to check there, but it’s terrifying the first time.
    People like my husband and daughter have a natural memory of where they laid a thing. I have mental strengths, but that isn’t one of them and only when I find the thing will I trigger the “how it got there” memory.
    All that said, Jessa is right – it’s our job to mitigate our quirks to the point that we can function as adults. But there are a lot of assumptions made about disorganized people, even right here in this set of comments, that are undeserved. It’s not necessarily a symptom of laziness, a disorganized mind, sloppy work, or whatever. For me, it’s just something that I have to work a little harder to combat than most people. Plus, a real-life experience to answer “what is one of your weaknesses?” with a built-in solution that doesn’t sound contrived because I lived it.

  76. nnn*

    OP#1: If you do decide to try to access celebrities via Tess despite everyone’s cautions, it would probably be more effective to demonstrate to Tess (and anyone else you encounter with a good network) what you have in common with the celebrities and how you would be a valuable member of their writing staff long before you even think about trying to inveigle your way into celebrity introductions. The more you can make your value in these areas apparent to people you interact with in the natural course of your job, the greater likelihood of someone else taking the initiative of making an introduction, which would have far greater credibility and be far more welcome.

  77. nnn*

    For #2, it is feasible to get one single large bag (maybe a nice-looking tote bag) that you carry all your work equipment in all the time? If you can get in the habit of only ever putting your work stuff in this one bag, you won’t have to remember that the phone is in your jacket pocket and the tablet is in your briefcase, etc.

  78. BCHgal*

    #1 – OldJob (int’l accounting firm) had many well-known musical celebrities as clients.
    We were under strict rules to only politely smile if they made eye contact when they passed by unless they spoke to us directly. I have been lucky enough to have shaken the hands of, and spoken briefly with, some celebs that are out-of-this-world famous.
    The reason for the rule? Someone who had convinced her temp agency to place her with us specifically (tax season) decided it would be fine to send her demo tapes to a few BigNames. She got their private home addresses from their files. Those BigNames were livid. I’m sure it was difficult to get that all settled down and we were instructed not to have direct eye contact with one particularly upset gentleman. He was pretty unplugged anyway ;)
    This seems to illustrate what you are hoping to do, in a way. You want to use a co-worker to get close and our temp used our business.
    I doubt it will work out well.

  79. Rosa*

    Oh geez.

    Imma screenwriter. I know a LOT of celebs. I guarantee scheming to try to befriend a celeb you have a crush on (or friendship crush) cannot possibly end well.

    Apart from the creepiness of the fact you see no problem in blatantly using someone, celeb obsession is not healthy. Celebs are just normal people no different from anyone else, and 99% of the time they are nothing like their personas. I know it’s easy to think you truly know someone from interviews and to develop a fantasy that if you just met you’d be best friends, but it is just fantasy. I’ve ended up friends with a few celebs but only ones I either didn’t really know much about prior to meeting, or ones where they were so different from their public persona it was like meeting someone I didn’t know anything about. The few times I’ve gotten close to someone I was a fan of and had fantasised about, it ended disastrously.

    And writing is a highly skilled and experienced job. You mention you feel you’d be an asset in the writers’ room. I assume by that you have already completed multiple screenplays (each involving a good fix or six different drafts)? That really is the bare minimum you need. The only way to become a writer is to write. You have zero chance of landing any writing job unless you have a good portfolio of writing work. I don’t mean to be harsh but a lot of people want to be writers because they think it sounds fun without the slightest interest in the graft of actually writing. If you haven’t completed multiple drafts of at least one screenplay, you have no business trying to be a writer and it’s offensive to real writers that you’re trying to get hired because you want to schmooze celebs. Most successful screenwriters don’t have much contact with celebs anyway. If you have completed multiple drafts of screenplays then you should be focusing on sending those screenplays out. If you have any talent you’ll get noticed through your work. No newbie writer ever got a job through meeting a celeb in a bar!

  80. WTF*

    #2 as a not so organized person in general myself, as well as one who travels my best advice is get a bag (or however many you need) and assign everything a place. And every time you change locations EVERYTHING must be in that place before moving – no exceptions! Phone always goes in the outside pocket of my purse. Passport goes in inside zippered pocket. Again no exceptions. I don’t care if you’re in a hurry take the 2 minutes to check. The one time you put the passport in a pocket going through security telling yourself you’ll put it away afterwards you will forget and you WILL lose it (just ask my husband).

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