Kuhrt.net - Marty's Los Angeles Jobs

Jobs I did in Los Angeles trying to get my degree to pay for itself.

As you can see from a quick glance, below, the degree in Computer Science didn't come into play immediately. In fact, it took me a year of sending out resumes and going on interviews to get my first job in my field.

Telemarketing

Literally fresh off the bus from Iowa, I had to find a job. I got a copy of the LA Times and started looking for whatever I thought I could qualify. While I was trying to get a job that had something to do with my degree (BS in Computer Science), I knew that getting a gig in that field would require time, resumes, and more time, so I should concentrate on jobs that don't really require advanced degrees.

Since I wasn't interested in becoming an actor, that ruled out getting a waiter or bartender job. With my radio experience I had the ability to talk endlessly about nothing, which would make for a great talk radio host, phone sex operator, or telemarketer.

I had had enough of "real" radio in Iowa. Being that LA is the number two market, you don't just walk up to a station and ask for a job like I did for most of my radio jobs, previously.

I'm not gay, so that ruled out phone sex operator. The demographics for phone sex customers is mostly guys. Go figure.

I decided to do the telemarketing thing.

Crap wages, crap hours, crap co-workers, crap working conditions, but at least it was a paycheck.

Soundman and DJ - Stage East

The telemarketing took care of the daytime hours, but what to do at night?
DJ and soundman, of course.

Nestled in the high rent section of North Hollywood lay a small bar called Stage East. Cahuenga and Magnolia being the center for all things upscale in the East Valley, this place was the hotspot for trend-setting music and entertainment.

For those of you not familiar with Los Angeles, and North Hollywood in particular, at that time North Hollywood was a hole. Nothing like the NoHo District it is now.

FM Station

The FM in FM Station stood for Filthy McNasty. He, along with his brother Wolfgang, ran a series of clubs in the LA Basin.

I was DJing between sets for about four live acts a night at this bar. It was interesting because I got to see four different bands a night, some of which became Big Name Acts. It was annoying because they didn't provide the music to play, and bringing in the right music to play leading up to a particular act would be iffy at best. I would play rock or dance or alternate music depending on the band, but it was difficult at best.

Plus, Filty and Wolfgang had different ideas of what was good. Within a five minute time span I'd hear this type of dialog from the co-owners.

Wolfgang: (who sounded like Arnold) Mah-d, you are do-ink a great chob to-nide! Look at the dancing peoples!

Filthy: Marty! You suck! The next band is Death Speed Metal and you're playing XTC? Are you retarded?

Needless to say, I didn't spend much time trying to turn that into a career.

TeleTalent

TeleTalent was a place that did voiceover production.

Voiceovers are done to fill out most the voice parts of many of the commercials you hear on radio and see on TV. For every commercial on TV where you don't see somebody speaking directly into the camera the script was probably read in a voiceover studio.

An agency will come up with some boffo script for an ad and hire some well known voice to read it for their commercial. That is where a place like TeleTalent comes in. They have a studio and a phone hookup with the agency so that their director can make comments on how they want the script read.

For a thirty second commercial there would be a one page script. The voice talent it would read it, the director would comment, and then the talent would read it again. This would go on for a hour and thirty or forty takes until they had a version, or a combination of versions, they liked.

I would then take the hour of tape and my script notes and cut together a thirty second commercial. The first sentence from take six followed by the next three words from take eighteen, etc, etc, etc. Then I'd trim down the breaths and spaces so that they could fit more into the spot and make a master copy.

Tedious stuff. It was cool when I'd get to do the Top Forty countdown shows, though. Those would actually go pretty quickly and be a lot of fun.

I didn't do that for very long because it didn't pay too well and I did get offered a job in my chosen field, finally.

They were great guys to work for, though.

Executive Software

When I started with Executive I was the tenth employee hired and they were working out of a single slot in a mini-mall on Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta. They were selling this new fangled computer software contraption called a defragmenter. It would take files on your computer disk that had been broken up into pieces when written to the disk and put them back together. That way when you went to read the file back from the disk, it would be in one big chunk and the computer wouldn't have to work so hard. Disk performance, and thusly your computers performance, could be dramatically improved.

It sold like hotcakes, and in a short time we expanded from one slot in the mini-mall to two, then three then four. The company grew to about fifty and we couldn't expand at that location any further, so it was time to move to bigger digs. We moved to a refurbished transfer and storage wearhouse behind a Burger King in beautiful downtown Montrose.

During this time I was heading up the technical support department, writing all the software used in house to track customers, licenses and support and managing the systems all the in-house people were using to call customers. I averaged sixty-five hour weeks for the better part of two years, but it didn't seem like a lot of time since it was all very exciting. Being an integral part of a company that is growing that fast is one of the best ways to work that I've experienced.

When we got to about seventy-five to eighty employees we once again moved. This time is was to two floors in an office building in downtown Glendale.

Very swank.

For three years we were rated by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America.

But like all good times it didn't last forever.

As the company grew, it started adding more and more managers. This is an expected process, since, without proper guidance, the system would quickly become chaos. Unfortunately, it was decided that only Scientologists would be hired to manage the company (previously, two of the founding four were in the top ten of the church heirarchy). That is when it started its slide into a droning hive of over regulation and mindless conformity that sucked the very life out of anyone that didn't believe in the L. Ron way.

I found it ironic that a religion that is founded on the premise that it will help you to find the joy in life would spend all its time beating down people to conform to their definition of what a good life is suppose to be. I won't get into an anti-Scientology rant here because this site and this site do it much better.

After putting in five years, the last two of which were spent mostly dodging the inquisition of the week put upon anyone foolhardy enough to not become one of them, I decided to leave.

Most people think I'm a glutton for punishment for putting up with it for that long. They are probably right.

To this day I cringe when I see a Dianetics commercial. I don't find either the Monty Python "Spanish Inquistion" sketch or the Borg from "Star Trek - The New Generation" very entertaining any more.

I wonder why?

Software Perspectives

Software Perspectives was the company that actually wrote most of the software for Executive Software. It was a split-off formed by the VP of Sales from Exec, Diane Sullivan, and the main coding guy, Rick Cadruvi. (who both probably both got tired of Exec LRH tactics, too, but I won't put words in their mouths)

I didn't really apply to work there. One day, when I was sick and tired of Exec (finally), I called Diane and asked if she knew anyone that would be interested in hiring someone like me. It didn't occur to me that Software Perspectives would want me because these guys were really good coders. I didn't really think I was, so I didn't even entertain the idea.

They did decide to hire me, though. Wow! I was going to be in the coding elite! People at DECUS events would be jealous! (except for VMS Central Engineering guys)

I'll spend some time to flesh this out in the near future.

Symark Software

Here I was product manager for about a half dozen VMS products and technical support guy for about a half dozen more. After a while I decided it was time for a change of venue, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Back where you came from.