100 Jobs In One Year: Dave Herman Explains How To Get Hired
A year ago, Dave Herman was just another one of the thousands of struggling actors in New York City, picking up odd jobs to make ends meet. Today, he's a master of productivity, a philosopher of motivation, a self-appointed self-help guru, and full-time brand ambassador (pictured above in one of his comedy videos). What happened in 2012? Herman had 100 jobs.
Millions of Americans would be thankful to find just one job right now, and Herman now knows how it's done. To complete his project -- 100 jobs in one year -- Herman was a night receptionist, an electrician, a script reader, a bartender, a newspaper boy, a dog walker, and a professional laugher. He also handed out a lot of fliers. With the help of a couple of temp agencies, the website TaskRabbit (where people advertise odd jobs), and friends, Herman completed the challenge, 20 minutes before midnight, as a correspondent on "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly."
1. Temping isn't always temporary. A lot of Herman's work came through temp agencies, which was perfect for his assignment. The gigs would last just a day or two or three, and then he'd move on to the next one. But sometimes those companies would keep hiring him back for different assignments. (For Herman's purposes, they had to be different, or it would violate his self-imposed rule.) And through networking on those jobs he found more jobs. Herman even had to quit one, because it became so full-time that he didn't have the time to do other random jobs.
2. Expand your options. For Herman's first job as a street musician, he stood on the cold January streets of Midtown Manhattan and played the saxophone -- an instrument that he'd been learning for approximately eight months. "I know a lot of people were judging me, critiquing me, and that's scary," he said. But people stood and listened, they smiled, they waved, and they gave him a few coins.
"The best way to overcome fear," he realized, "is to keep doing the things you're afraid of."
3. Sometimes you have to take a hit at the beginning. With just a hodgepodge of tasks and errands, Herman at first went into debt. After months of networking though, Herman was finally able to sustain himself.
4. It's all about networking. Herman had one receptionist gig, and a co-worker there turned him on to another receptionist gig. At that receptionist gig, somebody called up, liked the sound of his voice, and hired him for another receptionist gig. That kind of opportunity-begat-opportunity happened a lot over the course of the year.
"I'd much rather it worked that way," says Herman. "Rather then saying "I can do it! I can do it! Hey look at me, I can do it!"
"The New York spirit has taken me over," he says. "The New York spirit is: If you're not working on something big, you're worth nothing."
6. Set goals, with numbers and deadlines. Herman believes that he was able to accomplish his goal because it had a number (100) and a deadline (Jan. 1, 2013). This year, he has several goals, with similarly defined parameters: to work out three times a week; memorize the Gospel of John; come out with one YouTube sketch video a week; and complete the 10,000 Kevins Project.
The 10,000 Kevins Project (which debuted March 1) is Herman's scheme to get 10,000 people named Kevin to sign an online petition to get Kevin Bacon to take him out for dinner. And also raise $1 million for Kevin Bacon's charity. You know, no big deal.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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