I realize it's somewhat odd that someone who works at an agency would be writing to your publication, but my rant involves actors, so maybe it's appropriate nonetheless. I work at one of the big five agencies, and have a gripe that I'd like to share with any actor who might read this.
I am more than where I work and what I can do for you. When I meet you either through friends or at a party or wherever it may be, and you ask me what I do and I tell you, please do not take it upon yourself to playfully drop that you love my agency and you're looking for representation. It's embarrassing, it makes me feel uncomfortable, and it tells me that you're interested only in my profession, not in me as a human being. If I'm interested in you, I will tell you. If I take the time to go to one of your showcases, please do not run up to me afterwards and ask me what I thought of your performance. If I'm interested, I will tell you.
If I tell you that I work at an agency, please do not assume that I'm the scummy-agent type that you've come to know through films and television performances, because that's fiction and I live in the real world. While I'm not saying that there aren't scummy types out there, I happen to work at a company that is extremely corporate in culture. It's all business as far as we're concerned. If there are extracurricular activities going on, I certainly haven't seen them, so please do not judge me by my job title or place of employment.
Please do not ask me for favors and preface [your request] with the comment, "This'll only take you a minute." As it is, I work a minimum of 12 hours a day—and usually more like 14 or 15. And then I also work half-days on Saturdays and Sundays, so I really don't have much of a life outside of work to begin with. What seems like a simple request to you is a huge imposition to me.
If we happen to meet each other, it might interest you to know that I'm funny, well-educated, and well-traveled, and I have many things to discuss with you other than what projects happen to be casting right now. Working on projects is what I do for, well, work. When I'm on personal time, I like to discuss other things, as well. I realize that you've chosen a career path that is a very difficult one. But that was your choice to make, not mine. I, too, work incredibly hard in the hope that my career will advance someday. It is not my responsibility, however, to make your life easier. That's your responsibility, and no one else can do it for you. Maybe instead of hanging out at the Coffee Bean all day, you might want to invest in taking acting classes from a reputable institution or coach. Maybe instead of asking what projects are casting right now, you might want to do a little research on your own. If you look at all of the actors who are working right now, they all worked very hard to get where they are. No one handed anything to them (and that's true even for the ones who are related to other actors).
Assistant X from "A Big Agency"
via the Internet