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A Resume, if You Please, in Plywood

Times Staff Writer

It was passing 90 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, and Peter Golden had an awkward 20-pound sandwich board slung from his shoulders. But despite the heat and the burden, he chose to walk on the sunny side of the street.

The choice was fitting. First, because Golden is a young man of sunny disposition. And second, because at noontime Friday, the sunny side of 6th and Flower streets was the busiest corner in the city’s financial center.

And that’s what Golden wanted: to attract the attention of business people.

But unlike most people who walk the streets carrying signs and hoping to attract attention, Golden was neither protesting, picketing nor proselyting.

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Instead, like the old-fashioned sandwich-board man of yesteryear--"Eat at Joe’s” for example--Golden was trying to sell himself.

The slender, 27-year-old business economics graduate of Colorado State University was job hunting. But he didn’t want just any job. He wanted to launch a career. And he figured that self-advertising in the financial district was exactly the place to start.

Under the heavy plywood sandwich board, Golden wore a conservative gray suit with a conservative striped tie. His shoes were businessman’s wing tips.

“This is my way of introducing myself to the business world,” he said.

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It seemed to be working.

Nearly everyone who passed him at the busy corner took a few seconds to glance at Golden’s neatly stenciled sign, a do-it-yourself creation Golden put together for about $12.

A few passers-by frowned, a few snickered, but most smiled their encouragement or wished him good luck.

And once in awhile, someone stopped long enough to ask questions and listen to Golden’s soft but persuasive explanation of what he was trying to do.

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On his first day of self-advertising, Golden said, he generated enough interest to gather 18 business cards from people who said they would like to talk to him in more conventional surroundings.

On the second day, he collected 15 cards and expected to do just as well this time out.

“So far I’ve got appointments for seven interviews next week,” Golden said Friday as he began his third day with the signboard shortly before noon.

Howard Sadowsky, senior vice president of a commercial real estate firm, Julien J. Studley Inc., spotted the young job-seeker Wednesday and spent five minutes talking with him. Sadowsky is one of those who will give Golden a full-scale job interview next week.

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“He showed a lot of inventiveness, ingenuity,” Sadowsky said when asked about his initial encounter with Golden. “He wants a job, and he’s prepared to take a risk to get one. That shows spunk and creativity.

“And in conversation he had a certain polish. . . . You know, you see a guy carrying a sign on the street, you automatically think he’s a nut selling some kind of crazy philosophy, right? Some people laughed at him, but he was prepared to take that risk. . . . Now I may not hire him after we’ve had our interview, . . . but he’s stretching himself. I was impressed.”

Golden said he’s looking for a full-time training program in sales management that also will give him time enough to work toward a master’s degree in business at night. He worked at part-time jobs to put himself through Colorado State.

The ‘Ultimate Goal’

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“That is my short-term goal,” Golden said. “My ultimate goal is to get into international marketing. I’d like to deal with the Third World market. I enjoy traveling, and the potential is just phenomenal.”

Not everything went exactly right for the young job-seeker. The first day he drove to downtown from Huntington Beach--where he’s staying with a brother--he parked in the wrong place. That cost him a $28 ticket.

Then on Thursday, a couple of security guards from a large corporation suggested politely that they’d like to see him advertising himself in front of someone else’s skyscraper. Golden complied.

But there were unexpected fringe benefits too.

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“A couple of twins--really beautiful girls--stopped and talked to me a while,” Golden said with a shy, anticipatory smile. “They invited me to a party in Newport Beach, and I think I’ll go.”


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