Monday, April 27, 2009


One week after my segment on Fox News--about five weeks after I'd been laid off--I found myself on CNN's daytime program "CNN Newsroom," hosted by the wonderful Kyra Phillips.

What happened was this: I had shared my "Fox & Friends" appearance with Corinna Lamb, a producer I knew at CNN, and she thought I might work for a segment she was developing. This was to be part of a special programming initiative that would feature segments about unemployment and the recession across all the shows at CNN for an entire week. The idea was to have me appear as someone recently laid off, and pair me up with an expert, yet to be determined, who would give me advice.

I'd managed to not fall off my stool during the Fox interview, and hadn't fainted or vomited on Brian Kilmeade, so I figured I was a shoo-in. Corinna is the cautious type, however, and wanted to talk it out a bit before committing. Thanks to her probing questions, we came up with three good topics that are genuine concerns for most people looking for a job: Effective networking; getting comfortable with promoting yourself; and using sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to find employment opportunities.

In the end I was paired up with bestselling author David Bach, whose new book is Fight For Your Money. When I met David in the green room just prior to the segment, he asked if I had a business card. I said no, and offered him a résumé instead. "You don't have a business card?" he said. Uh-oh, I thought, because his tone made it sound like I'd just confessed ignorance of the Pledge of Allegiance. Sure enough, David took me to task on that point during the interview, as you'll see if you watch the clip. I tell people that David overlooks the strategic advantage of having to give him a full résumé because, oops, I don't have a business card. I try to make them believe this was a tactic I thought of ahead of time. Nobody buys it.

I was put in a tiny studio by myself--just me, a desk, and an automated camera staring me in the face. Behind me a window looked out on Columbus Circle, but at the last minute they rolled in a fake cityscape backdrop because it was too cloudy outside. David Bach was in the same building but in another studio.

Kyra Phillips points out something in her introduction that I'd forgotten: The day before I was laid off, I'd booked an author on that very same show. The author in question is Dave Kansas, and here's a curious coincidence: About an hour before my appearance, as I was killing time at the Border's store in Time Warner Center, I overheard someone ask for Dave's book by name. There was no mistaking it because the title is irresistible: The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It.

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