The June 2010 job test

Bill Regardie Founder, Regardie's Magazine
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Just when it looked like the economy was finally getting better, last Friday’s jobs report was a real bummer. The expected gain in employment never showed. Simply put, most companies weren’t anxious to add jobs; it was just smarter to add overtime—less hassle. The problem was their overconfidence in the employers and little so for those looking for work.

Consider what happen to my young friend, Benny Forturnato.

Benny was downsized about a year ago from one of our town’s TV network affiliates, where he was director of marketing. He was 28, a graduate from a good school who climbed the right hills, joined the right charities and clawed his way up to $150,000 a year. Benny was smart, tough and polished, but when the economic crash came and a change of management, Benny tumbled down.

For a year, there was not even a close call. Then, he got a call back from DMZ, INC., the red-hot talent management shop.

“Sit down, Benny, sit down,” said the CEO. “I have to tell you, you did a helluva job at Channel 7 in just three years. Helluva job!

“And I think you would be a great marketing VP here at DMZ.”

Benny couldn’t believe it, his great personal nightmare was over.

Then, came the kicker.

“Benny, the job pays $120,000. Period. No bonus. No review.”

Benny played it like he was at the final table of World Series of Poker in Vegas.

Not a tell. Not a twitch. Shit, I can play games or accept this is as a big-time promotion at a red-hot shop.

He reached out his hand to accept the deal.

“There’s something else, said the CEO. As you may know, we run a very tight ship at DMZ. There are no health benefits and no paid parking.”

Fortunately, Ben was healthy and lived in a small rental with parking three blocks way. Still, he countered. He read the Wall Street Journal and knew the new rules of jungle.

“Fine,” he said, “But I’m starting my Ph.D. at Georgetown so you can at least pay my part-time tuition.”

“We’ll give you one course on line at the University of Phoenix.”

DMZ was tough.

“And, I forgot: There’s no expense account. No reimbursements unless they’re approved in advance.”

The CEO stared at him. Waiting like a cobra. But there was really no choice. This was June 2010.

“I can’t wait to start.”

“There’s one more thing. It’ll make DMZ even hotter and really test your metal, too.”

Benny just knew that this would not be good.

“I just signed a deal with Bravo, the reality cable channel. They made ‘Real Housewives of New York’ and shows like that. They’re going to follow and shoot you and the other three candidates for your job for the next two months. You’ll make impossible sales call, booze it up with the drunken clients at Hooters, fire your worst sales person, defend your sales campaigns to the big guy, you know all the usual BS.”

Benny, now on 2010 automatic, responded on cue: “When do we start shooting.”