(Scroll down to see advice from career coach Madhu Krishnappa Maron; Bill Dedman's advice and how-to about the Clark mansion mystery photo narrative; Jim Hopkins' return to Gannett Blog; Anybody's Byline tip sheets, ; Mind and Body tips; and to try our Jilted quiz, below!)
Journalism passion, letter
Meet the Coach
Name: Madhu Krishnappa Maron
Home: Bronx, New York
Personal data: Married, mother of a 3-month-old son
Business: Madhu Coach, Creative Career Strategies.
Work history: Maron spent fifteen years as a Human Resources professional with The Associated Press, Standard & Poor's, Computer Sciences Corporation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and a variety of other organizations. She was director of staffing and diversity at the Associated Press. She was Freedom Communications' Human Resources Manager for the Northeastern region before becoming vice president of human resources of Freedom Technology Media Group.
Maron holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and is a qualified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. She is currently pursuing a coaching credential through the International Coach Federation.
From a recent newsletter to clients from Madhu Krishnappa Maron:
Change brings both loss and opportunity.
When change happens, we tend to focus first on the loss and fear that come with that change. With our fears leading the way, we find ourselves blaming others, sitting on the sidelines, complaining and feeling personally attacked.
When we acknowledge our true feelings about change, we can move past them and create a more empowering way to navigate what's ahead. We can begin to explore what's possible for us in this new reality. Rather than focusing on all that we cannot control, we focus on what we can.
Take a few moments to reflect on the following questions.
* What has changed for you as a result of what's happening in the economy?
* What feelings come up when you think about it?
* How do you behave in response to those feelings?
* How will these behaviors serve you in moving forward?
* What possibilities lie under the surface?
* How can you create more energy around these possibilities?
Practical Tips for focusing on possibility
* Think of a time in the past when you faced challenging circumstances and came out ahead. What coping mechanisms did you rely upon? What did you learn from that experience? What unexpected surprises came out of that difficult time? How do these lessons apply to what's happening now?
* Dare to believe that the panic and stress of the present moment will pass. From this perspective, what is possible for you?
* During tough economic times, we're told to hunker down, tighten our belts, scale back. Find places in your life where you can stretch and expand. Learn a new skill, volunteer, clean out a closet, go for a walk. Make this part of your routine.
* Remember that the wind will keep changing, shifting strength and direction. It's up to you to adjust your sails.
Case study tangents
- About the reporter
- Test audience:
react to story
Link: Steve Myers, managing editor of Poynter Online,
interviews Bill Dedman: "If you write about what you're interested in, others will be interested, too."
About the reporter
Investigative reporter Bill Dedman of msnbc.com has written about uninspected bridges, problems with firefighter safety equipment, the Obama administration's visitor logs, treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, strategies for discouraging school shootings, and journalists making campaign contributions.
Dedman received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for "The Color of Money," articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-income neighborhoods. In 2008, he received a national award for investigative reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists for his msnbc.com articles and video on firefighter deaths.
He got his start in journalism at 16 as a copy boy at The Chattanooga Times. He has written for The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The New York Times, and was the first director of computer-assisted reporting for The Associated Press.
Dedman taught advanced reporting part time at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University and Boston University, and created the Power Reporting site of research tools for journalists. The setting: Late on a Thursday afternoon, an intro to copy editing lab of 20 mostly junior and senior Arizona State University students, who mostly do not have any scheduled classes the next day. They are assigned one more exercise before dismissal: read the photo narrative and collect their thoughts about it. Side note: Besides being fascinated with the mansion pics themselves, more than half found themselves studying the apartment floor plan slide.
--- from msnbc.com
Our test audience
Their reaction, mainly in their own words:
-- [They noted themselves] Room was silent for a straight five minutes - the story captured everyone's attention. There was no Facebook or YouTube peeking.
-- With pictures, the style of writing is simpler because no description is needed with the pictures.
-- Some focused a lot on the pictures and skimmed the writing.
-- Others read more in depth, comparing the economics of it all.
-- This could not be done in print because it's like a picture book.
-- Preferred this because the pictures help the story, if it was a 2,500 word story it would have been boring.
-- This style is just to tell the story, not to prove your talent of a journalist, less ego in the writing [that's praise].
-- For the ADHD generation, this gives a good break between writing and looking at pictures instead of just reading non-stop.
. Pictures help give a lot of history -- people like to see historical pictures [they unanimously said they were interested in the history, especially how Clark made his fortune].
The setting: Late on a Thursday afternoon, an intro to copy editing lab of 20 mostly junior and senior Arizona State University students, who mostly do not have any scheduled classes the next day. They are assigned one more exercise before dismissal: read the photo narrative and collect their thoughts about it.
Side note: Besides being fascinated with the mansion pics themselves, more than half found themselves studying the apartment floor plan slide.
Jim Hopkins is a former USA Today newspaper editor and reporter, now launching a second journalism career online.
See also his:
News Corp. Blog
New York Times Co. Blog
available for writers
Al's morning meeting
Story ideas that you can localize and enterprise.
Al Thompson of Poynter institute says: "Al's Morning Meeting is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis."
Items posted by 7:30 a.m. Mon-Fri.
SPJ's wide-ranging compendium of tips, resources, how-to's, mashups and databases, and much more.
Ostensibly for citizen reporters, but anyone can glean more: "Well, even the most intrepid of reporters still leave a few rules unbroken in pursuit of their stories. Here's a few tips on how to report your story while staying out of trouble."
"Commentary, training and resources for those who write about business."
Also includes Your Daily Tip Sheet, Melissa Preddy's daily blog helps you get ready for tomorrow's business news story today.
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Includes links to a tool box of ideas, strategies and techniques about how to produce and understand journalism. The materials were collected by the Committee of Concerned Journalists, a consortium of more than 7,000 working in news around the world.
Share your favorite reporting resources
The above links are but a few available to journalists. Do you have a favorite that should be added? Send a link to:
Career coach's group sessions Jobless or underemployed people will help each other move forward with career changes in a new approach to career coaching launching in April. Certified Professional Coach Madhu Krishnappa Maron will lead a five-client, four-session call-in series for those who want to generate new ideas and solutions to create a fulfilling work life in a challenging economy. With a fee of only $125 for the series, Madhu will coach clients in the group to get past the shock, dismay and resentment accompanying job loss and the frustration of dealing with the challenges of establishing new career goals. Each participant will be able to experiment with new ideas, brainstorm possibilities and create fresh thinking around what’s possible. "The group setting will encourage members to challenge themselves and each other to move beyond what’s comfortable for their growth and success," Madhu said. Madhu spent fifteen years as a Human Resources professional with The Associated Press, Standard & Poor's, Computer Sciences Corporation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and a variety of other organizations. Her normal fee is $100 per session. Here's how it works: Call topics will be as follows:
Participants will be required to call in promptly, commit to the time, participate fully and be ready to explore what’s next. Homework assignments may be given. To sign up or get more information, visit her Web site: www.madhucoach.com.
offer new approaches to dealing
with transitions in life, work
you can do anything.'
-- Madhu Krishnappa Maron,
career coach, interviewed in 2009.
Now she's got a new way to help you.
By Jim Gold
Below: Our original story:
Career coach offers tips on getting past grief
of job loss, proceeding on path to reinvention
By Jim Gold
Jobless or underemployed people will help each other move forward with career changes in a new approach to career coaching launching in April.
Certified Professional Coach Madhu Krishnappa Maron will lead a five-client, four-session call-in series for those who want to generate new ideas and solutions to create a fulfilling work life in a challenging economy.
With a fee of only $125 for the series, Madhu will coach clients in the group to get past the shock, dismay and resentment accompanying job loss and the frustration of dealing with the challenges of establishing new career goals.
Each participant will be able to experiment with new ideas, brainstorm possibilities and create fresh thinking around what’s possible.
"The group setting will encourage members to challenge themselves and each other to move beyond what’s comfortable for their growth and success," Madhu said.
Madhu spent fifteen years as a Human Resources professional with The Associated Press, Standard & Poor's, Computer Sciences Corporation, New York City Economic Development Corporation and a variety of other organizations. Her normal fee is $100 per session.
Here's how it works: Call topics will be as follows:
Participants will be required to call in promptly, commit to the time, participate fully and be ready to explore what’s next. Homework assignments may be given.
Call topics will be as follows:
Participants will be required to call in promptly, commit to the time, participate fully and be ready to explore what’s next. Homework assignments may be given.
To sign up or get more information, visit her Web site: www.madhucoach.com.
Jilted journalists should be good at reinventing ourselves -- once we get over the shock, dismay, frustration and resentment likely to come with losing our jobs.
We may need help moving along.
That's where career coaches like Madhu Krishnappa Maron come in.
She and other coaches don't have all the answers, but they help you find your answers by bringing out your resourcefulness.
And who's more resourceful than a journalist?
"A journalist walks down the street and sees stories others don't see," Maron said. "They have investigative skills, they develop sources. That's valuable in many fields of work. Look beyond the obvious; you can do anything."
Maron describes herself on her Web site as "a certified professional coach specializing in helping individuals create more fulfilling careers."
Although she's not a journalist, she has worked with them as a human resources executive at Freedom Communications and The Associated Press.
"There were so many smart people around there," Maron told Jilted Journalists.
That was then. At the end of July, The Associated Press said goodbye to more than 100 employees who took voluntary buyouts in news, technology and business units. Industry-wide, more than 25,000 journalists since early 2008 have lost jobs that are never coming back in their old form.
"Traditional journalism jobs are disappearing," Maron said. "In a world where everything is shrinking, you need to expand your view."
Laid-off people are angry and upset and they have to work out their emotions.
"But it really is an opportunity to explore what's out there, even though people get pissed off when I tell them that."
Why journalists rate
You have to look inward to look outward, and that can be a tough job for a journalist.
"Journalists are used to looking outward, it's a struggle for them to look inward. You're so immersed in journalism, you don't see how your skills work elsewhere," Maron said.
"But they're passionate people, they care about what's going on. That's why they're in journalism, they have a sense of service, mission, passion (that's what I liked about being at The AP and being part of that). It's why people spend 20, 30, 40 years in their careers."
She said to look beneath your resume's surface at the deeper skills and capabilities that you can transfer to a different field.
Maron described journalists as resourceful, persistent and creative.
"Boil things down to the lowest common denominator and see where your skills and passions intersect."
Why Maron rates
Maron lived through layoff and reinvention herself.
She was named human resources director at Freedom Technology Media Group in December 2000 and promoted to vice president the following year.
That was the era of the dot-com-bubble burst of 2000 and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in 2001.
Freedom Communications cited a faltering economy and shut down its magazine division.
"I had to communicate all that," Maron said.
"I laid off everyone else and then myself."
She recalled having the same anger, frustration and resentment she sees in laid-off clients now.
"I was laid off; I took it personally. Why me? How could they do this?"
She re-evaluated her human-resources training and skills, reinvented herself and in 2003 launched MadhuCoach. Her clients include actors, writers, media executives, restaurant managers, photojournalists, designers, sales professionals and educators.
She's seen changes in industries all around her. Growing up in Detroit she watched the auto industry fall apart and engineers and techs expecting pensions have to figure out how to go through transitions. In New York City, she's seen fallout in the retail and apparel trades.
Clients used to set out two- to three-year timelines for making transitions. With layoffs mounting, she finds more clients in panic mode and at a loss about what to do next. They don't feel their prospects are very good after putting their all for 15 or 20 or more years into careers they're suddenly leaving behind, perhaps with only a few weeks' severance pay.
The best time to take on clients is when they are losing jobs, Maron said.
"It's hit them; it's reality now."
She said clients have to go through the emotional whirlwind of being let go with no regard. She helps clients work through their anger first so they can shorten the process of mourning their jobs.
"You have to shrink that time of reaction and move to a more proactive place," she said. "Otherwise you can stew and it makes it harder to step forward."
Making yourself rate
Maron encourages clients to tap more into their creative minds.
"The old way of working has gone away; we have to figure out a new way of using our talents."
She says to focus on how to start bringing in something.
One client looking for work in the apparel industry had the passion and talent for refinishing furniture and playing guitar. It's slow-going but he's establishing an income stream and building a clientele.
"It's better than sitting at the computer all day sending out resumes and feeling like you're not getting anywhere," Maron said.
Compare your situation to a breaking news story vs. an in-depth piece, she said.
"If there's a fire across the street, you run and call the newspaper. Journalists are great in a crisis, and they are also great at longer pieces. How does that work when planning a career? The building on fire is like being in a crisis mode, but you're still thinking about the longer piece, what's coming six, eight, 12 months down the road. You're using both heads at the same time."
You can't apply crisis mode to career development but you can't forget about longer-term planning once the fire is out either.
"Take the first step and see where it leads."
How to get coached;
what to expect
Madhu Krishnappa Maron describes the personal coaching field as a kind of Wild West.
"Many people hang up a shingle, we all have a different approach," she said.
"The coaching practice is tailored to the individual You have to approach every client with fresh eyes."
Maron and many coaches start by offering a prospective client a free sample session to see how it works and to see if the coach and client are a match.
Maron said her client will bring one topic to work on: maybe networking, interview skills, or pursuing a job at a company.
"We spend the bulk of the session (on the phone) exploring the topic," she said. "It's like a lab session."
She gets the client to think broadly, look at experience, play wild, think what's possible.
The client comes away with three to four action items.
Maron and the client establish procedures on follow-up, check-in and accountability.
"They're actually doing things to move forward," she said.
If the process works, if there's a match between client and coach, Maron will spend more time getting her client's background and get a clear understanding of what's possible.
"I call it uber-brainstorming," she said.
"As I get to know clients, I see what they shy away from, what they gravitate toward, where to push, where to support.
"I can be assertive."
How long does it take for a client to transform?
The timeline is nebulous, depending on what the client wants to do and how clear the path is.
Some want to go back to school for a master's degree or to
train for something new and a month later they're in school. Others may go to work for three to six months and come back in a different place.
"By and large people are smart. It's not telling them what to do but finding the best way to think about it, clear obstacles to think about what will work for them.
"They create new opportunities for themselves."
Mystery Mansions' msnbc.com reporter offers journalists advice:
"be curious, trust readers"
An msnbc.com photo narrative that took months of investigation and garnered more than 77 million page views in the first week it was posted started with two simple concepts:
Be curious and trust readers.
That's the advice from the investigative reporter Bill Dedman, author of "The Clarks: an American story of wealth, scandal and mystery."
Being curious led Dedman on a path of discovery not only about the people and facts behind the Clarks but also how best to present the story to the audience. Here he shares the story-behind-the story and why a non-traditional form emerged as presentation choice:
Finding the story
Be curious, follow what interests you.
I saw the real estate listing for the house in New Canaan, Connecticut. After tiring of looking at listings for houses I can't afford, I started looking at those I really can't afford. Then I'd check the houses in the assessor's records online to see who owns them. And the zoning records online, where Hugette Clark's attorney told the board she'd bought it in 1952 and hadn't moved in. (!) I didn't know her name, so it led to the Web, where I found she owned a mansion in Santa Barbara, also not visited. At that point I was hooked.
Be curious. Learn how to look things up. At the intersection, there are a lot of stories.
And trust that the readers will be interested, too. Our page views on this are now over 77 million, as of March 7, 2010. That works out to more than 1.5 million people watching every slide. On average. Average time spent is greater than 13 minutes.
How it came together
I like to talk stories through before I write them. Or to bore my friends and family with them. It helps me realize what's interesting and what's not.
As I was collecting photos of the Clarks, I kept showing them in a little slideshow to my family, to my mother (81) and my daughters (7 and 10). It really helped tell the story.
I showed the slides to our projects team at msnbc.com, and photographer Jim Seida said, "Why don't we just publish it as a slideshow?" I was skeptical at first -- would that crimp the writing? -- but in the end I was advocating doing it this way when the photo team was skeptical. I thought far more people would read through it this way, and it would be worth an experiment.
I had to go over and over that text, to tighten, far more than I would have if it had been a "story." In writing a story, you can throw in a phrase or sentence when you need to clarify something; no room for that here.
The photo editors threw the photos into our standard slideshow template, which was built in-house years ago. It's easy -- you just drag the photos into a folder and it makes a slideshow, which you can edit by moving the photos around and writing captions. One problem: I didn't like the font, which was way too small for reading a long narrative. Our standard caption text is smaller than story text, too small to read that many words comfortably. The solution was to put the text in the headline field of our slideshow template, so it came out larger. A workaround.
You could do this in any slideshow viewer. It's pretty standard.
I got into the story last summer, when I saw the Connecticut house for sale, and read in the zoning minutes online that it had not been lived in for 50 years. Then I started reading about the owner and her father, and I was hooked. But I did other stories, went to Haiti, etc., in the meantime. It was probably two months of work, counting reading all the Clark books I could buy, tracking down a few of the relatives, waiting for public records to be dragged out of archives, hanging out with the doormen, etc.
Free photos: New York Times didn't charge me; Library of Congress (if you want a photo of Twain, for example, you can find a high-resolution image there for free); the Realtor for the New Canaan home; the Corcoran Gallery for the art and some old photos of the inside of Clark's mansion; and 80-year-old books I scanned in. Also the book of old architectural floor plans. The grand-nephew, in Austria, let me use a couple of old family photos from his book, which unfortunately is published only in French. Old newspaper clippings from Google News and a Times subscription and Proquest. Pictometry gave us one aerial of Santa Barbara, similar to what you can see on Bing. And I took photos at the cemetery and her apartment building. The only photo I just grabbed off the Web was the Renoir; that image was the best I could get; Sotheby's, which sold the painting, would not hand over a better image.
Costly photos: New-York (yes, there's a hyphen) and Montana and Las Vegas historical societies. Of course, they didn't take any of those photos, but they're the only place to get big beautiful scanned copies. Maybe $100 apiece. I paid a Santa Barbara photographer for a better copy of an aerial he had already shot, $150, I think. Altogether perhaps $1,000 or $1,200.
I was very concerned that some browsers wouldn't display the slideshow properly, and I suspect problems afflicted one half of 1 percent of our users, which can still be a big number. So I made the "print" version, both a standard story page and also a PDF file, so readers would have options. We didn't offer the reader both versions from the cover -- the cover linked only to the slideshow, but the standard story page was there for those who then clicked on "Trouble viewing?" or "print." ---
What do you think? Share your thoughts about the use of this photo narrative and other alternative story forms in our forum.
Anybody's Byline Nearly 300 journalists are helping each other develop story ideas through a free weekly e-mailed newsletter launched in December. "Anybody's Byline" is the brainchild of reporter Noelle Steele, Greenfield (Indiana) Reporter cops-and-courts reporter. "I got great feedback immediately, and people starting sending in story ideas as soon as they got a feel for how Anybody's Byline will work," Steele said in an e-mail update about the launch. (Original story below.) "That was really encouraging." "We've got almost 300 members, and we're just eight states away from having members all over the U.S.!" A look at the first two newsletters, delivered so far in easy-to-open plain text e-mails, reveals a mix of story ideas with explanations of where to look for sources and how to find and present information. Some story ideas are immediate or at least seasonal, like ice safety, loss-prevention during the holidays or visiting nursing homes during the holidays. Others are more like evergreens but can be written with immediacy when the idea is adapted locally. Those include home-schooling routines, story-telling techniques in sports, or finding businesses that flourish during the recession. And the newsletter already has its first flourish of a controversy. The initial newsletter suggested a story about teens possibly revealing too much about themselves on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. Number Two brought a sort of rebuttal with a story idea that proper use of privacy settings and informative tips may make the sites "only as dangerous as we make them" and suggests the reports of threats have been out of proportion. Each newsletter contains a tip under the header, "The Write Stuff," a sort-of "gee, whiz" of style, grammar, usage and other helpful hints. Steele touts low advertising rates while they are still available. To subscribe and help exchange ideas, go to www.anybodysbyline.com. Subscription forms and Steele's contact information is there.
Reporter's idea-packed e-newsletter
launches as journalists share tips
By Jim Gold
The original story:
With reporter's idea-sharing service,
writers may never get stuck again
Journalists to share story tips in email newsletter
By Jim Gold
Reporter Noelle Steele figures if she's been stuck for a story idea, so have many other journalists.
It's not that the 25-year-old Greenfield (Indiana) Reporter cops-and-courts reporter doesn't have plenty to write about.
In one recent week at the 10,000-circulation daily, Steele's byline topped a half-dozen stories ranging from a thieving realty agent's aide to a sixth-grader's fledgling modeling career to Halloween safety tips.
Sometimes, she said, a story falls through or a beat goes quiet and a reporter has space to fill for tomorrow's paper -- and deadline is just hours away.
Wouldn't it be great to have ready advice from other journalists who made it through the same fix, she asked in a Jilted Journalists phone interview.
Steele launched AnybodysByline.com, a story-idea-sharing venture designed to deliver seven to 10 workable ideas right to reporters' e-mail inboxes, weekly for now, more frequently if the site takes off.
"The theory is that the more we share ideas, the better chance we'll all have of being well-rounded journalists who don't have to panic when an idea doesn't immediately present itself for tomorrow's deadline," Steele said. "You don't have to turn over your Pulitzer Prize-winning material, just something that would help a fellow journalist get through a day when page space is at a premium and the ideas floating around the newsroom are sparse."
The service could work for reporters working in large and small print and online newsrooms or for jilted journalists who have gone on to freelance careers.
Steele said she knows other services are out there, but some are too specialized or too vague.
One she saw simply said, "Profile interesting people."
As a weekly service for now, she would look less at breaking news and more at news-features. Some could be tips on how to turn breaking world and national news into local features or how to get local angles on news from swine flu to suicide bombers.
She would also pay attention to news that happens just outside your local coverage area.
"If a tanker overturns and explodes on the interstate, or a tornado strikes nearby, what are the resources in our area?"
Journalists can share success stories and tell about what worked for them. Reporters can adapt elements to fit their local communities' needs.
The newsletter is intended to be fun, user friendly and written with personality.
For now, though, it's a tough sell, Steele said.
In the two weeks since outlining the service on Anybody's Byline Web site, she met her goal of getting 100 people to sign up.
A map on her home bulletin board shows responses from reporters in 23 states (and growing) and at least 18 foreign countries. (See photo above.)
She hopes to have subscribers from all 50 states by Dec. 1, when she plans to e-mail her first e-newsletter.
The Web site's home page has a fill-in form for free subscriptions.
The four-year reporter said she always considered herself a go-getter, but she's never taken on such a large initiative. She just opened a Twitter account and is learning how to Tweet effectively to get the word out about Anybody's Byline. Once the first newsletter is ready, she plans to Tweet about content. Steele sees potential to grow her venture into something bigger that might even make money eventually.
Subscriptions would remain free.
"I won't charge journalists," she said.
However, the service could become advertiser supported or could carry clearly marked sponsored tips. "I'm really excited to see where it goes," she said.
Nearly 300 journalists are helping each other develop story ideas through a free weekly e-mailed newsletter launched in December.
"Anybody's Byline" is the brainchild of reporter Noelle Steele, Greenfield (Indiana) Reporter cops-and-courts reporter.
"I got great feedback immediately, and people starting sending in story ideas as soon as they got a feel for how Anybody's Byline will work," Steele said in an e-mail update about the launch. (Original story below.) "That was really encouraging."
"We've got almost 300 members, and we're just eight states away from having members all over the U.S.!"
A look at the first two newsletters, delivered so far in easy-to-open plain text e-mails, reveals a mix of story ideas with explanations of where to look for sources and how to find and present information.
Some story ideas are immediate or at least seasonal, like ice safety, loss-prevention during the holidays or visiting nursing homes during the holidays. Others are more like evergreens but can be written with immediacy when the idea is adapted locally. Those include home-schooling routines, story-telling techniques in sports, or finding businesses that flourish during the recession.
And the newsletter already has its first flourish of a controversy. The initial newsletter suggested a story about teens possibly revealing too much about themselves on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. Number Two brought a sort of rebuttal with a story idea that proper use of privacy settings and informative tips may make the sites "only as dangerous as we make them" and suggests the reports of threats have been out of proportion.
Each newsletter contains a tip under the header, "The Write Stuff," a sort-of "gee, whiz" of style, grammar, usage and other helpful hints.
Steele touts low advertising rates while they are still available.
To subscribe and help exchange ideas, go to www.anybodysbyline.com. Subscription forms and Steele's contact information is there.
A compilation of tips for you
This recession generated a lame buzzword, funemployment. What does that mean? We looked at Men’s Health, Yahoo!, Fremont Fitness Forum, the life experiences of family, friends, jilted journalists and even the California Employment Development Department to find the best ways to stay fit and ready in case that important call, Tweet or email comes -- and to make unemployment “fun” even if it doesn't.
The first headline on this website was "Are we screwed or what?" We make jiltedjournalists.com with a bit of sarcasm and want you to get some optimism as well. You feel jilted, screwed, backstabbed, or worse. You are not alone out there, but we also want you to use this website as a tool for finding some hope in your situation. Do not let your mind fritter away. Do not let the search for a new job be your only job.
We take a look at some things you can do for your mind and body that cost nothing or next to nothing.
Mind your matters
Library: It's not just for free internet use. Read some classic literature you forgot about, find a new favorite author, borrow movies that make you laugh; sometimes there are job fairs and motivational speakers for free.
Speak in tongues: Practice a foreign language new to you. Start by checking out books about that language in the library. This may come in handy. If you get an interview, who could turn you down when you say, "Yes, I do speak a little Mandarin."
Scour your environment: Clean your house, and not just a touch up with a mop. Get down on your knees and scrub the tub and floors. Not only is it good free exercise, but looking at a clean house afterward and the work it took will remind you of the value of manual labor. And it may score points with a significant other if you have one.
File for unemployment: Do not be too proud to beg. You paid for it, you deserve it. Your family probably needs the cash flow anyway. Now at least your family will not starve. Besides, applying should kill a few idle days.
Add drama to your life: Join your local community theater group. Volunteer to build sets or costumes if you are too nervous to be onstage. This could bring good networking, too, and another way to develop those all-important manual-labor skills. Seeing your creations in action as a setbuilder is very rewarding.
God, help us: Been religious but haven't had the time/energy to join a church/temple/mosque/coven? Now may be the time to be more involved in your religion. You can often join groups without having to pay for membership fees. Many churches/temples should be willing to waive or reduce fees dependent on income as well.
Work on your relationship: You have every right to be jilted, but you and your significant other cannot get so worked up about the layoff that you forget how to take the appropriate steps to handle it. Don’t let a bad attitude from one party infect the other. Talk about your plans. When one side gets too worked up, take a 10-minute break from each other before continuing.
No small jobs...: Look at the bright side of new jobs, even if you thought they were beneath you. At least you would get paid. Remember that being hired means that someone wants you and likes your work.
Nota bene: Keep a small notebook and pen handy. Ideas for novels may start flowing. Don’t dismiss them.
Novel idea: Start that book from tip above. Devote two hours daily to it. Think of it as a part-time job. You're a story teller already in some way.
On the hunt: You are still in need of a job. Devote two hours daily to job hunting/applications. Try to apply for at least two jobs a day.
Your body of work
Good. Now you are halfway done with your novel, and you are applying to a minimum of 10 jobs per week. That wished-for call must be coming any day now. But no hiring manager likes the sight of a disheveled, unhealthy person at a job interview. You also need to think about exercise -- and then do some. Just because you canceled a gym membership does not mean you cannot work out. Try these exercises, at no cost.
If you've been sitting around watching The View and those beloved Jerry Orbach "Law and Orders," you need to build up slowly. You can combine strength training and cardio on the same day. Try to find a park or somewhere where you can walk/run without having to stop for a red light. Having music helps, or a dog to bring along. Always remember to check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
When starting a jogging program, it is better to look at time rather than distance. In the chart below, start with the walk time, then jog, then go back to walking, then jogging again, then walking again, and so on until you reach the total time. Remember, jogging, NOT running! This schedule is based on interval training, and is designed for someone starting from zero. It also works for swimming and biking, just substitute low intensity for walk time and high intensity for jog time. Week Walk time Jog time Total time Notes/comments 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
20 minutes (5 sets of walk/jog)
25 minutes total
Gradually increase distance jogging.
30 minutes total
30 minutes total
30 minutes total
33 minutes total
35 minutes total
40 minutes total
Take this quiz to find out
just how jilted you are
(You'll have to do your own math, which, we know, can be quite an exercise for some journalists, jilted or otherwise. Add the numbers in red; find what your J-score results mean, below.)
1. I was informed of my layoff:
A. By a certified letter hand-delivered with a dozen roses. 1
B. When I came to work and saw the building was closed and a "short-sale" sign was dangling in the window. 2
C. A friend called after seeing a Tweet I missed. 3
D. I still have to go to work; they just reassigned me, cut my pay by two-thirds and appointed an unpaid intern as my mentor so I can learn new skills. 4
2. My layoff was preceded by:
A. Handshakes and awarding of a golden parachute. 1
B. A report by a $1000/hour “efficiency consultant” who made me do ‘awful things.’ 2
C. A $1000 happy hour ending my career. 3
D. Rumors, innuendo, sex, lies, and videotape. 4
3. Who else was laid off:
A. Clerks. 1
B. Paid interns. 2
C. Colleagues at the same level. 3
D. My boss. 4
4. My job function is now:
A. Outsourced to India. 1
B. Ignored by paid interns. 2
C. Dumped on colleagues left behind. 3
D. Handled poorly by my former boss. 4
5. On my last day, I stole (or re-appropriated):
A. One last moment in the back stairwell with that special coworker. 1
B. My boss’s Blackberry. 2
C. A company car. 3
D. I went into the supply closet, and that’s all I can say. 4
6. I now sleep at:
A. My place, until severance runs
B. My parents' or in-laws' place. 2
C, A different friend's couch each
D. The homeless encampment that
I wrote/edited a story about
last week. 4
7. I now spend my days:
A. At the library, using a free computer to hunt for jobs. 1
B. Waiting in line at the unemployment office. 2
C. At the end of a freeway exit ramp, holding up a sign that says, "Will write for food." 3
D. With everyone else riding the bus/subway/BART/Metro/VTA all day because, hey, at least it is air-conditioned and commuters often leave newspapers behind. 4
8. If I see a large cardboard box filled with aluminum cans on the side of the road, I think:
A. I’ll need that box for packing up my stuff when I relocate to my new job in Hawaii. 1
B. Oh, I’ll pick that up and take it to my nearest recycler right away, and make $2! 2
C. Cardboard = padding, Cans = meth cookers. 3
D. I don’t need that stuff, President Obama will help me. 4
9. The person who did my only job interview so far:
A. Was younger and hotter than me. 1
B. Asked about my experience using a deep fryer. 2
C. Asked if I knew the difference between a frappuccino and
a latte. 3
D. Offered to pay me daily in cash but referred to me as a ‘mule’ when he talked to his boss. 4
10. I go to Home Depot/Lowes/OSH to:
A. Hire day laborers to lay new sod in my yard and practice hablamos en espanol. 1
2. Sell nonfat venti iced frappuccino mocha lattes from the stand out front to the ‘efficiency consultant’ my company hired at $1000/hour. 3
3. Fill out a job application for a shelf-stocking position at the store. 3
4. Sleep in the sheds they sell because I got kicked out of the bus/library. 4 (FYI: If you try this, you can't really then shower in the bathroom displays. Go to the garden hoses hooked up to water the plants in the lawn/garden section.)
(Add a bonus point if you got kicked out of your friend's couch for hitting on his/her significant other.)
Understanding your J-Score:
0-9: You will spend the rest of your life traveling the world and picking up steep consulting and public-speaking fees; your mutual-fund investments will never falter; your home values will only rise.
10-19: The community college is looking for an adjunct journalism lecturer.
20-29: Get ready to ladle the special sauce at Hardee's/McDonald's/Burger King/Taco Bell.
35-40: Better hope unemployment benefits are extended again, not even Safeway/Kroger/A&P/Walmart is calling back.
41: USA Today is trying to text you to lead its new social-networking initiative, FriendsONE, so you better re-up some Go Phone minutes so you can accept the $150,000-a-year job.