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How I Found Success In A Tough Job Market

Job Losses
Job Losses

In the interest of maybe helping someone who’s out of work and losing hope, this is my story.

When I heard this morning that the unemployment rate is at its highest level since June 1983I went “wow.” That’s when I happened to enter the job market after graduating from USC in mid-May of that year. Or, at least that’s when I tried to enter the job market.

But I was naïve about and oblivious to the bad economy at the time. There were no cable TV business networks back then. In the circles I ran in, stocks weren’t a hot topic. CNN was just coming onto the scene. And I certainly didn’t read “The Wall Street Journal.” I took macro and micro economics in college because I had to. They were enough for this broadcast journalism major to grasp basic supply and demand. And my small diet of econ news consisted of the occasional evening news piece by the late, legendary Irving R. Levine.

At the end of my senior year I was interning at what was then called KNXT (now KCBS), the CBS owned and operated TV station in Los Angeles. It paid nothing and SC didn’t even give credits for internships. So, I was doing it purely for the experience, to make contacts, network and maybe get my foot in the door. I was assigned to the investigative unit which was kind enough to let me hang around months after my formal internship actually ended because I had no other prospects. My parents were breathing down my neck about finding a job and starting to make money. I was hoping that I would be hired by Channel 2 (KNXT/KCBS) for a grunt level news production assistant job. I met with the news director and the general manager. But CBS had a hiring freeze at the time. I was out of luck.

Then, a friend told me about a TV reporter opening in Great Falls, Montana. I jumped on it. I FedExed my resume tape and resume to the news director and I hounded (he might say “pestered”) him nearly every day for the next few weeks until I think I wore him down. Finally he said, “Do you want the job?” I immediately said yes without even asking what it paid. ($10,700 a year, which wasn’t a lot even in those days.)

I paid my dues. And today, thankfully, I’m paid significantly more than that.

Fight On! Beat the Cal Golden Bears!

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman