Guest blog: So, You’d Like a Job, Then? (Final part)

David Dennis interviews American Mike Mauss on How to Survive Unemployment

Q) I take it Michael Moore’s portrayal of families being thrown out onto the streets, evicted, families destroyed is, in all reality, the truth?

A) Michael Moore is a lying bastard who uses TV techniques to twist the truth. It’s bad, but there aren’t families on the streets. Everyone works out something– kids move in with their parents, people take in boarders, whatever. There’s always that opportunity to move to somewhere cheaper. My favorite solution, however, is something called “getting a job” and that is why I wrote The Unemployed Guy’s Guide to Unemployment.

Q) That’s the primary focus of your book– getting back into employment. Correct?

A) I break the book down into three parts. Dealing with the shock of being fired; looking for work; and getting by without enough money. Most people look for work in the wrong way. They answer job ads and talk to HR people and fiddle with their resumes. I have been at the receiving end of those CV/ resume emails and I can tell you that all of that is completely useless. The only way to get a decent job is to network with everyone you’ve ever met. Someone, somewhere will see how your skills fit their needs. It’s unreal over here. I’ve seen Harvard grad students applying for internships. This is how bad it is in the States– Al Jazeera just released a list of vacancies and they had 8000 applications in the first three days.

Q)  I was told this by an acquaintance of mine– he networks heavily to get business. Is that the kind of thing you would suggest?

A) Networking is everything!  People have an idea that the world has changed, that it’s all depersonalized. It’s not. It’s all about who you know, who you’ve helped in the past and who knows you do good work. It’s funny because the only type of people who have absolutely no problem with networking are … rich people. They will use Daddy’s friends to get a job in a split second.

Q) Many people just haven’t got the networking skills to do that, Mike. How can people network if they have no idea how to network?

A) How do you know you can’t? I doubt you’ve really tried. Have you contacted the people you went to school with? How about co-workers from previous jobs? Neighbors? People at your church? Have you asked people for lists of others to contact?

Q) Some people swear by cold emailing. Does that work?

A) No. That’s just annoying generally. But if you get an email that says, “Joe X suggested I contact you about possibilities” no one responds badly to that. Usually, they try to think of a job or give some more suggestions of people to contact. Somewhere along the line, someone says, “Hey, that kid would be perfect for this.” There you go — you have found your “in”.

Q) This is a question that might make you cringe. You have been in some high level jobs. How many people have you hired through cold emails?

A) Well, including interns that only worked for me for a week or less, about ten. Sadly, I’m not usually in a hiring position. However, I’ve found jobs or contacts for others which developed into jobs for probably hundreds. I have done my fair share for the unemployed of the USA. It’s about time others did more to ease the problem.

Q) Mike, you’ve read my book Disregarded. What did you think about the situation in the UK?

A) It seemed a bit dismal and almost Dickensian. My advice for young people who can’t find a real job is to LEAVE. If you don’t have any debts, you don’t have kids, you don’t have a house, I would say travel the world, intern everywhere, sleep at friends’ houses and have some fun. You don’t need the grief, so why take it? If you can’t find something you love to do, then do the other things that you’ll never get a chance to do – like leave home and be on your own.

I described in UGGU walking into Las Vegas with $1.50 in my pocket and getting a job, a place to crash and a meal—all in thirty minutes. Then I decided not to go to New Orleans because there would always be another chance….

When the economy is working against you, it’s like a wave in the ocean. If you stand against it, you’ll just get rolled.

Q) Where is your book on sale, Mike?

A) Almost anywhere electronic – Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, iTunes. Also, if you are unemployed or think you’re about to get fired and feel you really can’t afford it (honor system) write me at [email protected] and I’ll send you a coupon for a free copy.

Q) Thanks for your time, Mike. I hope the book is a success for you!

A) Thank you, David! I’m so glad to see the success your book has garnered!

10 thoughts on “Guest blog: So, You’d Like a Job, Then? (Final part)

    1. maussmike

      Michael Moore is in the same business I’ve been in for 40 years – television production – and he uses misleading editing techniques to manipulate his material that would be instant termination if I found anyone working for me doing it.

      He may be right and he may be wrong – I happen to think that Dinesh D’Souza is just as bad from the other side – but he cheats on the truth and I can’t accept that that is acceptable in any context. The story in Flint was true but Moore cheapened it by using unethical tricks to make his point.

  1. J Jackson

    This interview leaves me with mixed opinions – it’s good to share one’s experiences if they can help others; but his advice is not relevant to anyone except his close peers. I really am curious as to how he paid a mortgage and put his kids through college if he’s been mostly unemployed for 20yrs. His confidence seems overwhelming, but how many people have that level of self-belief? I also find it thoroughly depressing that according to him all jobs seem to depend on who you know.

  2. maussmike

    First, I paid the mortgage and college by not having a good car or a decent vacation for quite a long time and pulling money out of my second mortgage. Also, it was 9 out of the past 20 years and a good deal of that time I was frantically freelancing – which is in the book.

    As for “all jobs seem to depend on who you know,” you can find it depressing but it’s true nevertheless. In a work situation where 90% of the applicants are Qualified, how do you choose? The reality is that most people go for a personal recommendation from someone they trust.

    To be honest, I found it pretty depressing while I was young. The only people who I see working personal networks like madmen from the minute they get out of high school are…rich people. They have no hesitation going to Daddy for a job, or a nice place in some college buddy’s firm or whatever. Seems to work for them.

  3. Ian Wolton

    “my favourite solution is something called getting a job!” oh yeah! didn’t think of that! Becau to se there’s millions of jobs out there is’nt there? At best you are painting the unemployed as terminally thick! At worse you are saying they are they are lazy & feckless!
    you are insulting millions of hard working americans & British people who are trying their very best to find work in one of the worst depressions since the 1920s

  4. bookmanwales

    I’m very saddened that this blog has actually been posted.
    Like Ian Wolton says it belittles all those people who have spent not an inconsiderable time looking for work, and assumes they are too stupid to have already approached friends. family etc.

    If we were all “networked”, and I have been to a few networking meetings, then you are in the same boat everybody chasing the same people for too few jobs.

    Young free and single does not guarantee you a bed to crash on with friends, most of whom are probably in the same situation, nor does it guarantee food, work or any other of life’s essentials.

    This writer is lucky in that he obviously has skills in demand even on a freelance basis, unfortunately again he assumes, pretty much like IDS that because he did it then the rest who don’t are lazy fools doing everything wrong.

    He then tries to cash in on his “success” by conning money out of ordinary unemployed people in the vague hope of some miracle solution for finding a job.

    All I can say once again Mike Is am saddened that you even gave this article space

    1. Mike Sivier

      When I realised what it was, I put it up in the hope that it would generate discussion. I’m surprised you’re mentioning it now as it is from early 2013 and not something I would publish today.

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