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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!