"Good Morning America's" workplace contributor Tory Johnson offers advice, true stories and inspiration on how to find a job after being fired. Because job searching has changed from what it was 20 years ago or even two years ago, she writes, you must not only be a stellar candidate but also an exceptional job seeker to succeed in today's marketplace.
In "Fired to Hired: Bouncing Back from Job Loss to Get to Work Right Now," readers will benefit from following Johnson's strategies on ways to get noticed and hired.
Read an excerpt of the book below and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.
I was on a roll. I had been offered a job working as a very junior publicity assistant for Barbara Walters at ABC's 20/20 while I was still in college. I jumped at the chance. Then NBC recruited me, and soon I was on a first-name basis with some of the biggest stars in broadcasting. Jane Pauley, Maria Shriver, Stone Phillips, and the late Tim Russert.
It was my responsibility to promote these superstars and their work. I called newspaper reporters across the country as well as the producers of TV shows from Entertainment Tonight to Larry King Live to sell them on what my stars were doing. And the answer was always yes.
"We'd love to promote Maria's new special." "Of course we'll showcase that investigative piece on Dateline." "What's happening Sunday on Meet the Press." I was kicking butt. And unbeknownst to me, my butt was about to get kicked. One day, an HR woman told me to report to the office of the newly appointed president of the news division. When I walked in, he was sitting in his big leather chair, and he didn't get up to greet me. Not a good sign.
He told me that anytime someone takes over a company or a division, he wants to put his own mark on things—new protocols, new processes, and a new team.
"Are you firing me?" I interrupted. He said, "You have 30 minutes to leave the building."
I went into spin mode—I told him he was making a terrible mistake. Talk to anyone internally or externally, I said, and you'll hear that I'm a great asset, that I really know my stuff, and I'm totally devoted to NBC.
He looked at his watch.
Changing gears, I said, "Give me three things to accomplish in three weeks, three months—whatever time frame you want—to prove myself directly to you."
All I wanted, I said, was to stay at NBC News.
He listened, cold, devoid of emotion.
It was clear that I was not going to keep my job. As I stood up to walk out of his office—trying desperately not to burst into tears—his parting words were, "Tory, it's a big world out there, and I suggest you go explore it."
I walked out in shock. My world as I had known it had come to an end.
I walked to my apartment, climbed into my PJs and threw myself a good old-fashioned pity party, catered by Häagen-Dazs. I had lots of sleepless nights filled with self-doubt. I was embarrassed, humiliated and just plain scared.
Not long after, I got an email from Maria Shriver, now California's first lady but back then a correspondent for NBC News.