On December 1, 2008, I started working at Weiser LLP—and the media went wild. The New York Times and New York Post published splendid articles (i.e. “Better Sign Of Times, From Sandwich Board To Dream Job” – New York Post) and dozens of other media outlets quickly followed suit.
New York magazine came out with a humorous article “The Recession is Over!” and cited the number one reason as “Joshua Persky…got a job!”
Fortunately, there was a savvy Chief Marketing Officer at Weiser who helped me prevent my media attention from becoming too much of a circus or a distraction from work. I loved the attention and would have spent as much time as I could telling my story to the media, but I also understood that the established and respected firm had to protect its reputation and not let the publicity get out of control.
My supervisor accompanied me on all my major interviews, helping me host the New York Post, Inside Edition, WPIX and others at the office—and joining me for interviews at the studios of CNN, MSNBC and Reuters.
We had a fun and exciting honeymoon, including an in-depth lunch-time interview with Erika Hayasaki of the Los Angeles Times at a local sushi restaurant.
After a couple of weeks of exciting interviews, we started toning things down and refused any further interviews at the office or during work hours.
I was extremely disappointed about having to turn down major international television networks from Japan, Taiwan, and Brazil who wanted to interview me at the office and share my inspirational story with their viewers—but I understood I was being paid to do business valuations and had to focus on my work.
Nevertheless, I still received many telephone calls from journalists and spoke freely about my job-hunting experience.
As the holidays drew closer, my story became a happy ending holiday success story and instead of subsiding, my media attention soared to new heights.
Curtis Silwa and Steve Scott called for live radio interviews. Forbes.com featured me in an article called "Extreme Job Hunting," and Cindy Perman published a break-through article for CNBC.com, "6 Job-Hunting Tips From the 'Sandwich Board' Guy."
My iconic image popped up in newspapers, on television and on popular Internet sites all over the world.
My picture was even included in the Wall Street Journal’s “2008 Year in Pictures (Financial Crash),” as part of 20/20’s “2008 Year in Review (Greed Gone Wild)” and was noted as the New York Post’s number two viewed story of the year—ahead of scandalous stories about Elliot Spitzer, David Letterman and Marilyn Monroe!
PRWeek cited me as number two among the year’s “10 PR stunts that would make PT Barnum proud.”
I even got a call from a Hollywood movie agent asking if I was interested in creating a movie adaptation of my inspirational story.
When I had been unemployed and famous, most of the emails and calls I had received were full of encouragement.
After I had started working and had a second round of publicity, many of the emails and calls I received were congratulatory—but many were also from people asking for job-hunting advice.
Whereas before finding a job, I was the go-to unemployed sandwich board guy, after finding a job, I became the go-to how to get your dream job guy.