Lights, camera, action?

August 15, 2011

When I was selected to participate in this project, my only purpose was to tell my story, and maybe…JUST MAYBE…someone out there would identify with me and realize that they are not alone.

What I didn’t expect was MSNBC calling me at my part-time job at the church last week to request an interview with me.

At first I thought it was a prank, because two weeks ago my pastor’s wife prank-called me just as a way to loosen me up on my first day of work.  But this wasn’t a prank…this was real.  Someone at MSNBC read my blog entries, and they called me to invite me onto “Jansing and Co.” to discuss unemployment.  With some hesitation, I accepted.

I didn’t sleep well the night before.  Aside from my 6-month old going through teething, I was nervous to the point of horror.  I was unsure about my ability to articulate what I have been dealing with for several months, unsure if I would be a good representative of those who are unemployed.

Morning comes, and I get my clothes on, talk in the mirror a little bit, and then I’m off, knowing there is no going back.  I arrive at the Washington office of MSNBC, and am escorted to the “Green Room” to chill out. I am feeling more anxiety. Then someone came in and said, “Mr. Johnson, we’re ready for you.”

10:34 a.m. comes, and I’m on…Richard Lui, the in-studio correspondent on “Jansing and Co.” interviews me from MSNBC’s New York studio.

The interview was kind of a blur, but I did my best to concentrate and answer the questions.  The whole thing was about 3 minutes long, but it seemed longer.  After I was finished, I was whisked away to do an unscheduled interview with a television network from Britain. Again…I couldn’t believe this.  I did that interview, went back to see my sister in the Green Room (she came with me). My cell phone was ringing and buzzing a lot.

Interviews and all, I am keeping things in perspective.  Before, during, and after the interview, I thought about my fellow bloggers who are unemployed and didn’t get to share their compelling stories on television.  I thought about all of the other millions of people who are unemployed and struggling.

After the interview, I got pats on the back, calls and hugs from family, friends, former co-workers, fellow church members. Several people told me that I will get a job out of this interview. I cringed at that suggestion: I didn’t do the interview thinking I would get a job out of it.

The interview wasn’t about me…it was about my fellow bloggers Thera Larson, Stephanie Dudgeon, Daniel Joyce, Marianne Steffey, and Stephen Rymer and the millions of others who are dealing with the crippling disease called unemployment.

I hope I represented them well.  Superstar…I’m not.

Marc Johnson, a 36-year-old former Hill staffer from Ashburn, Va., has been unemployed for six months. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.

Read more updates from Marc Johnson here .

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