I told my office yesterday that I will be moving to Haiti in January. My bosses response? “Yeah, I knew this was coming”. Even if it was a foregone conclusion, now that it is out in the open, it is a strangley liberating feeling. I knew I was going, Jillian knew I was going, but now that everyone knows that I’m going it makes it that much more exciting.
The one issue is what everyone logically asks next: “Wow, so what are you going to do down there?” My response? “Haha. I don’t know, doing some freelance work, blogging, starting a coup. Haha.” The response usually includes uncomfortable laughter.
So my mission for the next three months before I willingly join the ranks of the unemployed is to find something to “do down there”. Today began what I am calling the “networking and job searching blitz”, a somewhat un-creative play on what we in the news business call a “media blitz”. If it works for Obama it should work for me! But Obama is a liar…
But on a positive note, it seems to be coming together pretty well at the moment. Yesterday, my Dad’s old assistant from the Navy emailed me and asked if I wanted to go to a fundraiser for Haiti on Tuesday night. It was being held in the restaurant literally next door to my work. I went in the hopes of making a good connection.
Well, turns out the woman who was running it was super nice and friendly, around Jillian and my’s age, and knows about a million people in Haiti that she is willing to connect me with. Her name is Anne, and she does Public Relations in Haiti for an organization called Gheskio which does a lot of AIDS prevention and awareness, as well as treatement.
But the craziest part of the night was when I looked over and saw John McCain’s Press Secretary, Leah, talking to a group of people. I mentioned it to Anne and she was like, “Yeah, Leah and I go way back, she went to Haiti with me a couple of times. I’m trying to get her to move down!”
Now, I work with Congressional Press Secretaries everyday so this would be a fantastic thing if it were not for the fact that the show that I work for recently pissed off the McCain office in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way. We had McCain booked for our show to talk about the death of Ted Kennedy, and then cancelled.
Not only did this suck because he wanted to talk about all the work he did with Kennedy and it’s kinda mean to say, “No thank you, old man, we do not want to give you one last chance to talk about your friend”, but he also is JOHN MCCAIN! He just ran for president in one of the most historic presidential elections of our time, he’s kind of a big deal (my in-laws will love me for this post).
So I walk up to her and say “Hi, good to see you! We haven’t be seeing each other much recently!” This was in an effort to break the ice in what could be an incredibly akward conversation, but she responded, “I think McCain went on (one of your competitors) last week, didn’t he?!” Ummm….I debated whether to just go with it, “Haha, that’s right! OK, well, see ya later!” But I didn’t, and decided to remind her who I work for. She realized her mistake and gave me the death stare.
I proceeded to explain (and profusely apologize) why we decided to cancel McCain, a sticky conversation considering she was looking for names. To be honest, I didn’t know who made that decision, and I’m glad I didn’t. It’s almost like not wanting to be witness to a crime so you don’t have to testify against your friends. I’m learning new things every day at this job.
But turns out my apology worked, and she felt a little better after our conversation. I was frank (that’s my name!) with her about why we call them all the time and end up cancelling, and she was frank with me about how we should never do that ever again. But in the end she brought me back to Anne and said, “I know you already spoke with him, but this is Frank, I like him, and I don’t say that about many people. He’s moving to Haiti and you should really get to know him.”
So I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy with the outcome of this first phase of the “blitz”, as short as it was. Not only did I make a good connection for someone on the ground in Haiti, but I singlehandedly renewed my show’s friendship with the McCain office. But don’t worry, tomorrow will come and I will be asked to book and then subsequently cancel John McCain. You laugh, but I promise it will happen, and we will all be back to zero.