Devil's Advocate - Al Pacino's speech
Advice from the trenches of my television trials
I have been auditioning to host a reality show about work, and I’m supposed to fly out to Los Angeles for a test run in front of a camera. My friend Sharon, hair stylist to the LA jet set, told me that I have to get my teeth whitened.
I am a big fan of taking advice from experts instead of arguing. And this seems like a good time to tell you that if you think you can tweeze your own eyebrows or color your own hair, it’s because you have no idea what an expert could do. Once you see the difference between great and not great, you would see you do not have great and you would not want that.
But I was not happy to hear that I needed to whiten my teeth. First, I didn’t think they were that yellow. And second, it’s expensive. Maybe my teeth were really yellow compared to people on TV, but if I don’t dislike my teeth, then I don’t get that good feeling like I’m getting something for my money. And of course, I just got fired from Yahoo, so money is not exactly flowing over here.
But I have always felt that when you are struggling with money, it’s really important to not let that derail your career. Your career is your own small business, and like any small business, if you don’t reinvest profits back into your career then you can’t grow.
In the past, this philosophy has led me to an expensive haircut before a job interview even though I had to use my food money to pay for it. In a higher salary bracket this philosophy looked like me paying to get expensive coaching for public speaking before I had any income from speaking.
Please, don’t send me emails about how you got a great job and you cut your hair yourself. I don’t care. What I’m telling you is that you better have taken the money you saved on that haircut and reinvested it in your career some other way.
So, this is how I come to tell you that I decided to spend the money even though I am technically in not-spending money mode until I replace the income I lost from Yahoo.
So I say to Sharon, “Fine. I’ll whiten my teeth.”
Sharon says, “Don’t do it in Madison. Do it in LA.”
She says this about everything. I thought she was being a snob, so I did a little test, with my bikini wax. I figured, how difficult is that? Why can’t I just do it in Madison? But you know what? It’s difficult. You don’t appreciate all the little hairs that are gone til they are not gone.
So I made an appointment to do the whitening in LA.
But then a TV station called.
The producer said he googled something likeObama generation y businessand my blog came up, so he called to interview me about politics. I bungled a bunch of questions, like I mispronounced Kucinich’s name. Twice. And I predicted the New Hampshire primary to go to Obama after that had already not happened.
I know you’re thinking that I’m an idiot. But it’s very hard to be on top of all things workplace. I can’t also be on top of all things politics. But apparently it doesn’t matter, because they scheduled me to go on-air anyway, with four political pundits on a pretty big TV show.
And then I thought, well, I should just have my teeth whitened for this show. Because maybe all four of the pundits have really white teeth and I won’t and it’ll kill my chances of getting invited back to the show.
So I got my teeth whitened in Madison. I am not going to tell you where because the place sucked. Sucked as in they made a mistake applying the bleach and they burned my lips and I looked like I got hit in the face.
But you know what? With a little Benadryl, my lips deflated enough to give me a hot little Angelina Jolie pout. And with my new lips and my white teeth, maybe no one noticed that I had no idea what to say on the show when they asked me how the elections will come out for the Democrats.
And so, that one day confirms the following career advice:
1. You should tell people you are on TV, but only after the fact because then if you screw up, no one knows.
2. You should spend money on your career even if you don’t have any.
3. You should get your teeth whitened (and your bikini line waxed) in LA.
Bonus: I got the teeth whitening for free since they ruined my lips. But now I’m thinking that maybe I should take the 0 to LA and blow my lips up for real with Botox.
Just kidding. Sort of.
Video: How to Sell Your Idea to Television with Agent Matthew Doyle - IFH 138
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