What “The Situation” from MTV’s Jersey Shore Can Teach Us About Succeeding In A Tough Economy.
Imagine the scenario: unemployed and down on your luck, you are searching through all of your networks for a lead. You have even tapped staffing agencies for help; nothing is working. Disillusioned by the process, you elect to seek advice. For encouragement, you seek the advice of a self-help guru. You make a trip to the library and the librarian directs you to the section dedicated to self-help books. The section is picked over (as the national unemployment rate stubbornly sits around 9 %, others have the same need). A different librarian stops by the section carrying a book, a career guidance book written by Mike Sorrentino. She files the book within its proper place only to be quickly removed by you. The cover sports a man in a suit lifting up his shirt to reveal his abdominal muscles. “Situation-al Advice: Jobs” is the title; it’s one of a series.
Everyone knows Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. He’s the reality show star that has leveraged his appearance on MTV’s Jersey Shore into $10 million (his projected earnings by the end of 2011). His brand has extended into the realm of liquor (protein-infused vodka) and workout DVDs. His appearances on Jersey Shore net him nearly $60,000 per episode. Not bad for someone who, before 2009, nobody would care to recognize. Not bad for a 28-year-old during the worst economic recession in decades.
While born out of a reality show, “The Situation” is different. Let’s not be pretentious, it’s because of his abs. Not unlike fellow reality television stars, Lauren Conrad (The Hills), Kim Kardashian and Sarah Palin, Sorrentino uses his physical appearance to appeal to his audience (LC, Kim and Sarah play to the audience of me and my dreams; “The Situation” appeals to the audience of girls and MMA wrestlers). But, just to reiterate, “The Situation” is different than this trio.
See, everyone has one special thing about themselves- except, Lauren Conrad (If you can change my mind, I’ll apologize). “The Situation” discovered the one thing that separates him from everyone else (his abs) and “marketed” it. This is not unlike discovering your unique skill(s) and using it to your advantage (through entrepreneurship, or through seeking a position in a competitive industry).
This isn’t to say knowing your ability is enough; most of us have to work for our success. Not all of us are lucky enough to be rich due to the fortune our father earned from defending O.J. Simpson’s murders (Kim Kardashian). The majority of us have to find our special skill and refine it with education and experience. Obviously, “The Situation” spent a lot of time searching for the perfect mix of exercise and steroids to aid his body’s development. Work, no matter how you define it, pays off.
This is about knowing yourself and, subsequently, finding your confidence. “The Situation” was so confident as to successfully attempt to trademark his name (something that may or may not have influenced fellow reality star Sarah Palin to unsuccessfully do the same).
With all of these parallels to finding your confidence and personal achievement, Italian-American Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is not unlike fellow Guido*, Tony Robbins. You know, the motivational speaker. It’s okay if you don’t recognize him, his reality show failed after two episodes.
“Now, wait a minute. How can ‘The Situation’ do anything for me and my financial worries in this fragile economy? He doesn’t speak the language of 401k; he talks about ‘GTL’. He doesn’t know about resumes; he knows about grenades. Nobody cares about ‘The Situation’. Nobody even read the ‘self-help’ book he released last year.”
No one read his book because it was titled, “Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore”. He played to the absurdity of it all. And while laughing at yourself is a desirable trait, confidence is the key. Mike’s other business ventures prove he’s good at exploiting other’s insecurities for his own financial gain. In this fashion, “The Situation” is similar to Tony Robbins and other lifestyle gurus such as Jillian Michaels and Suzy Orman.
Also, I just learned that Tony Robbins is not a Guido. He obviously gyms, tans and launders daily; it was easy to confuse. That’s my fault.
To “The Situation’s” agent, this book series might sound like an interesting idea. Also, it might be time to start thinking about legacy. With that in mind, here’s another idea: get a head-start on the book, “Situation-al Advice: Celebrity Bankruptcy”. It smells of a best-seller (because everyone is too arrogant to read “Situation-al Advice: Managing Your Money”). You can at least count on the audience of Jose Canseco, and in a matter of time (as this wave of celebrity entrepreneurs is superseded by the next), Joel Osteen, Jillian Michaels, Bikram Choudhury, Suze Orman and Sarah Palin.
Don’t worry about Kim Kardashian, though; she can fall back on her Dad’s money. If for some reason that were to run out, no matter how big her ass gets, she will still have the “Black Guy” niche to exploit.
…And they say the American Dream no longer exists.
*(According to Jersey Shore, “It’s a lifestyle, not a slur.” )