“Cirque du Soleil will be laying off 400 people starting at the end of January…”

—Jan. 18, 2013 The New York Times

New York Unemployment Benefits FAQ:

Q: What kind of work must I accept?

A: You must be ready to accept suitable work while you collect benefits. Suitable work is work that you can reasonably do, through past training and experience…

To be eligible for benefits you must: Be available for work AND show that you are looking for work WHILE claiming benefits BY keeping a written record of your job search.

—New York State Department of Labor


Work Search Record

Name:  M. Tobias, aka “The Amazing M. Tobias”

Past Training & Experience: Fire Dancing. Juggling. Tumbling. Tightrope. Some experience with synchronized swimming. Was third understudy for “Banana Man” in Banana Shpeel.


1. Prospective Employer’s Name: New York Fire Department

Method of Contact:  Juggled flaming swords in front of fire chief while explaining qualifications for job.

Position Applied For: Records Clerk

Result of Contact: Sprayed with water by department hose and arrested. Received free copy of last year’s NYFD Firefighters calendar.


2. Prospective Employer’s Name: Little Jamboree Tumbler Gymnasium

Method of Contact: Former “popping” dancer from Cirque used to date the manager and sent her a message on Facebook that I would be stopping by to apply for work.

Position Applied For: Auditioned to play “Assistant Coach” for two to three-year-old “Jam Jam Tumbler” Team.

Result of Contact: Several children injured when I coached them through my signature hoop-diving technique. Possible lawsuit.


3. Prospective Employer’s Name: St. Mary’s Pool

Method of Contact: Asked lifeguard on duty if the pool was hiring after he resuscitated an older lady I accidentally kicked while practicing pendulum maneuvers.

Position Applied For: Lifeguard understudy/synchronized swimming instructor

Result of Contact: Was asked not to return to St. Mary’s Pool. Brought flowers to hospital where woman was taken following resuscitation.


4. Prospective Employer’s Name: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital

Method of Contact: Delivered flowers to Mrs. Leibstein after she was transported there following swimming pool accident. Stopped at home real quick first to change into my costume from Banana Shpeel.

Position Applied For: Hospital “Banana Man”/Emergency Room Entertainer

Result of Contact: Reviews of my performance were similar to those of the Cirque production. I still don’t see what’s so offensive about butt clenching. Received and passed Breathalyzer test.


5. Prospective Employer’s Name: James Cameron

Method of Contact: Sent Director Cameron the following postcard:

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Congratulations on World’s Away! You may remember me from the auditions—I was #476 auditioning for the part of the handsome character: Acrobat. Although I have not yet seen World’s Away, I have no doubt that it will be an incredible success and that a sequel will be forthcoming. As such, might I suggest you consider Banana Shpeel? I realize the stage production was not an overwhelming success, but this is exactly why it presents such an excellent challenge for a director of your stature. Should you wish to proceed, please know I will drop everything to reprise my role as third understudy for Banana Man.

Result of Contact: Received signed photograph of Mr. Cameron.


6. Prospective Employer’s Name: Bert’s Mid-Town Window Cleaners

Method of Contact: Climbed onto suspended scaffolding during lunch and balanced on one hand.

Position Applied For: Window Cleaner

Result of Contact: Initially evaluated as potential suicide, then hired.


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