Judith Lederman, former publicity manager at Lord & Taylor, has found herself in an interesting position. Laid off from her job eighteen months ago, she is the centerpiece of a Forbes story published this week, “When Work Doesn’t Pay For The Middle Class.” The story looks at how a bigger paycheck or second job may not pay off in the long term for middle class workers, who with the additional income, would get taxed at a much higher rate. From the story:
[Lederman] is ready to consider jobs paying half the $120,000 she earned as a publicity manager at Lord & Taylor. That’s mostly because she’s desperate, but it also makes sense when you consider how this country punishes work effort. While the first $60,000 of her income would be lightly taxed, the next $60,000 would be hit with what is in effect a 79% tax rate. Given a choice between a part-time or easy job paying $60,000 and a demanding, stress-ridden job paying $120,000, Lederman would be wise to take the former.
Lederman believes the story mis-characterized her position and took to her blog to give her point of view. “The person described in the cleverly-worded article in Forbes is not me! Instead of painting me as someone seeking an appropriate salary so she could support herself, it portrays me as someone who is torn between the prospect of being employed and being eligible for tax breaks, college scholarships and other incentives. It simply isn’t so. It never was. In the online story, not a single quote of mine was published. My quotes would have painted a very different picture,” she wrote.
There are a few things worth noting here. First, is it worthwhile to publicly challenge a reporter on your blog, and do any positive results come out of this practice? Second, if Lederman is looking for a PR job, what does it say about her PR skills that she couldn’t properly handle her own media relations and personal image? Yes, the reporter could have very well taken things out of context, but it was Lederman who agreed to have the conversation in the first place. Perhaps should would have been better served to decline the interview or at least halt it when she felt things weren’t going in the right direction?