Jimmy Fallon and me

How I quit a job after 1 day and wound up on The Tonight Show.

I’m Bill Murphy Jr. Welcome to Understandably, my new regularly published email about “the story behind other stories.” I hope you will consider subscribing!

I want to share a story today that I’ve been dying to tell — something that happened a few months ago, actually, but that I didn’t learn about until afterward.

Short version, it’s how I (sort of) wound up on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

Low-grade viral

This is really a butterfly effect story. It starts a decade ago this month, when I worked for a single day at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A few hours was all it took. It was 100 percent clear that this was the WRONG job for me. I quit the next morning. I told nobody for nearly a decade.

But then last year I decided: What the heck? Things turned out okay in the long run. What am I afraid of?

So, I wrote about the whole experience for Inc.com. The story went low-grade viral. Then earlier this year, I heard from CBS Sunday Morning.

They were doing a whole show about quitting jobs. Would I want to be featured?

My 15 seconds of fame

Um, yeah. So they came to the offices of Inc. in Manhattan. The interview went well.

It turned out to be one of the last stories that reporter Tony Dokoupil did, before he became one of the co-hosts of CBS This Morning.

That promotion put a bullseye on him apparently, from the vantage point of rival network NBC.

Because, as it turns out, the chyron operator for the show I appeared in misspelled Tony’s last name in a few segments. It came out as “ToTony Dick Pill.”

And it was superimposed over some still photos of me.

Jimmy Fallon ran with it. I got my 15 seconds of fame. No, it wasn’t the least puerile joke ever. It wasn’t the way I thought I might one day wind up on The Tonight Show.

But given where I started on that fateful day back in 2009, I’ll take it.

Quick notes…

Last week was the official beta launch of Understandably, which basically means I’m all in, but still working out some of the kinks.

I have great plans for this thing, and I am so grateful to everyone who has signed up. I’m extra grateful to those who have told friends and colleagues to sign up, too.

We tripled the subscriber base in the first week, and vastly exceeded expectations for the number of people who visited the site. I’m blown away. Thank you!

There will be big news at the end of October. I’m not quite at liberty to say what’s going on yet, but I’m sure it will make this whole enterprise a lot better and more fun.

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