Ted’s Excellent New TV Adventure

It didn’t take Ted Koppel long to land another job. He’s now the managing editor of Discovery Networks, better known to you, me and other basic cable television aficionados for its flagship Discovery Channel. It sounds like Koppel will be doing much of what he was with Nightline: documentaries, town meetings and specials on breaking news.

Sure, a lot of people have always snickered at Koppel’s hair. His coiffure is right up there with The Donald’s for its “why?” factor. But no one ever questioned Koppel’s journalistic credibility and dedication to his craft.

It was sad to see Nightline shift gears late last year, although I must admit that I often spent that time slot watching Dave deliver wisecracks. But I knew, or thought, that Ted would always be there on ABC when I needed the comfort of an in-depth look at one of the day’s jarring events. So much for programming presumption, eh?

I remember watching the show from the beginning, before nonstop cable stations were de rigueur and the show was “America Held Hostage.” But back 1979, unlike the names given to today’s sweeps features, such a sensational title didn’t seem so smarmy. It was how we felt and it was almost a requirement that you not go to sleep until Ted told you about the horrible circumstances of the folks being held by Iranian extremists.

Little did I know that in a few years, I’d no longer be watching Ted on TV in my West Texas apartment, but would be walking along the same street with him in Washington, D.C., as if he were just a normal person.

I, of course, didn’t react like a normal person. I stared, smiled goofily and the minute I got back to my office, called my husband to blather, “I just saw Ted Koppel on Connecticut Avenue!”

I suspect Ted is glad his new job is still in the D.C. area (Discovery is based out of Silver Spring, Md., just north of the District) so he can continue to hobnob with Capitol Hill denizens, visit his favorite D.C. restaurants (now that he’ll be in the ‘burbs I strongly suggest he also give Silver Spring’s own Crisfield a try) and thrill big-city newcomers by merely walking down the street.

And I’m glad that I’ll still have the chance to see Koppel and crew (many of his ABC colleagues are going with him) continue their fine reports.

Ted, of course, is one of the lucky ones when it comes to job hunting. Since he’s good at what he does and one of the few people who can do it, he was being heavily courted by many media outlets. Most of us, when looking for new employment, have to pound a lot pavement. The one good thing about a job search is that in many instances, the related expenses are tax deductible.

The key: Your hunt for new work must be in the same field in which you’re currently employed.

Second, you can’t decide take a sabbatical and then try to write off job hunt costs after your spouse pushes you back on the career track. The Internal Revenue Service specifically says it won’t allow deductions for employment-search costs when there is a “substantial break” between your last job and when you began looking for a new one.

Finally, this break is for those already running the rat race. Sorry, new graduate; you can’t write off what it cost you to land your first job.

But for people who do meet IRS requirements to deduct job-hunt costs, here are some expenses you can claim:

� Employment and outplacement agency fees
� Resume services
� Printing and mailing costs of search letters
� Want-ad placement fees
� Telephone calls
� Travel expenses, including out-of-town job-hunting trips

Just be sure to hang onto receipts. These costs are classified as miscellaneous itemized deductions and are claimed on Schedule A. And you might need a lot of receipts. Before you can subtract your miscellaneous deductions, the total must come to more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

But if you’re really pounding the pavement for a new job, your job-hunt expenses might just be enough to get you over that threshold.

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