Unemployed blogger called out for his sins

Joe and me... like my hat? (courtesy of http://exit78.com/)

Joe and me... like my hat? (courtesy of http://exit78.com/)

Some people like me, and some people don’t. And most couldn’t care less one way or the other about some unemployed blogger and his thoughts. That’s the way the world works. But once in a great while someone spits so much venom my way that I wonder if I wronged them in a previous life. Maybe I was Genghis Khan and he a Mongolian foot soldier I placed in charge of animal dung collection. Who can say? That was a long time ago in a faraway land, and I had a very large army to run. The task needed to be done, so I delegated. Raiding dynasties is tough enough without having to worry about the hurt feelings of some nomadic tribesman or other.

In a comment to my post “The recession is over, but high unemployment remains,” a reader named Joe makes it abundantly clear what he thinks of me and my blog. And it isn’t good. It’s actually pretty far from good. Here’s what he wrote…

your blog disgusts me plain and simple. Settling for less than you deserve? “This is a smaller step. I’m now applying for positions beneath my pay grade and skill level, even entry-level if the company is in a strong growth field”? Who do you think you are. I have an MBA myself from Sloan, yes MIT Sloan, and it’s laughable to think we are entitled to 200K annually because of a piece of paper. I used to make $400K/yr in NYC at a boutique investment firm, but was laid off a year ago.I was unemployed but settled for $80K annually in Dallas,Tx with an oil and gas firm with room to grow. Your blog is hilarious I think bc it shows your true colors. You’re a snot of an MBA like everyone else, and no you are not entitled to anything…..yes, no job is beneath you Norm.

[Note: I’ve added quotes to the above to distinguish my blog excerpt from his comments, and a link.]

It’s always nice to hear from one of my fans. So I thank Joe for gleaning so much about me from a blog post, applying his superior and highly valued intellect to my words and revealing my true colors to the world. I’ve been exposed as a disgusting, undeserving snot. In fact, let me take the Norm-bashing to the logical next step. Tomorrow at 3:00 pm I will stand on my fire escape in Queens – where entitled MBAs and first-generation immigrants commingle – so the world can hurl epithets and rotten fruit at me. I only ask that people aim high. Oh yeah, and no mangoes. Those things really hurt, tasty though they are.

In the meantime, since I’ve been called out on my own site, let’s examine some of Joe’s points, shall we? I have an MBA from Fordham University. Fordham is a solid school, but it’s not MIT by any stretch. That’s okay; we can’t all be as smart and modest as Joe. I’m still proud to have earned my graduate degree. I worked full-time and went to school nights for four years to get it. But at the moment, the only real proof of my investment is a piece of paper, some hefty student loans and perhaps an inflated sense of my worth in the marketplace.

The idea behind grad school was to make myself more employable. That has worked out in some ways and not in others. A graduate degree did increase my paycheck by about 40%. But in my best year that never approached six figures, let alone $200K or $400K. All MBAs don’t work at investment banks or make high salaries. Many have pursued jobs in communications, public service, non-profit or, like me, marketing, and “settled for $80K annually” or less. An $80K a year annual paycheck would be a step up for a lot of us. Does my career path and earnings history make me a sucker or a fool? Quite possibly. Maybe I should’ve grabbed my share while I could… if I could. I’ll never know. I thought it important to follow my interests where they led. The music industry tanked, so that didn’t work out so well. Nor did my degree make me any less expendable, what with my last three positions ending in layoff. That’s something I plan to work at when hired again. In the grand scheme of things, my MBA, as an investment, appears to be a wash.

As Joe delicately points out, I’m not entitled to anything. I agree. I’m not, aside from certain inalienable rights that I came up with in another previous life. Today’s world reminds me over and over, all day, everyday that nothing comes easy, lest I forget. It’s up to me to make it happen. This is part of what makes unemployment so hard to take. I feel like a skilled and capable worker who can offer value. I’m qualified for the positions I seek. My experience, education and skill set support that, but my continued unemployment refutes it. So “I’m now applying for positions beneath my pay grade and skill level, even entry-level if the company is in a strong growth field.” There’s no shame in this, though I am over-qualified.

My continued unemployment says I’m worthless, at least on bad days in my own head. Joe would probably agree. But I know where I fit, and I don’t want to sell myself short. There’s a big difference between qualified and entitled. Though both lead to disappointment in this job market. Many other people of various education levels and job histories feel the same way – disappointed. Some write blog posts to work through their issues. Some read blogs for another perspective. And some assume they know everything and lash out to mask their own insecurities and fears. At least that’s my take from reading Joe’s comments. Because one blog post, or one paragraph of comments based on assumptions and riddled with errors, can define a person.

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  1. Tina wrote:

    You nailed it Norm…on levels you didn’t even mention (from my perspective). Everyone’s situation is different. It’s an interesting study to read such narrow minded views Karma…Karma…Kara

    Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 2:18 am | Permalink
  2. Tammy wrote:

    The picture makes this post priceless!

    Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Joe wrote:

    You’re spinning things the wrong way. I never said you were worthless, but you said an awful lot like alot of my old MBA colleagues who won’t settle for anything under 6 figures because that’s what they’re used to earning. I know the feeling of being laid off, you don’t think I want to keep making high 6 figures? Of course I’d love to, but it’s not available right now so I took a job in Texas where the taxes and standard of living are much lower. The money I make here goes quite far actually, I’ve been here 5 months with no complaints. The thing I get mad about reading your blog is the fact you seem to have some entitlement that you won’t take jobs that don’t seem to interest you. Well I hate to break it to you but there’s approximately 6.5 applicants for every job available today, so you can’t be too picky. I think you’re a smart guy and definitely not worthless, I just think you have an ego issue which nearly all my MBA friends have too. I’m not going to act like I’m some blue collar kinda guy, but I could have easily sat in Manhattan, unemployed, and doing the whole Peter Luger steaks with money I don’t have thing like alot of other I-bankers I know. Instead I sucked up my pride and moved to a city where I know nobody, for a job that is well beneath my skill level. I just hope to use this as a stepping stone into whatever venture I go into next! Good luck to you Norm and God Bless

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  4. Patte wrote:

    Joe has some real self-loathing issues and is lashing out at the wrong person. even though my MBA was not financially worth it, education is never a waste.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  5. Deadhedge wrote:

    Hi Norm,
    I’m an MBA (Wharton MBA while we’re laying our cards on the table) and have been with snotty and non-snotty members just like you and Joe.

    Since Joe doesn’t have a monopoly on making snap judgements, I would venture that Joe reminds of some of my classmates with an inflated sense of himself that he can point his cold finger of a blog comment at anyone and judge. His tale of ill fortune is better than anyone else’s tale and his redemption is twice as good as the redemption of anyone else.

    I like your blog a lot, you combine humor and humility brilliantly, best of luck with your job search.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  6. enidb wrote:

    Your blog and your writing raised emotions from somebody. That’s a good thing and gives you more to discuss.

    Monday, October 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  7. seoulman wrote:


    Lighten up. Nothing in Norm’s post implies he feels he’s entitled to anything but a chance to be happy doing what he’s doing. Don’t wear your suffering and sacrifice like some badge of honor when all it serves to do is feed your own ego. You’re not the better man because you chose to move and take a job that simply represents a paycheck to you while Norm has decided to stick it out and see if he can stay in a city he loves and get a job doing what he wants to do. I actually know Norm on a personal level (since elementary school actually) and if you are playing the entitlement card with him you are really barking up the wrong tree. Bottom line for those who don’t know Norm is that he is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known and has never expected to be handed anything.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  8. jay lee wrote:

    Joe may make a lot of money, but apparently his MBA did not teach him to type or write properly.

    Looking like an ass? Priceless.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  9. BigDaddyCool wrote:


    I have to tell you that you sound like a lot of people out there who criticize those of us who are still out of work, yet treat jobs as if they were handouts to bums on the street. It is easy for someone who has a job to criticize someone who is still trying to get a job, and it also smacks of hypocracy. Norm is not one of your old MBA buddies and it is wrong of you to compare him to them.

    I hate to break it to you Joe, but it is not about being picky. It is about going after the job(s) that you know you have the qualifications for to increase your chances of landing said job. To just apply for anything and everything is not only demoralizing but also, in some cases, a complete waste of time and energy that can be better utilized elsewhere. There are times when a laser-like focus can work to your advantage, and this job market is one of them. It makes no sense for an MBA to apply for work operating a forklift when they have neither the training or experiance. The employer will consider that applicant to be wasting their time – trust me, I know whereof I speak!!!

    Psychologists define “Projection” as “accusing someone of exhibiting behavior that you yourself engage in.” I would say Joe that you are projecting your own ego onto Norm and are trying to make him responsible for your feelings. Don’t pretend that you are better than Norm or anyone else out here just because you “sucked up your pride” for a job that is “well beneath your skill level.” Hey, congratulations, you are one of the lucky ones – at least you have a job!!! Now that you have said job you might want to consider pulling your head out of your ass!!!

    By the way, Norm wasn’t spinning things the wrong way – he was spinning them his way. Just because it is wrong for you doesn’t mean that it is wrong for everybody else. I think that your original post shows your true colors, and I know that this will probably fall of deaf ears, but here’s some advice…

    GROW UP!!!!!!

    Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  10. Kelby2012 wrote:


    Sorry I am late for the party, but I have to side with the author. I have two Masters, MBA and Information Systems, BS in Math and 12 yr of IT experience. I was fortunate to break the 100k mark in salary several times during my career; however, I never felt a sense of entitlement. I felt I earning my salary through hard work and skillset. Being unemployed these days is such an emotional rollercoaster for me. Dealing with HR folks and recruiters can be so frickin frustrating. I spend so much energy trying to convince them that because I haven’t worked with a particular software shouldn’t disqualify me from a particular job.

    I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, I have to dumb down my resume to apply for lower levels jobs that I have done in the past, and doctor up my resume to get interviews for jobs that are on my professional level.

    I think the author is on point with his commentary. I know there are many other dis-enfranchised individuals that feel the way he does. I certainly can relate, and it pisses me off when employed folks look at me and say why can’t you get a job at Walmart. I wish there was an easy fix for this job recovery mess that the country is in. Being unemployed sucks enough without employed a-holes making it worse.

    Friday, October 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  11. Peninah Birungi wrote:

    just been Reading through all yo comments whoa
    am unemployed well i have to read more


    Friday, February 26, 2010 at 5:55 am | Permalink
  12. aaron m. wrote:

    i wish i were in a position to “settle for” 80k like some people.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:47 am | Permalink

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