Unemployed for A Year

The NYPost has an upbeat article about the laid off banker who found a new job after walking the streets with a sandwich board proclaiming “MIT Grad for hire” (emphasis mine):

An out-of-work banker who became a symbol of the looming financial crisis by trudging Manhattan streets wearing a sign advertising “MIT grad for hire” has landed on his feet – scoring a well-paying job at an accounting firm.

In a more hopeful sign of the times, Joshua Persky got rid of his sandwich board and demonstrated that creative people can bail themselves out without any help from the government.

With a little over half a million unemployed in NY State (Figure for October 2008), a single white collar job for a banker is far from the positive proof the NY Post’s tone suggests (emphasis mine):

Persky was hired as a senior manager for Weiser as of last week, just about a year after he was laid off by the investment bank Houlihan Lokey and some six months after he started handing out his résumé to passers-by on Park Avenue.

This guy was out of work for a whole year.  After 6 months of presumably conventional attempts to secure a new job, Joshua Persky switched to an approach hailed by his new boss as “very innovative”.  This innovative new tact took 6 more months to land him his next gig.

Fire up a spreadsheet program and take a look at your own finances.  How many of you could live for a whole year without income?

His wife and youngest kids, 4 and 5, had moved to her parents’ home in Nebraska to save cash. But they’ll be returning to New York after the end of the school year.

Imagine adding a family to that equation minus relatives to house them.

Don’t get me wrong, we could all use some good news, whether its about an individual’s triumph or a strengthening economy.  But making this guy’s story out to be some sort of fiscal conservative fairy tale about merit paying off despite tough times is disingenuous.

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