cry-baby.jpgWhen I got out of college I was faced with a harsh reality: It wasn’t easy to get a job for a major newspaper in New York.

I was rejected by some, never replied to by others. And soon I realized my dream of becoming a big city reporter would take longer than I, well, dreamed.

Surely someone was to blame for my failure.

Maybe my parents. They both immigrated from Istanbul, Turkey, and struggled to learn the language. Aside from making us speak Greek growing up, which gave me a huge disadvantage when it came to writing and reading in English, they had no connections to New York’s publishing empire.

OK, so my mom was always encouraging of what ever I wanted to do, but my dad thought journalism was a trash profession. He did come around eventually and was proud as hell of me, but hey, his early negativism could have doomed me starting out.

What about the system? I was a first-generation Greek-Turkish kid without a fancy Ivy League degree. What did the editors think when they saw my name on my resume “TAHMINCIOGLU”. That was probably working against me.

It must have been my university. Not one professor at Hofstra University told me how hard it would be to land a job at a newspaper or any publication for that matter. They just spent all their time teaching me crap about the profession.

There are many reasons for my failures in my life. I could write a book about them. Don’t get me started on my bad acne problem.

Alas, no one gives a rat’s patootie about why you failed.

You can whine about the reasons until the cows come home but typically you get zippo sympathy.

That’s what’s happening to poor Trina Thompson. If you haven’t heard about her yet, she’s the New York city grad who’s suing her college because she can’t find a job.

From the Associated Press:

Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court. The 27-year-old is seeking the $70,000 she spent on tuition.

Thompson says she’s been unable to find gainful employment since she received her information technology degree in April.

I understand her frustration. There’s a lot of marketing by educational institutions lately to all the poor souls who are out of work, or wondering how to find better jobs. Email boxes everywhere are overflowing with ads from colleges, universities and online institutions hawking their educational programs as career nirvana.

(I tell people all the time these programs may not be right for everyone so think long and hard before you sign up. Here’s a link to a story I did on online courses.)

It would be nice if we could hold their feet to the fire after we pony up the big bucks for a degree, but that’s not how it works.

We can’t blame others for our failure even if in some way they are to blame for it.

Successful people are the ones that rise above challenges and blame. I have a whole chapter in my book, “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office”, that looked at the many challenges leaders faced. One guy’s dad was a raging alcoholic, another CEO was an amputee, yet another stuttered throughout his youth and stutters until this day.

Boy, they had a lot to blame. But did they, no.

I hate to say it, but we parents should be slapped around for putting these let’s-blame-someone-for-our-challenges bologna into kid’s heads. Our kids feel entitled and that’s because we’ve entitled them.

Trina’s mom has come to her defense, according to the New York Post:

“She’s angry,” said Thompson’s mother, Carol. “She’s very angry at her situation. She put all her faith in them, and so did I. They’re not making an effort.”

Ah, effort.

It’s that pesky little thing that actually does get us what we want in life.

I’m guessing Trina didn’t get an “A” for effort in school.

(UPDATE: ONLINE DEGREE SCAM WARNING
Speaking about useless education, I just got this email for a spokeswoman at the Better Business Bureau on online degree scams:
BBB has received complaints from students across the country who paid hundreds of dollars for a diploma—one person even paid $1,400 for a Doctorate of Medicine degree—but later received the bad news from college admissions offices, potential employers and military recruiters that their credentials were worthless.
Here are the four websites the BBB is cautioning consumers to be wary about -
*Belford High School
*Belford University
*Jefferson High School Online
*Vencer High School Online)

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