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Kay S. Hymowitz
Steve Jobs and Other Dirty Hippies « Back to Story

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So if everyone aged 18 to 25 now goes to engineering school, we will end up with complete and total social and economic restoration and glory...

...rather than a passel of unemployed engineers?

Ms. Hymowitz really needs to pull her head out of the sand. Mr. Therrien's problem isn't that he didn't go to engineering school. It's that his work ethic was not equal to his life's passions. Then he was offered in the form of the "occupy" Internet meme an easy stage to act out his frustrations, puppet-like. In fact his life may now roll down the path of commercializing this meme. Others have beat him to it in the realms of t-shirts and iPhone skins, but I haven't yet seen anyone hiring children in Chinese labor camps to crank out a line of official licensed Occupy giant puppets.
Reminds me of Robert Schumann, who was pressured by his parents to study law, but he dropped out to become - a composer, of all things! It worked out for him somehow.
Kenny and Peter,
Didn't you read Hymowitz's article? She made the very point you imply you are supplementing; follow your dreams if you dare, but it's your responsibility.
When I open your RSS feed it puts up a whole lot of strange characters, is the deal on my end?
I just wish we could get out of the "you can do anything you want to do" paradigm. Even though I grew up in the '50s (not nearly as bad as the leftists want us to believe) my mom constantly told me that and I don't think the message is all that helpful and should be altered to "you probably can do more than you think". As you pointed out, your successful examples of oddball choices are exceptions. I know it's hard hearted but there has to be a stiff shot of realism to go along with anyone's aspirations. American Idol proves that!!!
Dear Ms. Hymowitz,

I really enjoyed your "review" ofSteve Jobs' life. I too, followed my passion, as I set up a "plan B". I came home from Vietnam all fired up to "help the people". I feel entitled to support as I did this at all and pursued nursing as a pathway of support that would allow me to follow my passion. For the last 35 years, I've mostly worked part-time evening and night shifts, as I set up free clinics and supervised soup kitchens during the days. I was starting to think about retirement in a few years when my personal "black swan" alighted in my life.

Three years ago, I come down with an inflamed gall bladder. I was to have it removed in my employer's operating rooms and planned on returning to my nursing position in three weeks or so. The hospital's surgeon botched the gall bladder removal, landing me in a septic coma, on a respirator, for 28 days. I came as close to death as a human being can. After awakening, I spent another month recovering. As I did this, as I regained my wits, I felt comfortable that my Catholic employer would "take care of me" as, after all, I had suffered injury at their hands. Is this a feeling of "entitlement"?

The day before I was discharged to stagger home on a walker, to finish recovering; my head nurse came to me in tears. I was to be FIRED the next month, as I "could no long do the work"! As I had laid in the hospital bed, trying to figure out "what happens next", being tossed into the street with all my benefits, including health insurance, stripped away, was NOT among the options I was considering. Too many years of seeing their "values" on the walls, hearing the 8AM and 8PM loud-speaker prayers and having my hands anointed with Holy Oil during Nurse's Week had lulled me into believing I was "entitled" to some assistance as I recovered from the injury that their doctor had inflicted upon me. A great example of a "black swan"!

THAT is the corporate behaviour that has ME supporting OWS! Too many corporations, both non-profit and for-profit, are behaving like THEY are the entitled ones! I am currently crippled for life, having failed at my attempt at the first desk job I've ever held, after being maimed by my previous employer. I am applying for Social Security Disability at this time.

Thank you for a great tribute to Steve Jobs and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Matthew Parkhouse
Dear Ms. Hymowitz,

I really enjoyed your "review" ofSteve Jobs' life. I too, followed my passion, as I set up a "plan B". I came home from Vietnam all fired up to "help the people". I feel entitled to support as I did this at all and pursued nursing as a pathway of support that would allow me to follow my passion. For the last 35 years, I've mostly worked part-time evening and night shifts, as I set up free clinics and supervised soup kitchens during the days. I was starting to think about retirement in a few years when my personal "black swan" alighted in my life.

Three years ago, I come down with an inflamed gall bladder. I was to have it removed in my employer's operating rooms and planned on returning to my nursing position in three weeks or so. The hospital's surgeon botched the gall bladder removal, landing me in a septic coma, on a respirator, for 28 days. I came as close to death as a human being can. After awakening, I spent another month recovering. As I did this, as I regained my wits, I felt comfortable that my Catholic employer would "take care of me" as, after all, I had suffered injury at their hands. Is this a feeling of "entitlement"?

The day before I was discharged to stagger home on a walker, to finish recovering; my head nurse came to me in tears. I was to be FIRED the next month, as I "could no long do the work"! As I had laid in the hospital bed, trying to figure out "what happens next", being tossed into the street was NOT among the options I was considering. Too many years of seeing their "values" on the walls, hearing the 8AM and 8PM loud-speaker prayers and having my hands anointed with Holy Oil during Nurse's Week had lulled me into believing I was "entitled" to some assistance as I recovered from the injury that their doctor had inflicted upon me. A great example of a "black swan"!

THAT is the corporate behaviour that has ME supporting OWS! Too many corporations are being like THEY are the entitled ones! I am currently crippled for life,having failed at the first desk job I've ever held. I am applying for Social Security Disability at this time.

Thank you for a great tribute to Steve Jobs and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Matthew Parkhouse
Wildly inaccurate to say "Jobs was never an electronics geek like his friend and partner.." According to the bio, Jobs was an early builder of Heathkits, frequency counters, and other complex circuitry. Though not the whiz that was Woz, he was definitely a geek.
The media leeds people to believe that everyone can expect instant success. Steve Jobs was working at Hewlett-Packard while he was in high school - Bill Gates was programming on a computer at a university when he was in high school. They were brilliant, encouraged and had access to technology the rest of us couldn't imagine existing at the time and that's where they excelled. Where does the guru fit in? who knows. Without the tech skills of his partners, perhaps he'd be doing nice caligraphy some where and there would still be some cool computers for us to purchase.
A friend of mine:
•Dropped out of high school,
•Got a GED,
•Joined the Army,
•Went through Special Forces (Green Beret) qualification,
•Then went through Selection for one of the “long haired teams” (like Delta but not Delta, they were in Tehran waiting on Delta).
•Ended his enlistment and started Community College
•Worked 40 hours a week in construction as a drywaller and carried a full course load – maintaining a 4.0 GPA the entire time.
•Transferred to a University.
•Worked 40 hours a week in construction as a drywaller and carried a full course load – maintaining a 4.0 GPA the entire time.
•Transferred again and got a Master and Doctorate degree,
•Don’t know if he worked outside of school then,
•He is currently a Professor at a major university in the South East
We Americans afford ourselves great opportunity to excel. We can also fail. Whining about how tuff it is gets in the way of succeeding.
I currently live in a country with an average annual income of $9,700 (2007) and an unemployment rate of 42% (2007). Pretty much everyone here would love to live in the U.S. and they all, probably, could make it work without government handouts (god knows they don’t get them here).
"I could barely suppress a guffaw when a friend told me that her daughter was going to “circus college” a few years ago. Joke’s on me: the daughter is now a trapeze artist for Cirque du Soleil in Florida."

Come on!

What is this suppose to mean, that the kid made the right decision to run off and join the circus because she now has a circus job???

The reality is that probably for every hurdred or so that do something like this, one is successful. That does not mean we should look the surviving one as some sort of example.

The far more common story is that of the failed puppeteer, Joey Therrien.

Let people do what they want but they shouldn't expect the taxpayer to pick them up when their dreams flop. To do so would create a moral hazard beyond belief.

Is the Trappist monk still alive? I want to meet him ....
If you want to become a puppeteer then fine, go for it. Following your own path should be encouraged, not sneered at, but taking that path entails some responsibility. As I was always reminded of growing up, the world doesn't owe you a living. Following your passion is no guarantee of success, but blaming others for that failure is a cop-out. Can you imagine Steve Jobs protesting today in Joe Therrien's position? Not on your life. Jobs would have got on with his next project, looking ahead towards what he can do rather than bewailing his misfortune at what he couldn't.
Therrien's problem is also that he amassed $30k worth of student loans, which debt ties his hands if he tries to "follow his passion." It's a lot easier to wander the world with your backpack, with no debt.
The problem I have with the notion that it is OK to "follow your passion" like the puppeteer Joe Therrien is that so few of those who do that come good in the end. Steve Jobs, the trapeze artist and the blues singer are exceptions to the fact that without a plan B the risk of ultimate failure of those who strive to be trapeze artists or singers is colossal. There are far more Joe Therriens walking around (and occupying Wall Street) that there are Steve Jobs. My son has just finished law school. He currently has no intention of practising law and is enrolled to study broadcasting next semester. But at least if he bombs as a broadcaster he will have a fallback position.
Pete from Baltimore November 22, 2011 at 9:30 PM
A good and interesting article. But i have to say that ive got nothing against someone who gets a Masters in Pupperty. but i also cant give this person much sympathy if he cant find a job.Especially right out of college

I had to work almost 20 years as a construction laborer before i could start my own construction company.And im still a laborer[which i dont mind being] .Just a laborer who is in charge of the company.

My point is that dreams can take years to achieve. Too many collage kids seem to assume that they are going to,and deserve to, get thier "dream job" as soon as they graduate from college.

But thats not how the real world works.and as this article points out, one's "dream job" when they are 22, may not be thier "dream job" when they are 30 or 40