Fighting To Be Himself

At 15, high school sophomore Hatuey Rodriguez could spend his afternoons doing plenty of other things. Instead, each day, this aspiring photographer travels more than an hour from the leafy suburban enclave of Fort Lee, New Jersey to the gritty streets of South Bronx to box.

“I just want to be able to protect myself” he says. “A lot of kids in school are always starting trouble. I’m like ‘dude it’s Fort Lee, not Newark’. But suburban kids want to be tough.”

In addition to boxing, Hatuey studies the guitar and makes documentary films at the Maysles Institute in Harlem. “Knowing how to fight makes life easier” he says. “You don’t have to spend your time worrying about certain things, so you can just be yourself. Being cool in High School is not everything.”


Journalism Jobs And Classes Of 2011/ 2012 Plans

By Orlando Rodriguez

Although the market for journalism jobs within long-standing platforms, such as traditional print, may be shrinking, the emergence of new technology in the past two years is beginning to brighten up a once gloomy forecast. Consumer items like the Nook, Kindle and IPad are giving new life to the publishing industry, without all of the overhead. These technologies may put your corner newspaper hawker out of business, but not the content creators, editors, graphic artists an aspiring publishers. Actually because of the ease that a blogger can now bring his product to market, there now exist other income producing avenues for the journalist beyond the traditional write for a paycheck model.

This emerging diversity creates more choices for the individual J-School student. Some J-School students may crave the security of a weekly check under florescent lights, while others want to sweat out freelancing in the summer sunshine.

Since the classes of 2011 and 2012 have so many individual goals and paths, we’ve created this little survey to get an idea of how divergent the paths are of our CUNY J-School students really are.

The survey is below.

J.O.B.S. – J.ust B.asic S.kill

By Orlando Rodriguez. Photo Source: Wikipedia Commons. U.S. Public Domain.

When I was young. My grandmother always used to always greet me with her muffled accent and this dreaded phrase: “Are you working?!”

Most of the time, it usually came after “Hello”, but before “how are you?” This unless my mother was sick, if someone died or if there was an horrible earthquake.

To her and my aunts, a job was more important than having functioning genitals. You could pee on yourself, but if you had a job, at least you could buy new clothes.

Because of this emphasis on employment, the word “Work”, and any variation of it, “working” or “worker”, became a root word in my crosshairs. I vowed to never become a worker, even if Karl Marx came back to life and said he had a sack of unmarked bills. I would never toil for pay of any kind by fulfilling a piece of another person’s vision.

Of course, this isn’t practical. Helping an organization, for compensation, is inevitable in a service based economy. However, the odds are greater that you will always find yourself working at ‘jobs’, if you have just one basic skill.

To avoid this, you must master what you love to do. Malcolm Gladwell, calls this in his last book, ‘Outliers’ the ‘Ten-Thousand Hour Rule.’ Transferable skill mastery equals more financial independence than performing a Fordian conveyor belt task, that you have no passion for.

That means playing toward your strengths. If you like to gossip, get followers for your Twitter posts on everyone else’s business. If you addicted to Facebook, use your network of friends to gauge trends through viral marketing. If you can’t keep your opinions to yourself, write ’em on a Word Press blog or a Paper Li publication.

If some of the best graphic artists, started out writing graffiti, why wouldn’t the next great directors and advertisers, come from YouTube?

Don’t let your skills get overlooked.

Workers on a Henry Ford designed assembly line, 1913

“Pass This Bill, Right Away”

By Orlando Rodriguez

As President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act to the nation, reaction, at least on the Congressional floor was….strange to say the least.

As Jennifer Steinhauer pointed out in her piece in the New York Times, it was hard to gage how this notoriously partisan congress is going to tackle the passing of this bill “right away”, as the president said at least 6 times in his speech.

The presidents wife, Michelle Obama, looked quite unhappy. As did Hillary Clinton, who looked like she was thinking, “I would have done better”. Maybe. This is all imaginary speculation.

John Boehner, as could be expected, made sure to keep on his “I’m not impressed, I have ants in my pants” look consistant. As did Rand Paul, minus the ants. Harry Reid looked happy, which was strange. The presidents plan called for a reduction in taxes.

As far as specifics go, we will have to wait until Monday to here the details of how the plan will work. But for now we have the speech.

The anti-reaction was swift. With ABC News reporting David Stockman, a former aide under president Reagan saying the plan was “Keynesian poison.” I guess maybe he was hoping for more University of Chicago/ Milton Friedman approach. Wonder if the installation of a dictator would help sway his opinion.

Forbes magazine, a great supporter of the president (tongue in cheek) reported that markets “were tanking” in response to the speech. Not sure if that can be definitive, particularly given Steve Forbes hate-affair with the president.

The News Corp owned Wall Street Journal also framed the story in a similar way. Indicating that investors were not convinced that the American Jobs Act would turn the economy around. I guess investors that read the journal would feel more confident if reporters hacked into congress-peoples phones to know how they might vote on the plan.

Zachary Karabell over at The Daily Beast took an opposing viewpoint. Stating that we cannot blame the president for economic instability. His premise was that the roller coaster on Wall Street is due more to uncertainty surrounding Europe’s economic crisis, rather than our own.

Never the less we shall wait and see if the plan, which calls for lower payroll taxes, will gain some traction over the long run in winning investor confidence, as well as with the American people.

Unemployment Assets

By Orlando Rodriguez

Unemployment can be looked at as a half empty situation, and if you listen to think tanks who rile against social safety nets, you can feel guilty collecting a check.

But as long as you are doing your due diligence to create cash flow and not out beach combing, look at your unemployment check as a base salary that helps you to go out and build up income producing assets.

In New York City there are plenty of ways to take advantage and sharpen your tools so your crops can harvest.

Here are a few places that you can find some seeds:

1. Workforce 1

Workforce centers assist with resume writing, job search and interviewing skills and the like. They also offer training grants that will help pay for certifications.

2. U.S. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration will help you write a business plan, obtain funding and get training.


The City University of New York offers one of the most affordable college deals in the nation. You can help yourself by obtaining a degree that will help your marketability.

4. Wall Street

Stockbroker trainee positions are commission only and your unemployment check will serve as a safety net while you work on the first deal. The Greico Financial Training Institute is one place that provides the necessary FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) securities licensing classes to qualify you for your series 7, 24 and 63 licenses.

5. Real Estate

You can take full advantage of your Unemployment Insurance to learn the ropes in real estate, build a clientele and work a sale, which can take 6 months. Obtaining your license is easy, especially since you have the time. The New York Real Estate Institute offers the most flexible (and fastest) tracks to your obtaining your legal qualification.

There of course are more ways, to make your time on UI count. Its all about finding a diamond in the rough.