502 Bad Gateway

502 Bad Gateway


On Monday morning newly unemployed former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson fulfilled a long-since booked obligation of speaking at Wake Forest University’s commencement address. Anybody who has endured a college graduation ceremony knows the bar is pretty damn low, and stuck there, under a metric-ton of useless platitudes. Therefore, we present the takeaways: everything you need to know about the speech.

This is one crowded job market. Abramson gave a slight, albeit indirect, warning, to those seated in front of her: “What’s next for me? I don’t know. So I’m in exactly the same boat as many of you.” Abramson obviously won’t be applying for the same jobs as these college grads, but this was a reminder about how talented, experienced and famous the crowded unemployment pool is. I don’t know how many employers want to get involved with her controversy, but I wouldn’t want to be up for the same job she is.

Getting fired will be an awfully familiar feeling. A theme of the speech was that character is demonstrated more in dark times than in positive ones. In order to relate to today’s students, many of whom don’t know the experience of being shit-canned by a company, Abramson compared her moment to “the sting of losing,” “getting dumped” and “being rejected.” This came off as a bit patronizing, I bet, to any students who have either seen their parents be downsized out of employment or, just as likely, they themselves have been fired from a campus job for routine lateness.

Jill Abramson holds onto her battle scars. Much like the Hound on Game of Thrones, Jill Abramson’s somewhat defined by bodily markings. Specifically for her, it’s a well-known tattoo she has of the New York Times‘ iconic ‘T’ logo. A tattoo, she noted, that she has no plans to get rid of. I like to believe that motivation doesn’t come where we want it from, only where we find it. It’s easy to imagine, then, this reminder of being screwed over fueling Abramson’s future.

Watch out for unintentional sarcasm. While Abramson’s speech was more or less on par or slightly better than the average ramble directed at graduating students, there was one moment that anybody considering public speaking needs to watch out for in their future. “Anita [Hill] was one of the people who wrote to me last week to say they are proud of me. Those messages are so appreciated.” Unfortunately the use of the useless word ‘so’ and her tone of voice for that line made it ring as untrue to some.

The vocal student body Gave Her an F. No matter what the talking heads say about Abramson’s speech during tonight’s news hours, students slammed the performance on an anonymous bulletin board app, Yik Yak, with one comment reading “I’d fire her.”

Henry T. Casey is a newly funemployed freelance writer, an experienced product developer, excited to finally start NBC’s Hannibal and can be found as @henrytcasey on Twitter.

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