CEO Severance for the Wall Street Journal

Last month, I shadowed Paul Joegriner for a story that ran on the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.  Once again, they did a nice job with both the article and slideshow.

It’s becoming slightly redundant for me to say that I enjoyed my day following so and so around, because I always enjoy it. Even when it’s a 14-hour day and I have a head cold and want to go home and curl up in bed and my subject is being difficult, I genuinely enjoy it.  Sometimes in order to do so, I have to remind myself that I am being paid to take pictures.  If that ain’t as good as it gets, I don’t know what is.

Anyhow, Paul wasn’t a difficult subject and I didn’t have a head cold, so I had a great time.  I met him in the morning at his home while he was getting ready to go to a job fair.  He has been unemployed since march 2008 when he was laid off from his $200,000/year CEO position at a bank and has been seeking a comparable position ever since.

joe1We stopped by 7-11 in the morning where Paul likes to go regularly for cheap coffee.  He saves the cup and gets cheaper refills.  I asked him why not make coffee at home, and he said that he got into the habit of attending this neighborhood 7-11 when he started his job search and needed an excuse to get out of the house.

joe3Paul waits in line at the job fair, which attracted a LOT of people.

joe2Paperwork.  Lots of application forms to fill out.

joe4The bizarre standing interview.  It was just uncomfortable to watch.

joe5Picking up dinner:  Paul got the steaks on sale, naturally.

joe6Dinner at the neighbors:  the family says grace.

joe7And at the end of the day, it’s all about doing right by your family.

There was a lot of vitriol in the comments section directed toward Paul- 275 comments worth at last count.  He’d turned down some job offers that seemed pretty great on the surface, but as he explained it to me, they left him vulnerable to financial ruin among other things.  I don’t know the specifics, but I’m hardly in a position to pass judgement.  I turned down a perfectly good life as a civil servant/lawyer/businessperson/whatever to lead a life where I will probably always earn a modest income- but I love what I do and therefore never have to work a day in my life.  I would turn down a thousand higher paying office jobs to keep doing what I’m doing.

Good luck, Paul.

3 thoughts

  1. Thamks for the gerat post. I always try to bookmark financially related posts like this one.

  2. Who cares really? n the scope of the entire economy and unemployment, Joegriner is just one of the victims. There are millions out there who suffers just like he does… and their stories are never heard.

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