A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 13, 2012
“I’m not unemployed—I’m a consultant”

"I’m not unemployed—I’m a consultant” is a popular T-shirt saying. A consultant can be in a self-employed, one-person business. Employment for a consultant can be irregular, on a part-time or a full-time basis—if there is any employment at all.

The saying “I’m not unemployed—I’m a consultant” has been cited on T-shirts since at least 1997-98.

Dilbert (comic strip) by Scott Adams
August 19, 1994
Panel Two:

Google Books
Engineer’s Guide to Lifelong Employability
By the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Employment Assistance Committee.
Washington, DC: Employment Assistance Committee, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, United States Activities
Pg. 117:
A few engineers even poked fun at themselves by wearing Dogbert T-shirts that said, “I’m not unemployed. I’m a consultant.” The title “consultant” includes a variety of full- or part-time employment arrangements.

2 February 1998, National Public Radio, “Microsoft Dominance”:
It’s like that great Dilbert t-shirt, “I’m not unemployed, I’m a consultant.” It’s the way of the future.

6 August 1998, Washington (DC) Post, “Still More: The Best T-Shirts of 1998” by Bob Levey, pg. C16:
“I’m Not Unemployed—I’m a Consultant”—Dianne Zeitler, of Ellicott City, who admits to being a consultant.

Google Books
Consulting on the Inside:
A Practical Guide for Internal Consultants

By Beverly Scott and B. Kim Barnes
ASTD Press
Pg. 3:
As a result of their outsider status, consultants are often the target of some good-natured ribbing. One T-shirt proclaims “I’m not unemployed, I’m a consultant!” (S. Adams). 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Friday, July 13, 2012 • Permalink