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:
HERE, NOBODY IS “UNEMPLOYED.” YOU’RE FREELANCE CONSULTANTS WHO SIT IN CUBICLES AND EARN NO MONEY!

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
1997
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
2011
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