Dear Nepotism,

Or should I call you by your new name, Networking? It was smart of you to change it. Nepotism has such a nasty sound to it, like an athlete’s-foot medication or something. But now: “Networking.” Welcome to the information age, right, Net?

They say you helped more people find a job than and the New York Times combined. It’s who you know, right? But let me tell you, it’s not just who you know, but who knows you. It’s a combination of two things. They know you and you know them.

How are you doing? I’m doing just crappy. Turned into a househusband while my wife is the breadwinner now. No job since my layoff from IBM two years ago if you don’t count my stint as a paper-delivery boy. If you think that they fired me because I was overqualified, think again. They just needed the job for the editor’s nephew. You should have stopped by and said hey, but maybe you were busy getting a million-dollar advance for Paris Hilton’s Tongue in Chic: Confessions of an Heiress. Was the TV show not enough?

I could do some writing out here in Hickland. Tongue in Ass: Confessions of a Salaryman has a nice ring to it. But the only publisher I know is the Kinko’s guy who always ignores me anyway.

Could have been that you were settling Chelsea Clinton in at her swank consulting job at McKinsey & Co.—six figures and an apartment in the London Terrace Towers in Manhattan. Heck, I don’t like Manhattan anyway. As they say, “I’m white, but my neck is red.” And I’m too claustrophobic for island life.

I’m being hard on you, but don’t worry. I’m sure there are better things in store for me. I just received a fundraising letter from G.W. Bush. That means we both know each other, right? Invoking your power, I should get a job in his administration, right? Perhaps in the engineering services of the Department of Homeland Security? Or maybe to design a website for the Iraqi prison system? Or maybe to write a speech for Mr. Rumsfeld?

So, should I buy a new tie for the interview? A red tie, right? I already have a blue suit and white shirt. I’ll send you a pic when I get the job. But don’t you change your name on me again. Once is enough.

Mark Budman