Why I Have A Job: the American Studies major who tiptoed her way into employment

alex

This is what happy employment looks like.

Name: Alexandria

Major(s): American Studies and English

What I do all day: I’m a contract writer for a weekly newspaper, and I work from home. I wake up whenever the trucks start unloading outside my apartment (usually around 10). If I don’t have a story to work on, I read blogs, call contacts, check social calendars, and talk to friends in order to figure out what to write about next. If I’m already working on a story, I usually spend a big chunk of the day researching and reporting and interviewing subjects and writing.

What I would rather be doing all day: I am still stunned they pay me to do this. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do!

Where I found this job: I was an intern in my last semester of college.

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: A few weeks before my internship ended, I said hello to an editor who’d been away for much of the time I’d been interning, so we hadn’t met before. When I introduced myself, she said “I’ve heard you’re good. You should march into the editor’s office and demand a job. Most women wouldn’t do that, but a man would, and you should.” So I did! (Although I think it was more of a tiptoe than a march, and more of a polite inquiry than a demand.) Continue reading

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Hire my friend: the comp lit major who can say unemployed in English and French

Step one in how American kids learn French during study abroad.

Name: Gowri

Major: Comparative Literature, French and English

What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: Pre-med like all the other Indians

Why I decided to waste $160K $200K on an Ivy League education: To earn my ticket into the upper crust intelligentsia

Current City of Residence: Denver

Ideal City of Residence: I like Denver. I love the mountains. Sometimes though, in fits of depression/hopelessness, I want to move to Paris (because everything is better in Europe)

Current job: Working at toll highway

Dream job: Inspirational speaker (this is not meant to be ironic)

Resume claim to fame: A litany of psychology/psychiatry research positions in my delusional pre-med days

Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: Killer BLT

Hire my friend: the Spanish lit major stuck in Arizona

amber

This is the wasteland known as Arizona.

Name: Amber

Major: I graduated with High Honors in Impracticality. My specific study area? Spanish Literature. And a minor in Art History, just to round out the irrelevance. I wrote a lot of really interesting research papers, shouldn’t that count for something? I like to think that I “learned to learn.”
What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: I’m not sure majors make any difference these days…I suppose if I could’ve managed triple-majoring in Engineering, Economics and Computer Science (and therefore sacrificed everything interesting about going to college), I may be in a better position. I think of more importance: I would’ve started my job search my freshman year.
Why I decided to waste $160K $200K on an Ivy League education: It seemed like a great idea somewhere along the line. I did get to meet some really amazing people!
Current City of Residence: Phoenix, AZ
Ideal City of Residence: Somewhere on the East Coast, where I actually know people. No one moves to Phoenix after graduating from an Ivy. I’m a pretty big fan of London as well. And Madrid. Actually, I love to travel, so I think I could make it work just about anywhere.
Current job: I’m employed full-time in the exciting industry of Finding a Job. That and learning financial modeling and the latest in social media. Gotta keep improving those marketable skills.
Dream job: I’m flexible. How about you tell me what you have available, and then I’ll tell you what my dream job is. In an ideal world, I’d get paid to travel, tell people about where I traveled, write about where I traveled, and find more places I want to travel to. Being the next Rick Steves would be pretty close.
Resume claim to fame: I wish we still lived in those times when your undergraduate institution WAS your claim to fame.
Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: Well I can’t really afford to be modest these days. I’m competing with several million 35 year-olds who have a laundry list of industry experience and impressive MBAs that stop me from even making it to the interview.

Why I Have A Job(s): the phi beta kapa who speaks in tween

cute girls of the ivy league

A wide-mouthed arch is usually the first step in learning how to talk like a 12-year-old.

Name: Katie

Major: English and Comp Lit

What I do all day: Depends on the day; I coach girls’ basketball at a small private school, walk dogs, and tutor.

What I would rather be doing all day: Reading, traveling, basically being a student again.

Where I found this job: I’m trying an experiment where I only apply to things I find on Craigslist this year. So far, I’ve been pretty successful.

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: For these particular jobs, it’s highly likely I was the only overqualified Ivy League grad to apply. Plus, I know the difference between zone defense and man-to-man.

Best part about being employed: Spending most of my days outdoors or in the gym and wearing sweatpants everywhere (actually, pretty much the same thing as being unemployed. . . ).

Worst part about being employed: Most of my conversations happen with dogs or 12-year-old girls — not to draw comparisons.

Heartfelt advice to your jobless friends who may have been freeloading off of you for months: There’s nothing wrong with working something that has absolutely no need for your diploma. This year has been a huge challenge and an even bigger adventure. It’s given me an entirely different perspective on what I want and where I’m headed.

If you would like to be featured in the weekly Why I Have a Job column or know someone who would, holla.

Why I Have a Job: the musician who knows how to read/add

People who major in music sometimes make money.

Name: Abby

Major: Music/ English

What I do all day: I spend about five or so hours a day singing, playing guitar, rehearsing with my band, writing songs, and working on a project for my ArtistShare songwriting feature. At night, I perform at venues around NYC like BB King Blues Club, The Bitter End, The Living Room, and Iridium. I’ve also been spending a lot of time lately at SHOF (Songwriters Hall of Fame) where I’ve been taking an advanced songwriting workshop with hit songwriter Peter Bliss. This month I’ll also be traveling a lot, recording some tracks with a producer based in Boston and showcasing at the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg, PA. Nonmusical activities include freelance writing, running, tutoring, and making out with my dog Phoebe.  Continue reading

Why I Have a Job: the comp lit major who used to wait tables at Bubba Gump

She is as well-versed in Foucault as she is in today's specials.

Name: Stephanie
Major: Comparative Literature and Society, which, as the editor of this blog might be able to confirm, is a certified major in Indecision.
What I do all day: I write papers, case studies, and (hopefully soon!) a blog for a software-as-service tech company. I’m the lone liberal artist amongst businesspeople and engineers.

Hire My Friend: the double major who interned for Darren Aronofsky

Here, she can be seen practicing her alternative career options.

Name: Diane

Major: I was so ambitious I did TWO majors – and both of them in impractical fields. The first was Literature/Writing, which was fun. The second was Film Studies. Also fun. My homework mostly consisted of watching movies and writing stories, with the occasional paper thrown in (those pesky Core Requirements!).

What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: I don’t know. I get bored pretty easily (hence the arts-focused career path – I need a lot of variation in my day to keep my attention). Maybe Psychology? I thought that was interesting.

Why I decided to waste $160K $200K on an Ivy League education: Ummm… To be completely honest? It was the only place I got in to. I’m not kidding. I missed the deadlines for all the Canadian universities (I’m Canadian), and the lower-tiered schools wouldn’t give me any financial aid as a non-traditional (read: 23-year-old) international student, so they wouldn’t let me in. How messed up is THAT?!

Continue reading

Hire My Friend: the sociology major who dreams of becoming Ari Gold

amari3

She has not yet developed a dangerous addiction to sushi.

Name: Amari

Major: Sociology

What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: Engineering… with a minor in “How to find social value in an i-banking job so you can make some mo-nay”

Why I decided to waste $160K $200K on an Ivy League education: Because I didn’t… My grants and scholarships did. ZING!

Current City of Residence: Yonkers, NY

Ideal City of Residence: Manhattan, NY… with the weather of Los Angeles, LA

Current job: Counter worker at Balthazar Bakery in SoHo.

Dream job: Ari Gold, minus the insensitivity and propensity to exercise his healthy lungs. And his love-fake-hate relationship with Asians and the gay community.

Resume claim to fame: Working amongst the publicists of too many Oscar winning actors and popular culture icons to count.

Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: I won $50,000 on an academic Apprentice-style reality show (it was much nicer, don’t worry) when I was 17.

If you would like to hire Amari, send us a pleading email.
If you would like to be featured in the weekly Hire My Friend column or know someone who would, holla.

Why I Have a Job: the women’s and gender studies major who listens deeply all day

oriana

I bet this is how peaceful being employed must be.

Name: Oriana

Major: Women’s and Gender Studies

What I do all day: Listening deeply. Telling stories.

What I would rather be doing all day: I’m doing a year of service through AmeriCORPS so I can figure out the answer to this question.

Where I found this job: After I read about the  3% raise Obama approved for all AmeriCORPS employees, I browsed through the available positions and happened upon the Digital Arts Service Corps. It seemed like a good option for a jaded graduate who invested too much time in media internships.

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: All the Ivy League grads who aren’t employed are holding out for a salaried job.

Best part about being employed: I feel like I’m doing something of value every day.

Worst part about being employed:
There’s nothing bad about being employed, but my AmeriCORPS stipend doesn’t go very far. My biggest reality check has been navigating the bureaucratic nightmare of applying for food stamps.

Heartfelt advice to your jobless friends who may have been freeloading off of you for months: I haven’t looked for a real job yet, so I’m in no position to offer career advice. But so far, my year of service has yielded some valuable experience, and I feel very lucky to be employed.

If you would like to be featured in the weekly Why I Have a Job column or know someone who would, holla.

Hire My Friend: the barely history major who knows how to do the Twitter

Fern

This is what new media looks like.

Name: Fern

Major: History. Barely.

What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: The same–with this economy, I’m actually relieved I studied what interested me instead of something targeted to be economically advantageous.

Why I decided to waste $160K on an Ivy League education: Obviously only so that I could meet people who would one day help me get a job in journalism. So, basically: for this very moment.

Current City of Residence: My mom’s extra room in manhattan and my boyfriend’s extra room on his bed.

Ideal City of Residence: Anywhere where my freelancer’s salary will carry me? But ideally: Williamsburg for now, London for next decade, Positano for the one after that, and then maybe back to Williamsburg.

Current job: Web intern at the Nation, aka full time fact checker on a pre-entry-level stipend. But I love it. I’m heartbroken that it has to end soon. Also, I do the Twitter. 14,000 followers, holla.

Dream job: Columnist. Anywhere.

Resume claim to fame: Best college columnist in the eyes of the Newspaper Columnist Association of America

Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: “So…um…I can do Twitter pretty well? And like, I can condense your info into bits and optimize readership? But um? Twitter…is lame? But also really crucial to how we digest news these days? But you know. Everyone can do it. But not as well as me. Am I still talking?”

If you would like to hire Fern, send us a pleading email.
If you would like to be featured in the weekly Hire My Friend column or know someone who would, holla.

“Divorce yourself from thinking you’re so special because you went to an Ivy League school”

debra

From one Ivy league alum to another.

Yesterday, I spoke with Debra Shigley, a Harvard alum and author of The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide: Get What You Want in Work and Life (and Look Great While You’re at It). She had some great advice for those of us using our Ivy League diplomas as place mats.

I think the first thing you should do is divorce yourself from thinking you’re so special because you went to an Ivy League school. Yes it looks good on your resume and it will open doors, but it’s not everything. Now where it is very helpful is your alumni network. An alum is much more likely to call you back than if you’re just cold-calling. I think most people are very supportive of their fellow alumni. So I suggest tapping into that.  I don’t think the Ivy League thing makes that much of a difference otherwise. I think one of the strongest advantages is the network you have from your school. Many of your friends will accomplish great things and your network gets stronger, because you’re grouped with a lot of accomplished go-getter type people. You can’t sit there and think ‘I have a Harvard degree, someone should get me a job.’ Unless of course you’re sitting across a table from someone who also graduated from Harvard. I think people might be more quick to call you back in that case.

Why I Have a Job: the slavic studies major who gets paid to do nothing most days

This is what people do when their building does not turn on the electricity.

This is what happens in Russia during winter.

Every week, I coerce employed friends into giving job advice.

Name: Sasha

Major: Slavic Studies

What I do all day: I teach English at university in St. Petersburg, Russia, so mostly I try to talk very slowly and clearly about different kinds of transportation and national holidays, field questions about McDonald’s and why American women are “too independent” and navigate a totally dysfunctional educational institution. [Editor's note: read more about Sasha's misadventures in Russia here.]

What I would rather be doing all day: At this point, tough to say. Definitely working somewhere that allowed me to escape the atmosphere of a mental institution, perhaps somewhere with a working heating system and a reliable source of electricity, which, strangely, my school lacks.

Where I found this job: It’s a position offered by a study abroad program I did.

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: They actually told me why. It was my GPA. If that sounds like I’m bragging, believe me I was also dismayed when the guy who hired me went around mentioning it to other people who didn’t get the job.

Best part about being employed: I get paid very well for where I live, and I work very little. And, I get to live in Russia. Often, none of my students will show up for class, so I am literally paid to do nothing. However when the students do show up, they are usually pretty cool and have all kinds of hilarious opinions about American life to share with me (all American women get plastic surgery starting at age 16, 90% of Americans have twitter accounts, etc.).

Worst part about being employed: I don’t know if this is the worst of all, but it’s really surreal. In one of my classes, none of the sixteen students came for six weeks in a row and no one, not even the other teacher with whom I was co-teaching the course, did anything but laugh it off. For those six weeks I was literally paid to do nothing. Is that cool? Yes, for a while. It’s also like, what the fuck is going on here? Thankfully, we were able to reschedule that class, so I have two students per week now. Teaching is so rewarding!

Heartfelt advice to your jobless friends who may have been freeloading off of you for months: Question your sanity before you move abroad to escape your unemployment, not after. It will save you the cost of a plane ticket!

If you would like to be featured in the weekly Why I have a Job column or know someone who would, holla.

Why I Have a Job: the comp lit major who looks like her boss

This is not a prank.

This is not a prank.

Every week, I coerce employed friends into giving job advice.

Name: Kat

Major: Comparative Literature and Society

What I do all day:  Strategy consulting, i.e. help my already huge employer take over the world (but I swear, they’re not that evil). I am responsible for research and analysis that helps our executives make business decisions. More precisely, I stare at spreadsheets, make pretty PowerPoint slides, interview old white men (and an occasional woman), and build Excel models.

What I would rather be doing all day: Traveling the world, trying unusual food for www.weirdfoodclub.blogspot.com, and sometimes doing exactly what I’m already doing (see above)

Where I found this job: On ColumbiaTRAK during my last week of college

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: Because I had previous internship experience at a small consulting firm and all other consulting-oriented Ivy Leaguers weren’t job-hunting by that time of the year (all had $60K+ jobs already lined up). Plus, it helped that I looked like my boss (see photo).

Best part about being employed: Getting a mandatory kick in the butt every morning to actually get out of bed, learning every day, meeting interesting people, and unexpected perks (free massages with my health insurance, free dinners if working late, etc)

Worst part about being employed: Not being able to color my hair bright orange (actually, I was able to pull it off on a 4 day weekend before redying it back to a natural shade) and feeling inferior to my unemployed peers who are doing way cooler things with their lives than sitting behind a screen (oh wait, they are sitting behind a screen all day too, just in their pajamas).

Heartfelt advice to your jobless friends who may have been freeloading off of you for months: Go to some place in the world where you’ll feel rich, cool, yet humble, at least until the recession is over. Then see if your overseas experience will help you land a job. Or, once you go abroad and find something unusual they have there but we don’t have here, bring it here and make it a stellar business. Most importantly — just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean you should be wasting time.  Start or find an interesting project — you have so much time! Do exactly what you’ve always wanted to do and be conscious of the fact that not having a job could be an advantage.

If you would like to be featured in the weekly Why I have a Job column or know someone who would, holla.

Career advice from Ivanka Trump: “You have to be experimental in your youth”

This is what wealth looks like.

This is what wealth looks like.

On Thursday night, I found myself listening to The Donald’s daughter as she gave a book signing for her authorial debut, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life. Below, a transcribed nugget of inspiration:

“I spend a lot of time talking about passion and the importance of identifying your passion, because not only is the book focused on me and some of the emotions I had early in my career, but also my peers and my friends who tell me their experiences and the issues that they face in the work environment. A lot of them have an issue whereby they’re in a job they’re not miserable at, but they’re also not particularly happy. And they’re staying in that job for fear of taking a bold career risk for fear of this economic climate and that may be one of the saddest things for my generation about this current recession. Because I really believe that in your youth, you have to be experimental. You have to be bold. And you have to be decisive in terms of leaving jobs and positions that you wouldn’t be able to grow in because now is the time for us to take risks.”

I totally agree. Though it would be a lot easier to risk losing a job if you have, oh I don’t know, a family legacy to survive on?

Hire My Friend: the double major who has nightmares about living in Brooklyn

Every week, I bribe my friends to sell themselves on this blog.

She always looks this smart, I swear.

Here, she can be seen scolding the economy.

Name: Sierra
Major: Eh hem, Double Major: English and Russian
What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: Pre-Med, so when I was stuck without health insurance I wouldn’t be so darn scared.
Why I decided to waste $160K on an Ivy League education: I am an epicurean; those four years were the most pleasurable of my life.
Current City of Residence: Brooklyn.  I had a dream in August, before I made the move from Manhattan to the borough, and in this dream I heard a knock at the door.  Before I could answer, a burglar kicked down the door and began chasing me around the apartment.  Honestly, I don’t know how he could chase me around anything because my place is a studio and two steps radially in any direction would have put us into unpleasant contact.  I fought well, grabbed my cell phone, and barricaded myself in the bathroom.  Shaking, I dialed 911 and the operator answered, “911, What is your emergency?”  The burglar was maniacally hacking at the door with a magical ax.  I shouted into the phone, “Help; I’m in Brooklyn!”
Ideal City of Residence: Manhattan
Current job: Director of Press Communications for a NYS Assemblyman.  In theory this job might be cool, but I studied Russian in college and the only Eastern Europeans in my dude’s district are Poles.
Dream job: Book Reader, World Traveler, Music Maker, Good Cook.  Or the Program Assistant for Scholarship Programs at the Open Society Institute.  But hey, I haven’t heard back and already expect the worst.
Resume claim to fame: I just can’t brag right now.  What is the good of an excellent resume when all entry level jobs are going to 30 year olds?
Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: I avoided getting summer jobs after junior and senior year of college by going to Russia on a scholarship from the State Department!
If you would like to sponsor Sierra’s epicurean lifestyle, send us a pleading email.
If you would like to be featured in the weekly Hire My Friend column or know someone who would, holla.

Maybe this is why no one is hiring our elitist asses

"So what's your SAT score?"

"So...what's your SAT score?"

The New York Times ran a groundbreaking feature yesterday that goes something like this: because four years at an Ivy League institution is not enough time to find the perfect life mate,  a networking group has been created to give you a second chance at prestigious love.

Now let it be said that name-dropping Foucault while drunk is practically etched in Latin on our diplomas.  And who hasn’t tried to come on to someone with a slurred reference to Keates?

Jennifer Wilde Anderson clearly tapped into something special when she founded Ivy Plus so that alums can mingle at cocktail soirees – in which “75 percent of attendees are single.”

While this may sound like every mother’s greatest dream, no one is checking transcripts. Other well-regarded institutions, like Stanford, Duke, MIT, are welcome too because they have “a ‘natural affiliation’ with the Ivies” – hence the Plus in the title.

“If you wanted to describe these schools, these are all highly selective, academically rigorous institutions,” Anderson told the NYT.

Of course. Because, after all, who would ever want to mate with anyone but a highly selective and academically rigorous human being? [Shudder].

Why I Have A Job: the poli sci major who still nurses ambitions of helping people

Introducing another weekly column in which I coerce my employed friends into giving job advice.

She looks this cute in person too.

I swear this isn't a dating service.

Name: Lindsey

Major: Political Science and Human Rights

Current City of Residence: Brooklyn (we go hard)

What I do all day: Trying to assist low income clients that are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure by matching them with pro bono attorneys to represent them in court.

What I would rather be doing all day: Actually helping those clients.  The banks place every possible obstacle in the way of a fair resolution -  it makes me want to hide all my money in a mattress.

Resume claim to fame: It never made the cut, but I worked at an ice cream shop for a month one summer.  I fantasized about the job as an 8 year-old and from today’s perspective, it had the best perks of any job so far.

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