For the past five months, I've been trying desperately to sell out. Unfortunately, there haven't been any buyers. Yes, in my search for a summer job, I have attempted to auction my spirit, prostitute my body and barter my soul. But, if my luck doesn't change soon, I may have to spend the summer volunteering, and I have no interest in helping others.
My first explorations of the job market were in the field of finance. I don't have much interest in finance either, but it pays better then the local soup kitchen. I called every contact I could think of, intent on snagging a lucrative position on Wall Street. I soon discovered that most of my contacts are bastards.
They were all very receptive to my requests for assistance and they all promised to put me in touch with big-shots at major investment firms. I came away from those initial conversations in January with optimism about the summer, and a vigorous faith in my future as a rapacious capitalist. But, my ambitious plans soon encountered one minor hitch. Not one of my contacts ever got back to me.
After weeks of silence, I called them and those that mustered the courage to get on the phone with me were quite reassuring. They said that they were still working on things, that they were busy but would soon get around to it, that they would call me "at the beginning of next week." In my mind, the beginning of a week ends with Wednesday. I shudder to recall the number of melancholy Thursday mornings I spent in abject disappointment.
I allowed my bastard contacts to jerk me around until early March, when I decided to abandon the connection game and secure employment based on my own merits. Of course this new strategy presupposed that I had merits, but I neglected to identify this flaw in my approach until it was far too late. Remembering that my goal from the outset was to sell out, I asked myself, "What company best represents the ideals of exploitation and greed?" The answer was obvious: Microsoft.
Now, one would think that working at Microsoft would require some background in computer science. One would probably be right, but that didn't stop me from sending out a resume Miraculously, I was asked to interview over the phone for a marketing internship. One would think that a marketing internship would require some background in business. One would definitely be right, but this didn't stop me from fighting my way far into the recruiting process.
I convinced my phone interviewer that social studies is the study of how Weber, Foucault and Habermas have contributed to theories of market share and advertising. I talked about the relationship of the Budweiser frog to the bourgeois public sphere. I said that Coke is a well-marketed product.
I was invited to Seattle for more interviews. My trip to the Pacific Northwest--the home base of the Evil Empire--was unquestionably the only redeeming episode in the fiasco that has been my summer job search. The natural scenery was gorgeous and the Microsoft corporate campus is a testimony to the great things that monopolies who employ unfair trading practices can accomplish.
When it came time for my actual interviews, the pesky matter of my absolute ignorance in the field of marketing could not be disguised. But I felt that I fared well, and the last fellow I met with promised to call me--you guessed it--"at the beginning of next week." Well, I waited anxiously by the phone and--you guessed it again--never heard from him. A bigger man might have cut his losses and moved on. I am not that man. I made it my mission in life to force a verbal rejection from that recruiter. I called and e-mailed incessantly, intent on forcing him to acknowledge my humanity and grant me the courtesy of a phone call.
In our battle of wills, the Microsoft Man almost won. After a while, his stubborn refusal to return my calls and messages got me thinking that perhaps I wasn't worth a formal rejection. Eventually he did cave in--after I filled his voice-mail box three days in a row, I received the official ax along with the threat of a restraining order. The next day I contacted the Justice Department to inquire about internships with the anti-trust division. There was nothing available.
In the weeks since, I have sent a few resumes to banks and consulting firms. I even flirted with the idea of joining the Marines. But I'm afraid that things don't look good. I haven't heard from any of those banks or consulting firms, and I can't do the required number of pull-ups that the few and the proud demand. Right now, it looks as if I may spend my vacation months selling used cars in Tucson, Ariz.
I may not have been able to hock my soul, but perhaps my luck will be better with a '92 Toyota Camry.
Noah D. Oppenheim '00 is a social studies concentrator in Adams House. His column appears on alternate Fridays.
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