I Just Want an Offer
This article is part of a mini-series that we like to call “Vocate-able Moments” – all written by our Founder Alex Tonelli. He felt compelled to start this series because each article addresses problems that he sees students encounter over and over. By sharing his thoughts, he wants to give people a sense for the problems with the existing college-to-career paradigm as well as explain Vocate’s view on solving them.
Today I overheard the following statement from a college senior: “Man, I just hope I land one of these jobs so I have something. Then I can relax.” He later described that he was in final interviews with what amounted to two positions in dead end groups at large, but name-brand banks.
I was moved to sadness by it. The two people having the conversation were accomplished athletes and well-spoken leaders at a strong school. The world is practically their oyster if they chose to explore it.
Yet, they feel peer pressure to get a job in November before they graduate because their career centers push those jobs as the ‘good’ jobs. In turn, their friends who receive them reinforce that viewpoint by bragging about the brand name offer they got.
The sad thing is very few of the jobs available this far in advance are actually stellar jobs. In fact, most are average at best, with some exceptions of course on either end.
More striking, the mentality that “everyone is getting these jobs” is completely false. This makes students feel like failures if they don’t have something locked up far in advance. However, the truth couldn’t be more startlingly different. In a recently released report, the school in question was responsible for only 6.6% of the senior class’ job placements. And that’s a GOOD career center. Nationwide, the number is lower than 5%.
Thus, we’re left with a dynamic where talented people are chasing positions about which they’re not passionate or particularly well-suited to do because of the perception of scarcity. Really, the dysfunction of the placement process itself acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Vocate hopes by offering a wider-breadth of opportunities, we can contribute to breaking down this mentality. We struggle, however, with students falsely confusing scarcity and quality. While we don’t like to tout “eliteness” as a reason to choose a path, we often have students turn down “A” paths for “C” paths because they don’t have proper guidance channels. Worse, they end up doing things they hate. The schools themselves, sadly, are the largest contributor to this problem.