Apparently, fall has arrived: The leaves are starting to come down, the days are getting shorter, and seniors are scrambling for jobs like it’s their… uh… job. (Wow, that cliché didn’t work so well.) I was wandering through the Bryan Center last week, in the midst of the Career Fair, in quite the blur. I thought there were going to be Ferris wheels and funnel cake. How wrong I was. For us liberal arts kids, it’s a bit of a depressing time, moving from booth to booth and saying, “Thanks, but I don’t think i-banking is really for me, sorry.” I gradually got depressed as the afternoon dragged on and people tossed about their job offers like embossed confetti—lighting this semester’s books on fire on the BC walkway in celebration of their newfound freedom from academics. Finally, after being turned down gently by innumerable men and women in suits (note to self: “funneling,” while technically an “action verb,” does not work well with the resume) I stumbled upon a recruiter who looked interested. Dropping off my resume, they promised a call within the next few days, and sure enough, I quickly received word that I was exactly the sort of motivated, hard-working individual they were looking for. So, look for me next year! I’ll be taking your orders at the Armadillo Grill. Duke students are masters at superficiality. Need proof? When’s sorority ru... excuse me, I think that “happy pressure-free non-discriminating selection time” is the official term for it now. No amount of Prada-armed freshwomen can top the sheer banality of job-hunting, though. A friend of mine pointed out the “top 10 interviewing tips” from The Chronicle the other day, mentioning correctly that it was a little ironic that they made such a big deal out of being unique and original. Who are we being unique from? The 600 other kids who were reading the same tips that morning, I guess. All right, employers, I’ll call your bluff. You want unique? How about I head into my first interview with my “Meat Loaf World Tour” T-shirt on? (Don’t laugh. I actually own that shirt.) The job hunt is a mundane, idiotic, facetious process. It’s also going to determine most of the rest of your life. Sweating yet? This summer, my friends were doing memos for Goldman, engineering software for Bristol-Myers and working for the Federal Reserve Board. I was driving a forklift. Not kidding. I was originally substitute teaching at my old high school, but then my last summer internship came through, and I decided that working with boxes was much preferable to working with children. (Boxes don’t give you any lip.) Technically, my internship was in logistics (shout-out and free advertising to Ryder “We’re Not Just Big Yellow Trucks Anymore” Logistics), which is a fancy term for getting things from one place to another without anybody losing their job in the process. They thought, however, that it’d be good for me to do time at one of their warehouses so I could see the entire length of the supply chain. For two weeks, I got up at 6 a.m. every day, got into a car, fought through Turnpike traffic for an hour and ended up in a telecommunications warehouse in the middle of nowhere. It was repetitive scanning boxes, filling orders and working the inventory systems. I got home late and was usually so tired I went straight to bed. And you know what? I had a blast. I learned Filipino profanity, made some good friends with the guys working there and got the aforementioned forklift license (I still keep it in my wallet.) At first, I blanched a little at the prospect of warehouse work. Turns out it was the best two weeks of my summer. I guess my point is this: The job hunt is stupid and superficial, but that doesn’t mean you have to be superficial also. I met more interesting people in two weeks in an industrial town than I have in four years at Duke. You may not be able to be a banker when you get out of Duke, but it’s not that bad if you’ve got to settle for being unique. Matt DeTura is a Trinity senior.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.