Peer Pressure Plagues Job Hunt

There is a communicable myopia afflicting a portion of the student body actively and aggressively engaged in the process of identifying and pursuing summer internships or post-collegiate entry-level jobs. I believe the first symptoms can be traced to the beginning of last semester’s on-campus interview schedule.

Beginning in September and proceeding though the fall, financial services companies visit the top universities and liberal arts schools in search of the next “class” of entry level employees. Many of Colgate’s top students drop their resumes in hope of obtaining one of the coveted interview slots because they believe there is a certain prestige attached to the finance field. Working on Wall Street is prestigious and many of Colgate’s most generous donors have had some affiliation with the Street, but for Wall Street to be right for you the realities and requirements of the field must be positively aligned with your interests and skills.

The students I am concerned with are the ones who are nearsighted in their pursuit of a Wall Street job. Apparently their drive to obtain one of these positions is aroused by a nonsensical emotional need connected to how they view themselves vis a vis their peers in some convoluted hierarchy.

This shortsighted fixation has become inexplicably contagious and has affected some of my students and I imagine many others. One student – who is naturally persuasive, charismatic, loaded with energy and a demonstrated successful implementer and leader on campus – lamented that he didn’t want to accept a job with a leading consumer package goods company because it was not perceived by his peers at Colgate to be as prestigious as a Wall Street job. I can cite other similar cases and I sense that if these students – who have gone through a comprehensive curriculum designed to connect them with their true passions and interests – find themselves caught in the fog of this emotional contagion then it is likely to be more pervasive throughout the community.

Does this apply to you? If so, this spell is obscuring the clarity of your thinking. Release yourself from its grip. Those who think clearly are better able to concentrate on forging an identity based upon the self that each knows in his or her own heart. Stay true to your passion and vision for they are part of your native intelligence. If you do, things will work out well.