In Spiderman’s world, with great power comes great responsibility. In the less action-packed world of the internship search, similarly, with great opportunity comes great disappointment. As application deadlines pass faster than you can say “leadership skills,” finding employment is beginning to lose it’s charm as a novelty of adulthood, like receiving mail. Instead, it’s become a blazer-sporting reality.
The road to gainful employment is paved with scrapped cover letters and held together by pre-handshake palm sweat. Initially, there is hope of a brighter future – you can truly see yourself in this dream position. Fresh to death in the muted colors of business casual, completing menial tasks with the fervor promised by your cover letter’s introductory paragraph. You send the submission email and think, “Why not me?” replaying a montage reel in your head of all the times you successfully used Microsoft Excel (once), overcame a significant challenge (daily: getting dressed for inclement weather) and wore sensible heels (never, but a girl can dream). You feel confident that your strengths (dancing at non-dancing parties) outweigh your weaknesses (portion control). Friends and foes around you seem to be effortlessly hooked up with important-sounding internships at fancy companies like “Goldman Sachs” and “Condé Nast Publications.” And while you celebrate appropriately with the relevant emojis (smiley face with jazz hands, three cones throwing confetti and a money bag), a deep panic wells within your cool, calm and collected exterior because, for you, the future is still a financially insecure mystery.
Unfortunately, I write from experience. As I find myself surrounded by peers who will soon go by “Doctor” or rake in a salary that closely resembles binary code, it’s easy to feel like the only one fated to endlessly sending follow-up emails into the void like a modern day, blouse-wearing Sisyphus. I feel that what I lack in useful skills, such as “attention to detail” and “sending professional emails without using caps lock or emojis,” I make up for in myriad unmarketable talents, but potential employers are failing to see the light. I hit employment rock bottom over winter break, when I never heard back from a seasonal retail job after two interviews (Seriously? Two interviews? This is Madewell, not the Pentagon). Perhaps I incorrectly answered the question, “What’s your favorite kind of sweater?” or wore the wrong kind of boots. At this point, we’ll never know, because now I feel too uncomfortable going into the store, even when I truly require their Marled Graduate Cardigan. Despite the soured relationship between myself and Madewell, I haven’t let the rejection get me down. Job rejection is an inextricable part of the game, like LinkedIn emails asking you to congratulate your high school enemies on their “job anniversary,” or exaggerating your proficiency in Microsoft Suite. The world of professionalism is a cold world indeed – but with the right fitted navy blazer, you can stay cozy warm.