There’s nothing wrong with wanting to explore options outside of your field if you have practical and marketable job skills. That was my game plan and where else to do that than the career fair?
I rehearsed everything in the mirror.
I refined the color combination of my business outfit in the mirror.
I even re-enacted the “Cool Running’s” scene, “I’m a bad mutha… who don’t take no…” (you get the drift) in the mirror.
So by the time I entered Leon County Civic Center, my appearance and body language were etched into the deepest grooves of my memory. I was straight!
Yet all the human resource reps were avoiding me like the plague. Handshakes were being extended all around me, eyes would slide over me to uninterested bystanders and backs were being turned on me. Man, what was happening?
After receiving the ultimate diss, I soon found out. A representative with an engineering company looked at my shoulder and laughed. “You can’t be serious,” he said. Panicking, I looked down. On my nametag was scrawled. “MY NAME IS: Monica Harden, Junior, Houston, Magazine Production.”
Does this man have something against people from Texas? Then, everything suddenly became clear. He was insinuating that my journalism sequence had nothing to do with his corporation. I had been shunned for the past hour because of my major. Talk about degree discrimination.
Not easily deterred, I continued my walk around the career fair in search of my ray of sunshine. I got nada. As deserted as the police department booth looked, an exciting action-packed career in law enforcement would be lost on me. So, what had seemed like a sea of opportunity had turned into the depths of hell and all the human resource (HR) reps had morphed into the devil’s spawn.
Finding zilch among all those rows of high-paying jobs, feet hurting and feeling deadlocked into journalism, I did what anyone else would. I kicked off my shoes and left.
Let’s face it: as much as the Career Center says that the annual job fair is for all majors, you can’t help but think otherwise. Students in business and engineering have a ball at these annual job-hunting shindigs. But each semester the rest of us liberal arts students look on briefly wishing we had picked a more “secure” major.
After venting to a few professors about this quandary, they all told me the same thing. The consensus was that the jobs are there, we’re just not creative or aggressive enough in marketing ourselves. The biggest key is to get the HR folks to see past what your course of study implies you cannot do to seeing what you can do.
I still think going to a career fair shouldn’t entail this much work. And I humbly beseech the fair planners for a more varying crowd of employers. Having to stretch the imagination of someone looking for financial accountants is daunting. But it’s something I’ll have to do until then.
So here I am again, before my mirror with a squeegee coaxing myself for another go.
Monica Harden is a senior magazine production student from Hockley, Texas. She is the deputy opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.