October 23, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Going non-corporate

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To the Editor: Re: “Surrounded by Spineless Seniors,” Opinion, Oct. 17Career fairs are much like college fairs. They represent who shows up. In high school I did not see a single college I was interested in at my college fair. I found the ILR School through internet research. At Cornell, the Fortune 500 and investment banks show up at the career fair.  This does not mean they are the only option. If you research online there are lots of options besides who shows up to career fairs, options that involve a decent (not huge but decent) wage and don’t involve flipping burgers. There are ways to pay the bills without working for an investment bank.It is important in these times of class conflict and the Occupy Movement that people who go corporate and those who go non-profit work together. Calling people who want to go work for Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan spineless is inaccurate and not constructive. Some of the smartest and strongest people I know are going into investment banking. Yes, as someone going into non-profit, I feel the frustration that comes with not having my options laid out clearly for me. However, we are Cornellians. We can figure out more creative solutions to finding work after college.If you don’t want to work at a corporation, here is how you find a job. Look at idealist.com, and search organizations, not posted positions. You get jobs in the non-profit sector through networking. Start networking with the organizations. Send emails, identify yourself as a Cornell student. Many will respond. When you go home, stop by the organization and talk to people. Finally, ask around Cornell, ask professors and ask every Career Services person you can find. Ask anyone who seems altruistic. Ask at the Einaudi Center for International Studies. Talk to the people in the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Networking about career paths you love is easy, because the people you want to talk to share your passion.Finally, get to know the non-profit “industry.”Are you interested in Human Resource Management, Fundraising, Financial Accounting, or being a practitioner like a Doctor, Counselor or Teacher? Are you interested in a degree in Management, or Social Work? It is critical to know the dynamics of the wide range of jobs and causes in the non-profit sector.Shannon Isaacs ’13