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You can’t CLICK to change careers

In the May 22, 2018 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader wants to change careers… without the necessary experience.

Question

change careersAs someone who has only been out of work a few months, I am finding it really difficult to even get interviews, and all of them but one have been through networking. That being said, I’m trying to shift career paths since I was working in retail banking before and now, at 27, I’d really like to get away from being a teller.

Do you have any advice on how to change careers, especially with no experience in other industries?

Nick’s Reply

What makes career change difficult is that you need to be able to do the work you want to get hired to do. If you can’t do it, you won’t get hired.

But heavy marketing by the big job boards produces — as intended! — a lot of silly wishful thinking. We’d like to think that, because a cool job is posted, we can and should apply for it. (Hey, why not take a chance?) But wanting a job and being worth hiring are two very different things.

You can’t click to change careers

Career change requires a lot of preparation. You can’t just click APPLY like Indeed or Glassdoor suggest, or write a clever resume that gets you an interview or gets you hired. The sad mistake people make is that they think they can pay someone to produce a magical resume that will yield a job interview for a job they can’t really do! There’s no magic.

From How Can I Change Careers?, p. 10:

I pity the person who thinks career change is about finding a job. Companies don’t give out jobs. They hire people who can help them make more money—and will pay for that.

So when you approach a company, you must explain how you fit. You must create the equivalent of a business plan, mapping your skills to its needs, helping the employer see why hiring you will pay off.

In my experience, the main reason that most attempts at career change fail is because job hunters never expend the effort necessary to understand what the employer’s work is all about. They hand their resume over and essentially say, “Here are my qualifications. Now, you go figure out what to do with me.” Employers won’t do that, especially when you’ve never worked in their business before. What motivates employers is candidates who “get it.”

There is, however, planning and preparation. There is a thoughtful, step-by-step approach that takes time and a big investment.

The first step to a new career

You’re not interested in making a big investment to make that career change? Then, why should an employer make a big salary investment to give you a try?

Here’s one suggestion to get you started down the path to career change. Learn all you can about the industry you want to be in, and the work you want to do. That’s a big step. It’s a lot of hard work. But so’s that new career you want.

Start doing the hard work now.

Break the job and the work down into functions and tasks so that you understand what it’s really all about. Yep — this requires a lot of research and talking to people who do the job you want and jobs related to it.

When you realize there are tasks and functions you’re not able to do, break them down further. The more fundamental, the better. Which of the more basic tasks can you do?

As you start to appreciate the complexity (and the newness) of the job, you’ll also start to see tasks that you probably can do. They may not be the bigger, more specialized tasks that pay well. But if you really want to change careers, pick the tasks that are a match for your skills — even if this is a new world for you.

Get hired for the skills you’ve got

The challenge now is to identify jobs that you could do adequately with the skills you do have — at the company where you want to work.

  • You want a job doing financial analysis? Maybe you have to start with a lower-level job building spreadsheets and entering data for a financial analyst.
  • You want a job handling social media marketing for a company? Maybe you have to start in a job proof-reading advertising copy.

In other words, to change careers you’re probably going to have to take a lower-level job than you have now, and less salary. Most people don’t like that — but employers don’t like paying workers who can’t do a job, either. So face it, and decide whether you’re willing to make the investment to build the skills and cred to do the job you want.

You say you’ve done all your homework and preparation? Now you have to learn about Getting In The Door.

The alternative that most people prefer is to just apply for loads of jobs they want but are not qualified for because the job boards make it so easy.

Education is good, if it’s right

The other investment you can make is in education and training. That costs money. (Unfortunately, few employers today invest in the training and development of their employees, but that’s another problem for another column.)

But be careful. People sometimes identify a new job they want, then run out and pay for special training, expecting that will “qualify” them for a new career. It won’t. (See The Ultimate Test of Any College Degree.)

Before you buy credentials, certifications and education:

  • Contact the employer you’d like to work for.
  • Ask whether a specific training program you’re considering will be sufficient to qualify you for the job you want.
  • Ask what education will best prepare you.
  • Do this before you make the investment. That’s the smart way to go.

(Beware of all the marketing that schools do, suggesting that if you enroll in some cool program, jobs will be waiting for you. Those schools don’t issue the job offers you’re hoping for! They’re selling courses.)

Change Careers: Navigate a new path

If you don’t have experience or skills necessary to do a job, you can build both. But you will probably have to change your path, and navigate through jobs you can do to get to the job you really want. You will probably have to work your way up.

Here’s the little secret: It takes time. You must be patient, diligent, and productive in whatever related job you can get.

So, decide whether you really want that new career.

In the end, before you can start a new career, you must be able to show the employer that you can do the work. That’s a tall order — and it can be a very worthy enterprise that could change your life dramatically for the better. Many people succeed at career change by making the investment in learning and in dedicating themselves to the challenge of building new skills. Building new skills costs money — usually in the form of a lower salary. There is nothing easy about it.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get where you want to go. To learn more, see How to launch a seemingly impossible career change and check out How Can I Change Careers?

Have you changed careers? How’d you pull it off? What obstacles should this reader expect — and what are good ways to deal with them? If you’re a manager, would you hire a career changer?

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32 Comments
  1. In some fields, at least, some employers used to provide internships for people who have training/education but no experience. Generally low paying (not sure if unpaid is legal any more) but after a year more-or-less they would qualify for entry level job. Not sure if this is still being done, but I hope so. It was a great way to learn (I did my internship starting out. It was arranged by my school.)

    • Some places still have internships. When I became a Biomedical Equipment Technician, I did three internships – because I had read AtH before I started the program.

      I am now in a program to learn Information Security, and I am actively pursuing internships in this career field.

      Like the AtH philosophy in general: The best internships are not advertised or handed to you, dear reader, by your school or professional organization. You need to pursue relationships and put the gears in motion where people are willing to create good internships for you.

      • @Michael: Thanks for the reminder. The best internships are like the best jobs. They’re never advertised. The clever person who noses around thoughtfully lands those internships.

    • @Ken: My main caution nowadays, especially to new grads, is to beware of internships that are barely glorified go-fer roles (“Get me coffee!”) and that provide no real training, and of internships that require inordinate amounts of hard work (and hours) with no pay whatsoever. Kids are often so glad to get an internship that they think they must tolerate abuse.

      Having said that, an internship or apprenticeship with a good organization, working under a good manager, can be more valuable than formal education and a degree.

      • @Nick: Your cautionary point about there being internships (often unpaid go-fer jobs that provide neither training nor skills required to break into the profession) and internships (those that do provide the training and skills required for an entry-level job) is something I’ve been warning students about for years. At my previous job, I often dealt with prospective applicants to the master’s program I ran asking me if their internships would count as for the professional work experience requirement for admission to the master’s program. I always asked them open-ended questions at that point: Where did you intern? For how long? Tell me about your internships–what was your average day like? What did you do? What did you learn? Unfortunately, for most of them, the internships were, as you noted “barely glorified go-fer roles or they were tasked with duties that had less than nothing to do with public health and/or health care. They babysat for the boss’ kids, walked his dogs, picked up his dry cleaning, washed his car, bought birthday, anniversary cards and gifts for his wife, wrapped said gifts for his wife, made dinner reservations, mowed his lawn, etc. Sometimes the “intern” was filling for the secretary or receptionist, making photocopies, answering the phone, directing callers and visitors. Sometimes a relatively recent medical school graduate would apply, and their internships were fine–they met the required amount of time and hours, and were in the field.

        An internship can be a good experience, if it helps the student doing the internship, but it has to be for more than making copies, answering the phones, getting coffee, and ordering lunch/making reservations. Too many employers take advantage of students while not providing them with training they’re supposed to.

        • One of my nieces was subjected to applying for unpaid internships AFTER having acquired her undergrad degree, and it seems to be the norm in her chosen career, which is social service. (I won’t comment further on that choice.) Anyway, there are so many young things majoring in that, that the prospective non-profit employers, in cahoots with the colleges and who knows who else, pretty much insist that you ever want to get a paid job, you first have to go through an unpaid internship. This is institutional slavery.

          But these types of internships have nothing to do with people who already have some experience and want to make a change in careers. I think the latter are bright enough to not work for free unless they get something out of it in return, and they know when to tell people to piss off. There are some companies or people I would work for for free (or lunch and gas money) for a short time as long as I had some meaningful exposure to the business. I’m a big boy and don’t need to be protected, and can judge whether the experience and exposure I gain is worth my time or not (and whether the value of my contributions exceed the value of the experience and exposure I receive).

          Long-term undemployed middle-aged white males are told to volunteer for non-profits to “stay relevant.” Ain’t no money in that, and no meaningful experience either, is there? And volunteering is working for free, isn’t it? It’s considered to be noble. But I can’t offer to work for free for a profit-oriented firm doing meaningful work from which I might actually gain some benefit.

          • @Bill Freeto: I’m all for volunteering, and it can be a useful way to navigate into a new line of work, but I’m not for “non-profits” taking advantage of new grads or middle-aged anybodies. The moniker “non-profit” is too often used as an excuse to not pay workers. Does the head of the organization work for free? Non-profit is an accounting mechanism but it has nothing to do with paying employees. If a non-profit can’t afford to pay employees, then another accounting term applies: broke. Exchanging valuable training and experience for work rendered is a deal both parties can make if they want to, but as you note, employers abuse this all the time and “volunteers” and “interns” fall for it.

            Eyes wide open.

          • @Bill Freeto: It isn’t just the social services field in which unpaid internships are the normal (and required before any employer will even deign to take a look at you). The arts are notorious for requiring internships then refusing to pay those seeking them. This practice has been spreading to the hard sciences as well. A friend of mine has two children; one majored in chemistry (not an “easy” subject for most people), the other double majored in biology and ecology with an emphasis on environmental science. Both of her kids did three summer internships with different employers while they were in college, and none of the internships paid so much as gas or lunch money. The kids were lucky that their parents were able to pay their rent, groceries, car insurance and gas, and other personal items and expenses while they interned. Both graduated from college; one is stocking shelves at Whole Foods (a job she had before started college), the other (the chemistry major) is doing seasonal farm work. My friend thought her son would have a much easier time getting a job because of his major, but what they discovered is that chemistry majors are a dime a dozen, that employers (even the places where he interned and got good reviews) wouldn’t consider him for entry level jobs because they were able to get people with Ph.Ds (so why bother to hire someone with only a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry). He’s not ready to return to school yet, and seeing his sister’s master’s degree (same field) not help her, he’s waiting.

            I know that this week’s Q&A is about career changers, but I see career changers all the time in my current job, and they’re still required to do internships, even though many of (returning for re-training students) are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s with years of experience. I’m more convinced than ever that “internship” is now a box to be checked on an online application. No internship? The system screens them out, despite the experience they have that is transferable.

            And yes, you’re right–an unpaid internship means you’re a volunteer. I remember years ago being told by a prospective employer that he’d never consider hiring anyone who hadn’t volunteered (he did). I couldn’t afford to volunteer, not for the number of hours he wanted from me (55+). I asked for gas money and got shot down. I then told that because I was older, not relying on my parents and didn’t come from a wealthy family, I needed to work to pay my bills. I told him that I could give him ONE day as a volunteer but I needed paid employment so I could eat, pay for gas/car, and not be homeless. He refused and got a wealthy person who could afford to volunteer.

            To add insult to injury, with most employers not wanting to screen internship applicants any longer, the colleges and universities are involved, and many of the unpaid internships run through the colleges and universities require the students doing them to pay tuition and fees for them. They do get academic credit (they have a faculty supervisor, a program/non-faculty supervisor, and a workplace mentor), and often are required to write a paper or report detailing what they learned during their internships. Those are the better ones because at least two people at the school are making sure that the internship is relevant to the field. Others are much more vague, with little to no faculty or staff supervision (those are glorified go-fer internships).

            • Here’s one other consequence of employers “requiring” internships: I have seen a growing number of postings for junior level (which includes the so called entry level but I’ll leave that gripe for another day) that “require” several years of experience. The only way you’d even get close to that is doing internships/co-ops in college.

              Another problem: During the height of recessions, the internship programs, especially paid ones, are scaled back. I was a CS major in college and some of my time there overlapped with the dot-com bust. One year I was getting called every week for positions, the next year it was “sorry, we cut the program”

            • @MaryBeth: I was appalled at my niece having to chase after unpaid internships after having graduated, even though I realized that there’s like a huge suplus of people in her chosen field of social work, and that non-profits are notorious for screwing people (while the people running them get paid well, thank you very much). But I’m very surprised to hear that chemistry majors are a dime a dozen–that’s a hard science, after all (not so surprised about the environmental “sciences”). But I’m not sure why anyone would want to hire a Ph.D., especially for doing bread-and-butter applied sciences. Let me guess: H1B visas might play a role here?

              I’m curious about your reference to the arts, unless you’re talking about something like graphical arts and people who are doing that work in a business environment. In the fine arts, there has been a back to the future resurgence in the old atelier, master/apprentice system of training in drawing, painting, and sculpture. These are growing at a phenomenal rate. While these ateliers and academies are tuition-based schools, the master/apprentice model bears some resemblance to the trades, and even the way men embarked on careers in the old days when people didn’t go to college–all the experience and knowledge was gained on the job. Perhaps some smaller companies will go back to that and grab kids right out of high school, before they’re trained in hive-mind groupthink by the universities.

  2. I changed careers about 5 years ago. I originally was a Satellite Communications systems engineer for a nonprofit US Government sponsored systems engineering house. I retired and a few months later accepted a position as a Field Service Rep in a Middle Eastern country for a California based Satellite Communications Company. After a year my contract was up for renewal and my company instead offered me a slot as a remote technical writer documenting the system I had been supporting. I got this job because I had written numerous satellite communications white papers for the nonprofit. To train myself, I looked at all of Tech Writing jobs on the job boards to see what skills they were requested. I noticed that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript were hot items. There is free online training on these subjects from Microsoft University, eDX and some universities such as the University of Michigan. Udemney also has almost free courses. My company last year advised me they were terminating my remote position and invited me to relocate to California. My wife won’t leave Florida so I am now trying to develop a freelancing tech writing business from my home.

    • As I noted in the column, if you’re getting further education because you think it’s going to net you a particular kind of job, check with the employer first. I crack up every time I see or hear an ad from some top school announcing a course or program that’s going to get you into X career. First ask whether the school will guarantee you that job, or at least show you evidence that it’s working hand in hand with the appropriate employers who actually WANT you to have that kind of education.

  3. “Why are you wanting to change careers?” If this week’s writer’s only answer at the moment is “Because I didn’t want to be a Teller, anymore”, then there’s a reason why interviews are few and far between. I’d tackle a better answer to my opening question before pursuing any more interviews. Why? Because employers can quickly identify applicants who are seeking someone else to tell them what to do for a living.

    -Did the applicant make a terrible life choice about their first job path?

    -Will this applicant just end up getting bored of my new opportunity? Are they worth the olive branch?

    -Does this applicant even know what they want to do?

    I agree with Nick on building a brand of substance to garner marketability. If a company’s vessel is empty, you better have the water to fill it up or else why the ‘f’ are you even trying to be there?

    • “or else why the ‘f’ are you even trying to be there?”

      Uh, I saw an ad?

  4. Many of the suggestions given in this article also apply to those who opt to start their own business after either being terminated for a job or believe they are in a “dead-end” position. Unfortunately too many of these small business wannabe’s don’t do the research necessary to launch a small business. As a former SCORE volunteer for the Small Business Administration, over 97% of the first-time wannabe’s who requested our advice did not do the necessary leg-work to be successful. The tie-in here is, if your attitude and approach does not reflect the suggestions given in this article, you will not launch your own business. Changing careers and opening your own business often are parallel. If your attitude and job performance as an employee got you laid-off or terminated, those same qualities will undermine you as a potential small business owner.
    In regards to the bank teller, they easily could obtain pertinent information about other career banking positions that pay well and are challenging. He/she should start there first.

    • Love ya, Tom. Thanks for making the connection between getting a job and starting a business. The equivalency you suggest is more significant than most realize. I tried to flesh it out a few years ago in this column:

      Want a job? Threaten to start a business!
      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/8247/want-a-job-threaten-to-start-a-business

      I believe the very best way to land a job is to deliver a biz plan to the hiring manager showing how you’d do the job profitably, as if it were a business.

      Because, in fact, every job is — or the employer should not fill it. (Which opens up a huge can of worms for every hiring manager, HR department, C-suite and board of directors. I still crack up when senior execs tell me there’s no way to calculate the actual profitability of any particular position in their company… Cue up “Taps” for the company.)

    • This is so true. A lot of people romanticize starting their own business (“Be your own boss!” is a powerful siren song, but those with stars in their eyes don’t stop to think about what that entails) without having a clue as to all the legal and tax headaches involved, all the bureaucratic hoops to jump through, etc. – and of course that’s on top of the hustling necessary to get the thing off the ground, let alone stay in business.

      Starting a business is great, but most people need a hefty dose of reality before they take the plunge and find themselves in over their heads.

  5. Career change is not easy. Nor is it impossible.
    With apologies to Laertes, the advice “to thine own self be true” holds true. Know honestly, your skill set. Understand how to, if possible, apply it to your desired new occupation. Be practical as to what you can do and what needs to be done to successfully do the new job.
    Be persistent in you pursuit of the new career.

    • Nice Shakespearean touch :-). Put another way:

      Why do people think they can show up for an interview for a job that would be a new career for them, and expect the hiring manager to figure out whether they can do it?

      If you can’t explain that to the manager, do you really think you have any business in that meeting?

  6. Regarding internships, it’s my understanding that they’re much more difficult to find outside of programs run by universities and colleges, especially unpaid internships, thanks to the government (Dept of Labor). So the colleges basically are the gatekeepers.

    For corporations that have management trainee programs, it’s almost essential that you be able to help them fill their diversity and inclusion goals.

  7. Great post, Nick – increasingly more professionals want to switch functions mid-career and while it’s doable, it takes a clear plan and diligent effort. Unfortunately, many of the newer hiring systems (e.g., ATS, etc.) are biased toward traditional candidates, so switchers need to be strategic in engaging their network, re-branding their skills, and finding the value that they can offer to the new employer, who will be taking a risk by hiring them into the new role. Switchers also need to be prepared to make some trade-offs (e.g., salary, level, etc.) as you mention, although these may pale in comparison to the satisfaction they receive in the new career, and/or may be temporary as they re-climb the new ladder. Career switchers are often highly motivated, eager to learn and driven to regain their status as an expert, so they are definitely worth taking a hard look at in the hiring process. My hope is that more hiring managers will stray from conventional (and often easier, yet less effective) hiring processes to do this.

  8. @Dawn: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I talk myself blue in the face explaining to job switchers that headhunters — including the most exclusive ones — have one goal. To match as many of the employer’s criteria to the candidate’s resume as possible. They don’t want to hear about how clever it might be to put a candidate with X into a position that’s defined as Y.

    The client wants as close a match as possible. Not a clever, creative, “out of the box” match.

    Then consider ATSes and “high-tech” recruiting systems. They work exactly the same way. They reject anyone that doesn’t match up on the key words.

    Today most headhunters have adopted the ATSes that HR departments use to sort candidates who come rushing through the fire hose. The only way to process them is to let algorithms do the matching.

    Putting aside the “wisdom” of this kind of recruiting, the point is that if a candidate wants to make the switch, the candidate must prepare to match up well. They have to change themselves to suit the career change. They cannot rely on the insights of headhunters and employers.

    *** “Dawn” is my good buddy Dr. Dawn Graham, a former headhunter and long-time Director of Career Management for the Executive MBA Program at The Wharton School, a long-time denizen of ATH. (Disclosure: I’ve done workshops for Wharton’s EMBAs and I’ve been a guest on her Sirius XM “CareerTalk” program.) Dawn’s new book, “Switchers,” just came out and, yes, I recommend it: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0814439632/asktheheadhunte

    • Thank you for the kudos, Nick! And more importantly, for all that you do to promote a much needed sea change in how employers recruit and hire candidates!

  9. For fifteen long months I worked as a contractor in the HR department of a big-name, for-profit, publicly traded university; I had access to all the info in their HRIS system. I came away with the belief that this place was nothing more than a big scam. The faculty was 95% part-time adjuncts who were paid a pittance. Tuition was exorbitant; they preyed on military for their education benefits while other student needed large loans. The supposed admissions counselors are nothing more than poorly paid high prerssure sales persons with steep quotas to meet; the people in those positions burnt out quickly and the rate of emotional/mental issues was high.

    The headquarters management staff were paid extremely well; the CEO’s pay wash more than half a million while the adjuncts got maybe $4-5K per course.

    They advertise a high quality eductation but juerast put vulnerable people in debt

    • It’s like that at a number of places, not just at for-profit schools. Sounds a lot like the CC where I teach, at least in terms of the compensation and the preying on vulnerable/naive students (not just military)…

    • @Katie: Why am I not surprised? But the “faculty” racket you describe is common in “non-profit” (what does that really mean, anyway?) schools, too. They abuse part-time adjuncts with ridiculously low pay and no benefits, while charging exorbitant tuitions and burying loads of cash in “endowments” while avoiding taxes. There seems to be a push to force schools to spend down their endowments by funding tuition — or what else are those endowments for?

      Eyes wide open, especially when it comes to “education marketing.”

      • I thought I read somewhere that some tax bill was going to target unspent endowments, since some schools have billions in the fund.

        • @Dave: I seem to recall seeing the same. It’s long overdue.

  10. I made a career change shortly out of college in the early 90s, and it still took 3 years to accomplish. Consider that this in pre-internet days, when HR didn’t control the hiring process and it was much, much easier to make contact with people and your resume–and cover letter–would actually be read by the hiring manager. Still, the mentality of “you don’t have experience in our industry, so why would I consider you for an entry-level job that requires no specific skills?” was the rule even then. Consider also that I wasn’t trying to make a change mid-career, when the experience you have had over the years IS much more relevant.

    Here’s the background. I was working as a staff accountant for a large, institutional (pension funds) real estate investment and management company. This wasn’t my preference–I had wanted to get into development, but the market for development had taken a dump not long before I graduated–so being a bean counter for schlocky institutional buildings wasn’t exactly a “career” in my mind, but a job. But even though urban design and RE development was my main goal, while in college I had also developed an interest in railroad operations, especially intermodal (and containerlines, which were the largest intermodal customers of the railroads). While doing the bean-counting, the prospect of getting into development was increasingly dim, and I got more and more into transportation. And to preface things even more, I had first starting thinking about railroad and intermodal operations after having read Eliyahu Goldratt’s
    “The Goal” and other related writings on production management, and starting applying the Theory of Constraints to what I saw happening in Chicago’s railyards as took the daily Metra commute.(Thus, I had first entered into the inquiries with some viewpoints or theories in mind, and lines of inquiry to pursue.)

    I subscribed to the leading trade publications–and back in those days there was a LOT of great content compared to what one sees in the business press these days–attended an industry conference covering a specialized technical subject that was of interest (I still say that Zeta-Tech’s model has a fundamental flaw); absorbed everything related to current rail and shipping industries as well as histories of companies, biographies, and historical accounts of operations and costing methods. Still, interviews were few and far between–“Sorry, we require somebody with experience in shipping.”

    I finally resorted to attaching an addendum to my resume and cover letters, which was mostly a bibliographical account of my non-credentialed “self-study” readings, and that finally worked the trick to get me in the door. Still, it took a very rare hiring manager who was open to the ideas that: 1)somebody with no actual experience in transportation could know something about it and talk intelligently about the industry, both in general and in detail; and 2)that somebody who purports to want to make a change is interested in pursuing a career in your industry isn’t a bullshit artist but might actually mean it.

    I’ll also add that it takes a hiring manager who wouldn’t feel challenged or threatened by such an applicant.

    Some years later, I learned that it was the addendum with the bibliography (not the cover letter) that caused my bean-counter resume to not be tossed, and that then prompted a reading of my cover letter.

    I don’t think this would work these days.

    (By the way, when I do have a rare interview these days, I always try to bring up how my interest in transportation came about because I had read a business novel about an aeronatical firm manufacturing turbines, as well as how I first came to read that book.)

    • @Bill: “it took a very rare hiring manager”

      I wish job hunters realized they’re not really looking for a job. The objective is always to find that “very rare hiring manager.” That’s how you get a job.

      And the process and challenge about finding that very rare manager is completely different from what we’re taught to do to find a job.

      Thanks for sharing your story. There is an enormously important lesson in it for those that can see it.

  11. Here’s something from Baltasar Gracian that some might enjoy. The last line especially has some relevance for those making a change (though it also applies to those simply changing companies). This is #81 from Gracian’s Manual–The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Fischer translation)

    “Know how to renew your glitter. It is the birthright of the Phoenix: even the best goes stale, and so its fame, for familiarity kills admiration, wherefore something fresh even though mediocre comes to outshine the greater virtue, grown old. Bring about, therefore, your rebirth, in courage, in spirit, in fortune, in everything. Clothe yourself anew in shining armor, and rise again like the sun; change the theatre for your appearance, in order that your absence from the one may evoke desire, and your novelty in the other, applause.”

  12. @Bill Freeto: Both of my friend’s kids graduated from WPI–Worcester Polytech Inst. The school is heavy on the sciences, especially the hard sciences like chemistry. And there are plenty of other colleges and universities in MA at which students can and do major in the sciences. There’s no shortage of STEM majors and graduates here. I suspect that you’re right–why hire an American chemistry major when you can get H1B visa holders with the same degrees and pay them significantly less? That’s good business!

    As for the arts, I was thinking about graphic arts (a cousin’s daughter majored in it and had to do both pre-graduation internships and one post-graduation internship, all unpaid. She’s working at Staples, doing some graphic arts but half of her job is also ringing register, stocking, and other duties.) and fashion (notorious for requiring unpaid internships). Kids hoping to work in museums also get saddled with the unpaid internships requirements, but I think that is less art and more art history. Regardless, businesses and the public sector are taking advantage of students. What if the best intern happens to be poor and can’t afford to volunteer? S/he says no, I have to have paid employment because otherwise I can’t afford to return to school, buy books, etc. Does that mean he is destined to flip burgers for the rest of his life, because he couldn’t afford to volunteer and later won’t be able to check the internship box?

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