Wednesday, November 16, 2011 // The Statement B
answer questions about what they're
F rom the first day of preschool, tots
going to do when they "grow up." As
first graders, students aspire to have
jobs like a zoo keeper, circus performer,
astronaut or the president. But as the years
go on, the career ideas grow and become
more realistic - more individualized.
During the four-year college experience,
students refine their skills and interests so
that after they walk across the podium and
throw their mortar board, they know how
they are going to define their success. But
with a dismal financial outlook, students
don't always think about what they want to
do when they "grow up" as they did when
they were in first grade - instead it's what
they have to do to get by.
With an economy that is not exactly
booming, the idea of securing a job imme-
diately post-graduation is not what all
students opt for. Instead, graduate school
furthers knowledge and postpones loan
payments until there is a concrete income
to pay the bills. In about five months, the
roughly 6,000 seniors will make the deci-
sion of what's next for them. They won't dis-
cuss what they're planning to do when they
"grow up" - because they already have.
FINDING HER WAY
LSA senior Layne Steele Paddon isn't
worried about the days after graduation
on April 28. Not only does she have a plan,
but she thinks the majority of her peers feel
they have a plan as well.
"I think it's not only societally forced on
us that once yougraduate you need a job, but
being in this kind of environment where it's
so rigorous and everyone's at the top of their
game, that we're all really competitive (to
get a job)," she said.
There isn't a twinge of fear as Steele Pad-
don talks about her future. She speaks with
confidence as she explains that through her
internships and firsthand experience she's
decided she wants to go into a career in digi-
tal advertising and marketing. She plans to
use her degree in communication studies
and work in Chicago or Detroit.
However, Steele Paddon can't currently
get a job because the advertising field moves
so quickly that jobs become available and
need to be filled within two weeks. Though
there isn't a job waiting for her, Steele Pad-
don says she's not scared she won't get one.
"Through the amount of networkingcthat
I've done and connections that I've made ...
I've established myself well enough where
HR recruiters have said to me, 'I'm going to
help you get a job, even if it's not at my com-
pany,'" she said.
LSA senior Cassie Mills accepted a full-
time job offer with Target Corporation after
her internship with the company last sum-
mer. At Target, she worked as a business
analyst in merchandising operations for
Target India and knew that 80 percent of
the interns would be offered full-time posi-
tions after completing the 10-week intern-
Target is currently holding her position
as an associate business partner for organi-
zational effectiveness until June when she
will start working.
"It feels good because I didn't know I
wanted (the position at Target)," Mills said.
"But at least having that, I came in this year
just so much more relaxed."
Mills is graduating in December with a
degree in organizational studies and plans
to take a semester off "to enjoy life" before
she starts her job.
"I think (the time off is) something that
everyone needs," Mills said. "Everyone
advises you not to go into the work force
right away because college is so demanding,
and then you need that time off. It's the one
time in your life when you'll get vacation."
chose fields like
humanities will - "-"
find that they'
can be more eas- ah
ily hired while
still undergradu- in the n u r
ates, said Dami-
an Zikakis, the em ployer
director of the
Office of Career
Development in a re cormnr
the Ross Schoolu
of Business. cam pu t4
are pursuing -Lynn Set
degrees in busi-
ness and in engi-
they're actually Career Center
learning a par- assistant direct
ticular skill that
matches a job
title ... makes it
a lot easier for them to find a job," Zikakis
said, "because it's easier for a hiring com-
pany to just sort of slot them in."
Last year's Business School class had 87
percent of its 334 graduates employed with-
in three months after graduation, according
Steele Paddon said of all concentrations
and programs for undergraduate students
to pursue, business is the best choice for job
Yet while explaining her non-business
career path post-graduation, Steele Pad-
don glowed with excitement, somethingshe
said is important for her peers to feel about
their careers too. Steele Paddon is going
into advertising because she enjoys it, not
because of the money.
"I'm actually really excited because I feel
like my job, still right now, is my hobby," she
said. "It's not anything I specifically study
so when I get to do it I'm still kind of giddy.
I just love it."
Steele Paddon pointed out that some of
her peers get stuck because they think their
first job defines all subsequentjobs. She said
she's comfortable with the idea that she can
change her mind and that she might not do
what she starts off doing for the rest of her
"I always try to remind myself what I'm'
choosing to do right now doesn't have to be
what I do for the rest of my life," Steele Pad-
don said. "I can change if it's not something
that makes me happy, or if it's going poorly
or I'm just not achievingthe kind of success
that I want."
THE LOST GENERATION?
The slow economy is leaving highly edu-
cated students without the jobs they desire,
and instead, they are working to make ends
meet through multiple jobs that don't nec-
essarily require a degree. Recent articles
in publications like The New York Times
and The Atlantic have described the cur-
rent generation of
"stuck in limbo"
' r V seen and "the lost gen-
- Generation X
.,increase was the subject of
a study published
ber of last month by
Jon Miller, a Uni-
w h o versity research
scientist at the
ba ck to Center for Politi-
cal Studies. Miller
found that mem-
re r u it. bers of "the lost
lle-W hite not embody their
types of being
ior and underachiev-
in the report that
the three words
that describe Generation X are: "active, bal-
anced and happy." The study found that the
most educated GenX'ers were more likelyto
be employed and worked the longest work
weeks. It also found that two-thirds of
GenX'ers were satisfied with their current
job - debunking the idea that finding a job
post-graduation is impossible.
Lynne Sebille-White, senior assistant
director at the University's Career Center,
said she doesn't think the students she sees
in her office are complacent about the job
"It seems like students are more engaged
now," Sebille-White said. "Certainly, atten-
dance is back up to normal levels at things,
and campus recruiting is busy and resume
drops are back up."
A growing number of companies are
interested in recruiting University students,
according to Sebille-White. The Fall Career
Expo this year had to add an entire day
because more recruiters were interested in
coming to campus.
"Things are improving greatly," Sebille-
White said. "Certainly, we've seen a huge
increase in the number of employers who
are coming back to campus to recruit either
through the career fairs or campus recruit-
Beside hosting career fairs, the Career
Center works with students to develop resu-
mes, cover letters and a general career plan.
Mills found her internship with Tar-
get through the Career Center, which has
postings for positions available at various
corporations. She said she sees a disparity
between positions made for Business and
Engineering students and those posted for
"I feel bad because I know a lot of my
friends in LSA don't have a lot of the
resources and it's discouraging," Mills said.
"I think that the school does need to do a
better job of that. I think the Career Center
is OK, and they do try to do their best, but
they need to be making sure that LSA stu-
dents are getting as much of an advantage as
Engineering and Business students because
employers should be comingthere too."
Another option students have after grad-
uation is to take a "gap year" Sebille-White
added. Some students choose to get involved
in the Peace Corp or Teach for America
because they want time to learn more and
make more informed decisions regarding
their career, Sebille-White said.
"It's not necessarily the fallback that
they want to do Teach for America (or that)
they want to do Peace Corp," Sebille-White
said. "Maybe they've been really involved in
working on social justice issues or interna-
tional kinds of development issues or (want'
to understand) the different dynamic of the
educational system in the U.S. ... they feel
like now is a good time for me to be able to
Sebille-White added that the dynamic
between parents and students has changed
over time, and students are more willing to
seek their parents' advice which slows their
"Younger folks in general have more
access to information than previous genera-
tions," Sebille-White said. "So they're going
to check those points of access, whether
that's their parents, their friends, other rel-
atives ... before they make decisions."
Steele Paddon said she's not worried
about life after graduation because she
always has her parents' support and can live
at their house if necessary.
"I'm going through the motions, I'm
doing the most that I can, so if I don't have
a job coming out of graduation, they're not
going to be upset with me, which is com-
forting," Steele Paddon said. "I don't feel
like I have tons of pressure because I have a
good support system."
Try yelling "go blue!" in an airport and
not getting a response back. The phrase can
unify strangers and be common ground for
recruiters and students.
Sebille-White and Zikakis said attend-
ing the University is an advantage to stu-
dents. Zikakis suggested that students may
be more immune to the economic slump:, ,
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