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Auntie Sam on the Job Hunt

Dear Auntie Sam,
I think most results are in by now. All of the people I know have at least one job offer and plenty of my overachieving friends have several. I, meanwhile, decided to focus on finding a job in journalism and applied to all of three magazines I considered worthwhile. I thought it better to be Selective About My Job Search. Of course, I aimed straight for the top. I wrote to Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair, Anna Wintour at Vogue, and the highly secretive Editrix of The Economist.

Carter at Vanity Fair made sense because his is a classic rise to greatness story and I figured he would really understand my having grown up in a little house in Little Rock, Arkansas and having attended HBS. This man is now hailed as a King of Hollywood just by virtue of Vanity Fair’s adulation of The Stars. I think I could be a King someday, if not a Kingmaker. After all, I’ve got all my HBS classmates to write about.
Anna Wintour, the queen bee at Vogue would, I thought, not assume the real reason I want to simply spend the summer at Vogue–just to breathe the same air as the Vogue Women in the Cond‚ Nast cafeteria. To be perfectly honest, I could spend my whole life in that place and die a happy man. I’ll admit that I wrote to The Economist because I didn’t want to come across as a complete flake to the HBS career counselor who arched her eyebrows at me when she heard of my VF and Vogue designs.

Can you believe that Graydon, dear Graydon, was the only one of the three who deigned to respond to my letter. I received a beautiful light blue Florentine linen envelope back containing my original letter and r‚sum‚ with a note containing the words, “We do not believe your valuable HBS training would be best employed here this summer.” What should I do?

Love,
Jobless

Dear Jobless,
I’ll admit, I’m thoroughly confused as to what the deal is with you and why you think that I can be of assistance. Do you want to be a journalist, in which case I might question why you are at business school, or do you just have a fixation on Graydon Carter and the Vogue Women? In the absence of having detected any disappointment on your part about the fact that you’re without a hope of finding a summer job at the moment, I’ll assume that you are aspiring to Graydon or just want to hang in the Cond‚ Nast cafeteria.

Regarding the latter, Wait In Line–the litany of Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers attempting to ambush the cafeteria every day stands in your way. I’m told they even ride the elevators continuously at rush hour so they can glimpse the Objects of Their Adoration.

You’ll forgive HBS if the career services folks are unaccustomed to having students whose only aspiration is really “God Knows?” I’ll admit to a complete failure of my shrink capabilities on this one–I think you ought to seek the advice of a professional shrink. In the meantime I would say to your HBS classmates that you plan to Travel For the Summer.

Yours,
Auntie Sam

Send in your problems to Auntie Sam at harbus@hbs.edu

March 5, 2001
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