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You don’t need the Harbus to tell you that options for gainful employment are bleak this summer, but we’re assholes so thought we’d mention it anyway. Thankfully, we’re a bit more constructive than the folks over at Career Services, who so thoughtfully included this reminder at the end of their recent poll: “POLL INCOMPLETE. YOU SAID YOU WERE LOOKING FOR SUMMER EMPLOYMENT BUT YOU HAVE NOT INDICATED WHERE YOU ARE WORKING THIS SUMMER.”

In fact, we’re so kind and caring that we are already looking ahead to next fall and how you’ll explain away what you did-or didn’t-do this summer on your r‚sum‚ and in your interviews (assuming you don’t get dinged for all of them). So join us as we forecast how things will pan out for you, depending on what your summer plans are.
Your summer plan Employment in same industry as previous job
End result: Same shit, different day
Added bonus: One day of extra shit when the toilet backed up
How you play it up on your r‚sum‚:Same shit, different firm
Explaining it in the interview: “All part of the master plan. Unlike the rest of the losers you’ll interview, I know exactly what I’m doing.”
How the interviewer interprets it: Not good enough to get a job anywhere else, and certainly not good enough for us.

PLAN:Employment in different industry from previous job

RESULT: A challenging, rewarding experience
ADDED BONUS: A rewarding, challenging experience
RSUM: An experience that was both rewarding and challenging.

EXPLANATION: “It was an experience that was both challenging and rewarding.”
INTERPRETATION: Can’t figure out what he/she wants to be when he/she grows up. Let some other firm hire this joker and spend a fortune in re-training every six months.

PLAN: Non-profit employment

RESULT: Spent the summer surrounded by inept poor people. Just like your old burger-flipping days, but the pay’s even worse.
ADDED BONUS:Free T-shirt!
RSUM: Devote half of your work experience to this “personally stimulating” activity to show how in tune you are with the needs of society.
EXPLANATION: “It’s not all about money to me.”
INTERPRETATION: Fiscally irresponsible; not smart enough to be employable in a real company.

PLAN:International employment

RESULT:Went sightseeing every weekend, then came back and annoyed coworkers during the week with your foreign accent.
ADDED BONUS:Salary paid in worthless local currency.
RSUM: Focus on your ability to adapt to the international business world and master important local nuances.
EXPLANATION: “Superior business skills and knowledge know no borders.”
INTERPRETATION: Probably a wanted felon back home-ask for a copy of criminal record and a drug test before rejecting anyway.

PLAN:Research assistant

RESULT:Chained to desk in Baker Library; forced to write case on rolling up poorly managed (but potentially lucrative) lemonade stands.
ADDED BONUS:None of your friends find out because nobody knows that Baker exists
RSUM: Claim publication credit for case even though case published under the professor’s name.
EXPLANATION: “A valuable lesson in research methods and innovative business thinking.”
INTERPRETATION: “Research Assistant? Can you go get me a cup of coffee before sending in the next interviewee?”

PLAN:Start your own company

RESULT: Realized that your “brilliant” idea wasn’t any better than rolling up dry cleaning stores.
ADDED BONUS: Already blew next year’s CitiAssist as seed capital.
RSUM: CEO and Founder, startup. Neglect to mention that the startup failed.
EXPLANATION: “I decided to test my entrepreneurship skills.”
INTERPRETATION: If they were any good at entrepreneurship, then they would already be self-employed.

PLAN:Work for the family business

RESULT: Realized that your family members are incompetent and annoying.
ADDED BONUS: Parents modified their will to leave everything to their pets.
RSUM: Executive-level position at the firm with broad-ranging responsibilities. Neglect to mention that your parents own the company.
EXPLANATION: “The management experience of a lifetime.”
INTERPRETATION: So why aren’t you going back?

PLAN: Travel

RESULT: Learned more about yourself
and life than anyone working this summer.
ADDED BONUS: Tanned, rested, and ready for the fall semester.
RSUM: International business development or attempted startup – yeah, that’s the ticket!
EXPLANATION: “I’m a self-starter, and decided to go at it on my own.”
INTERPRETATION: What, mom and dad weren’t hiring?

PLAN: Work at HBS

RESULT: Unlearned more about yourself and life than anyone working this summer.
ADDED BONUS: Developed allergic reaction to food on campus.
RSUM: Left blank out of embarrassment.
EXPLANATION: “I spent the summer traveling.”
INTERPRETATION: Smart enough to take a last vacation before we work him/her to death for the next 40 or so years. Hired!

May 6, 2002
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