I’m have a hunch about this one but no evidence to base it on, and I’m curious to see what readers think, so I’m throwing it out for opinions. A reader writes:
I’m writing not about myself, but about a friend of mine. When I met her several years ago, she was working at a job she’d gotten partially out of connections, and making a mint at it. Her salary and benefits package were great, but she had some conflicts with her manager and so eventually quit, in order to do her masters. Fast forward a year, she’s finished the masters, and it’s time to get another job. . . only she doesn’t. She just got back into town, and turns out she’s spent a year “job hunting.”
At first, I was baffled: surely she would have found SOMETHING in that period. So I started asking some questions. First, she replied that she was shocked she had to interview as she’d NEVER had to interview before (imagine that said with the same tone someone would use declaring they never kicked puppies). She goes on to tell me she’s been to numerous networking events where people from X prestigious group or Y flashy company have declared she’s amazing and perfection, but alas, they cannot hire her. . . if only she’d gone to a “better” university. Now, I’m watching her apply and interview for yet more jobs, back in this city she was determined to leave before; she spends days crafting resumes and cover letters. Am I missing something here? She’s in NGO and development work, but still, no matter how prestigious the employer. . . three days on a cover letter?
So here’s my question: I’m getting increasingly frustrated by this friend. She’s now taken to blaming the fact she hasn’t had a job in a year on the fact she didn’t go to an Ivy league school for her masters. She’s gone so far as to try to give me career and educational advice (I’m considering going back for a masters myself), telling me that it will be worthless unless it’s from X or Y school. Myself, I don’t buy that. I’m having flashes of the intro to Tootsie, when Dustin Hoffman talks about how there’s no excuse for not working. So who is right? Is she being cruelly shut out of the job market? Or, as I suspect, is she coming across as arrogant, entitled, and pretentious, and that’s why no one wants to hire her? I think she just expected the perfect job, that’s going to have a high salary, great benefits, wonderful hours, a high title, and be comprised entirely of interesting work fall into her lap the minute she graduated, as she is clearly a very special snowflake. Somewhere in the middle, I’ve heard her talk about her work before, and she has a tendency to drift into jargon territory, with a tone and an attitude that no one else in the conversation knows as much about this topic as she does. I’ve helped her prep for interviews and I’m pretty sure she’s doing this with employers.
If I am right, how can I tell her this? She keeps wanting to talk about her job hunt and asking my opinion and advice, and I mostly just want to scream at her. Or am I entirely off-base, and she’s just having a hard time getting a job?