Critical response to coverage of the OCC

After having enjoyed a pleasant interview with Yue-Yi Hwa (during which I thought I expressed myself pretty clearly), I was incredibly disappointed by the Record’s article on the Office of Career Counseling (“OCC, students contend with job market uncertainty,” March 11, 2009). As I explained to Yue-Yi, most seniors’ biggest gripe with the OCC is that its services are geared primarily towards economics majors looking for investment banking and consulting jobs. Imagine my irritation, then, when I saw that the Record had chosen to interview five future consultants and me, hardly a fair or representative group of Williams students. The resources the other interviewees cited (that we have to be “willing to take advantage of”) are ones that are available only to this lucky economics group: The OCC doesn’t conduct mock interviews for lab jobs, for example. The fact that the Record did not include the opinions of any of the hundreds of other Williams seniors who are not going into finance or consulting only reinforces the OCC’s bias (The authors claim that other students were “reluctant” to be interviewed, but they clearly did not try hard enough).

What frustrated me most, however, was John Noble’s suggestion that positions in international teaching, Peace Corps and Teach For America are somehow cop-out jobs. The paragraph in which the authors reported a spike in interest in these three areas closed with this zinger from Noble: “A recession and economic downturn gives students the excuse not to feel as bad about not finding a job.” Especially since Noble is supposed to specialize in education careers, I really hope this quote was taken out of context. The idea that someone would resort to teaching or volunteer work only because of failing to find some other job (presumably in investment banking or consulting) is ludicrous and insulting. Either I have one more reason to be disappointed in the OCC or the Record is practicing poor, misleading journalism.

Lindsay Bouton ’09