oh no she didn’t

the hotelie life

Aborting the Mission

April14
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So, here’s the deal: I have been actively searching for a job since October. And when I say searching, I mean checking MediaBistro every single day, sending my resume to everyone and anyone that I might even consider working for, and networking like crazy. I haven’t really dropped the ball or stopped looking at any point, and I’ve put a lot of my focus and energy into making sure my clips, resumes and cover letters are the best they could have been.

But now it’s April and I literally have zero offers. At this point, I am officially the only one of my hotelie friends who has no idea where she will be living or what she will be doing six weeks from now. As my classmates sign leases and start checking out IKEA furniture for their new urban apartments, I’ve found myself staring out onto what is nothing more than just a big, black space that lies beyond May 25th. As one might imagine, it is probably — likely — one of the scariest things I’ve ever been faced with (hey, come on, I’m only 21). And yo, incoming freshmen: the prospect of moving far from home to come to college is nothing; just wait ’til you’re a Cornell senior!

It’s been no secret that the job market is especially tough for this year’s grads, the state of the economy is terrifying and media — a fairly unpredictable industry to begin with — is changing rapidly. People are getting slashed from newsrooms all over the country and, this summer, staffers at my favorite magazine (Jane) walked into work one day to find that they no longer had jobs — the publication had just folded. It happens.

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I have been lucky enough to find something I’m passionate about (and trust me, I know that apathy is probably far worse than uncertainty or unemployment) and even more fortunate to have parents that support their children who have both decided to ditch their respective educational tracks to be Alaskan Mountain Guides (my brother) or writers (me). I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to new media (and therefore employable), but — let’s get real, there’s a whole city full of equally-savvy, comparably-educated media types who can interview for, get hired into and start working at the job I’d want in the time it takes for me to even get down to New York and interview for the open position (let alone the time that would pass between my landing the job, finishing up my degree and moving out there).

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I never thought it was going to be a piece of cake to use my Hotel School degree to pursue something outside the scope of a traditional hospitality or financial job, but JC — I would have never imagined it would be this difficult or emotional. I think I did a really, really crappy job of managing my expectations throughout this process (let’s just say sista got a little full of herself) . . . but, then again, when you’re at the most prestigious hospitality school in the world, you watch employers banging down your classmates’ doors, and so some part of you expects them to do the same to you. Also, more often than not, I found myself having to defend my decision to major in Hotel Administration in all my media and publishing interviews — and I wasn’t prepared for that, either.

Anyway, since I need to graduate, I have to pour my energy into my massive courseload and just stop searching now. I still have a couple of balls in the air, but, at this point, I can’t reach out to anyone new because, hey — if I do get a job and then have to stick around Ithaca for an extra semester just to finish my degree anyway, that job won’t do me too much good, will it? =) Today was the deadline that I’d set for myself; I promised myself that if I didn’t have a job offer by now, I would turn my full attention back to my schoolwork.

Right now, the plan is to move back to Dallas and look for jobs from Bromberg HQ. Word on the street is that the computers, printers and broadband connections are much faster there than they are in my yucky college apartment, anyway. If anything happens between now and then, you, my dear fabulous readers, will be the first to know.

4 Comments to

“Aborting the Mission”

  1. April 15th, 2008 at 8:57 am       Lisa Says:

    I doubt this will help much, but my first job out of college was shovelling horse manure. My second was a stringer for the Ithaca Times. And my third was working in the MVR computer lab. These all happened simultaneously. And. Yeah, I ate a lot of Ramen.

    Point being, it sucked for a while, but they all got me where I needed to be. Careers take time to build.

    PS. My husband? The Mechie? Yeah. He’s a firefighter now. There are degrees and there are callings and sometimes never the twain shall meet. Even when it says Cornell on your diploma.


  2. April 15th, 2008 at 9:28 am       Matt's mom Says:

    Jenna,
    Good job of analyzing the factors that are working against you–just remember that they have nothing to do with YOU.

    I managed be the only member of my MBA class at Wharton to graduate without a job, so I feel your pain. After I cut the Alice in Wonderland hair and bought a black suit, I ended up with a fine entry level position and a quick rise through the ranks of advertising. It WILL work out, but maybe not on the schedule you had imagined.

    Your writing talent is obvious to your loyal readers (including our entire family, ranging in age from 14 to 56). Your blog is entertaining, heartfelt, humorous and a wonderful window into life at Cornell. Hang in there. We await the happy ending!


  3. May 4th, 2008 at 10:42 am       Art's Mom Says:

    Jenna,

    I BELIEVE IN YOU!

    Lots of love,
    Mrs. Beck


  4. May 10th, 2008 at 3:18 pm       Alex Says:

    Great blog! Don’t give up hope! :) Even in these times, this guy’s a High School dropout who got his G.E.D., joined the Army IN high school, got out, became a USG Contractor, and is now making a six-figure salary as a Watch Analyst for FEMA, let alone buying a new (well, semi-used) townhouse and two new cars. Hope springs eternal, even IF the circle doesn’t hold! :)

    Alex in DC


More than you ever needed to know.

My name is Jenna and I’m a senior Hotel Administration major (you know you’re jealous). I came here from Plano, TX, a huge suburb of Dallas where the high school football teams and the retail shopping experiences are top-notch. I graduated in 2004 from Plano West Senior High, a two-year public high school with around 1800 students. I’m now in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration where the entire school is smaller than my graduating senior class, but I like it that way. Although we’re allowed to concentrate in specific areas within the Hotel Administration major– Finance or Food and Beverage, for example– I  sort of spent the last 3 years dabbling in everything from culinary arts to hotel design to information systems. I’m thinking that I’d like to go into some sort of industry-related writing; maybe, like, travel magazine writing?

I’m just getting started on my senior year and could not be happier (or busier, really). I work as a Cornell tour guide, answering the phone for 254-INFO, working in the traffic/visitor information booths around campus, and writing back to those emails you send to info@cornell.edu. True to my Southern roots, I’m a member of a sorority, Kappa Delta, and lived in the house with 35 of my sisters sophomore year. I’m involved in various hotelie clubs and worked as a function manager for Hotel Ezra Cornell, a weekend-long event where hotelies take over the Statler Hotel and showcase their talents to hundreds of guests who just happen to be the most influential leaders in the global hospitality industry. In 2007-2008, I take over as the executive director of the Vagina Monologues as part of the nationwide V-Day movement to stop violence against women. Freshman year, I played clarinet in the Cornell Wind Ensemble, bass clarinet in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and a little bit of both in the Cornell Chamber Orchestra. I served as Director of Tours for the Hotel School and am now the president of the Hotel School Ambassadors, the group of fabulous hotelies that give tours to prospective students and act as mentors to newly admitted freshmen. Also, I am one of the founding members of the Hotel School Student Advisory Board, a group of SHA students who meet with academic deans to discuss curriculum and other things that will help continuously improve our fabulous school. On top of all that, I had a column in the Cornell Daily Sun junior year (called “Fast Times at Statler High”) and remain on the Sun Op-Ed Board my senior year. I am also an editor of a news blog run by an outside firm, as well as a writer at Hotelchatter.com. Plus, I go out on the weekends… really, I do have a life. Kind of.

This year’s mission: find a job or get into grad school. And, um, graduate.

      Other questions? Leave them in the comments section on any of my entries!