Letter: There’s still time

I write in response to Kevin Symcox’s column “The View from the 40th Floor” (Feb. 3). While students may fear that career decisions made today will limit their future options, it is unlikely that any choice of career at this point will be their last. In fact, it is more likely that by the time an alumnus is 40, he or she will have had at least 10 jobs (according to a Labor Department study, baby boomers held an average of 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42).

As the principal career advisor for Yale College alumni, I often speak with people seeking to change careers, frequently to pursue what Kevin refers to as “something crazy or unique.” In the last few months, I’ve spoken with a 48-year-old investment banker seeking to become a teacher, a 29-year-old corporate lawyer wanting to work with the indigent and a 33-year-old commercial real estate professional looking to address the health and fitness issues of children.

Some students may worry that having gotten on “the corporate train,” they will have to ride it until they retire. They may find, however, that they really enjoy the ride, as many of our alumni have.

And for those who don’t, there will likely be plenty of opportunities to change trains.

Jane Ezersky

Feb. 4

The writer is a career counselor at Undergraduate Career Services.



    HA! Oh Ms. Ezersky, your naivete astounds me. Though your examples of people who want to go from competitive to uncompetitive jobs is amusing, what about those who want to go the other way? (Yes, they’re out there, and they even come from places like Yale — just ask a good chunk of students from the Yale Class of 2009 who went to Teach for America in vastly greater numbers than prior years even though, deep down, they would not have chosen this route had the economy been better.) If you really think these individuals who were forced into positions far less traditional than what they had hoped for will ultimately be able to get their foot into what they wanted as firmly as they otherwise would have, you’re either not saying what you really think or, maybe, UCS needs to do more careful analysis of Yale graduate career paths than rely on anecdotal evidence alone. (Having done such analysis, I can assure you that even for Yalies, one can “trade-down” — but seldom “trade-up” — if they do not start a certain trajectory *very* soon after college.)

    Please (and this goes for everyone in a full-time position at UCS) take some accountability here and either provide actionable advice to make a transition or tell the REAL story as it is so students can plan accordingly, even if that means they’ll have to settle (yes, settle) for plan B. Flowers-and-sunshine tales — a popular item among career counselors everywhere — stop being fun to hear when they prove to be blatant departures from the truth.

  • Recent Alum

    In other words, over the past few months, Ms. Ezersky has spoken with a 48-year-old laid-off investment banker, a 29-year-old laid-off corporate lawyer and a 33-year-old laid-off commercial real estate professional.


    I don’t appreciate my name being stolen by my dopplegangers.

  • JAK100

    I am always amused by the snarkiness of most posts here, but what ROFLCOPTOR calls Ms. Ezersky “naivete” misses the point that she was replying to a student’s fear that once in a competitive job he could never get out. Her answer was directly responsive to to his concern. The second response is perhaps correct (I do not know), but which alumni do you suppose are contacting Career Services? There is no doubt the economy is bad, but suggesting that UCS is unaware of that fact or trying to hide it is just silly.

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