MORITZ: Short changed by the career fair

On an early Friday morning after a late Thursday evening, my friend David and I woke up at the crack of dawn (around 10 a.m.), threw on tennis shoes, shorts and T-shirts, and met outside the fitness center on the fourth floor of Payne Whitney for an invigorating workout. We proceeded to pump our muscles up to their maximum capacity while reviewing the night we didn’t remember and proposing half-baked theories about the biological mechanisms that would give us huge pecs.

After our workout, feeling energetic and ready to seize the day, I convinced David to come with me to check out the career fair, which was happening on the basketball courts in the same building. We were both, as graduating seniors, casually interested in job opportunities. We headed down to the courts and found ourselves amid a throng of students in pressed black suits, professional skirts, and shined shoes. Did David and I, sweaty and underdressed, fit in? Of course not. But we didn’t care too much; we just wanted to see the booths and the different employers. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t make it that far.

As we approached the sign-in desk, a nicely dressed woman appeared from the crowd and gave some general directions: “Please make two lines, so that we can get you in faster.” David and I seized the opportunity and moved to the newly created line. Then the woman caught sight of us. She looked back at general crowd, and said “If you received our previous communications, you should know that we recommended business casual attire,” and looked right back at us. “Can we just go in like this?” I asked, motioning to my gym shorts. She came closer to David and me, and told us that we would be making a bad impression and that we reflected “poorly on the school.” She asked us “Do you feel comfortable wearing that here?” David and I mutually agreed, “Yeah, we feel fine.” “Well, you shouldn’t,” she responded. And that was pretty much it. David and I did not get into the career fair, because we were wearing gym clothes. The woman was the dean of Undergraduate Career Services.

Now, I understand that some events require formal attire. If I were going into a real interview, and my employer had requested that I come dressed nicely, I would. But were job representatives at a career fair really going to discriminate against students who came wearing gym clothes? The painful irony, if it needed pointing out, was that the career fair had been held in a gym.

I had a plan before going in. If an employer wouldn’t look beyond a pair of gym shorts, I wouldn’t waste their and my time at their booth. But it wasn’t the employer I should have been worried about. It was the dean of UCS. It was because we didn’t look good (despite our svelte post-workout physiques). She didn’t care about who we were, nor about our abilities or merits. To her, we were a smudge on UCS’ image, on Yale’s, and she wasn’t going to let us tarnish the event that she had organized.

Rules are important. You need them to run a large establishment. But at a school, an institution whose primary purpose is to enable and encourage, students should be given every opportunity possible to grow. Yale, unfortunately, does not focus on this kind of education. The people who run the various services at Yale are generally more concerned about maintaining order than with helping individual students. This is what the dean of UCS was thinking when she rejected David and me from entering a career fair. For her, it wasn’t about helping us find a job. It was about having a room full of nicely dressed, finance-and-consulting-looking people.

Yale does not do all it should to enable and encourage its students; instead, it forces them to learn to survive on their own. At times, students will find themselves struggling against unreasonable formalities, because the very people who enforce such regulations don’t focus on educating and encouraging individuals, but on making sure that the rules stay in place.

I imagine that many of you reading this will disagree with me. I probably come off as an anti-establishment, idealist T-shirt-wearing meathead. I can only voice two points in my defense: first, it is not okay to deny someone a potentially life-changing opportunity because he didn’t put the right piece of fabric over his body that day. Second, I’m not nearly strong enough to be considered a meathead.

Will Moritz is a senior in Trumbull College.

Comments

  • alsoalsoanon

    There’s only been one time throughout my time at Yale that I’ve ever felt like I was being treated like a child and it was by UCS.

  • willthefirst

    Addendum:

    I realize that this article is a bit hot-headed and one-sided, and it was published before I got a chance to level out my opinion because of a miscommunication with editors at the YDN. But since this is about the career fair that happened just last weekend, it makes sense to let it get published now, for the sake of relevance.

    The paragraph starting with “Yale does not do all it should…” was written as a culmination of bad experiences I’ve had from dealing with this school’s ridiculous bureaucracy and regulations, and to be honest, I was venting when I wrote it. I hope that the point readers take away from this article is that in a big institution like Yale, sometimes the individual cogs that make the whole machine function focus more on making things turn smoothly than on the deeper goals of education. I think this explains many needless formalities that exist here, and this weekend, it was dress code at the career fair.

  • RealworldRealists

    This entire article reeks of entitlement, an inflated sense of self-ego and a complete lack of real world experience. At an institution like Yale the deeper goals of education are to serve the best needs of the entire academic body. I am actually interested in what you believe the deeper goals of education to be at an institution.

  • gaystains

    “first, it is not okay to deny someone a potentially life-changing opportunity because he didn’t put the right piece of fabric over his body that day”

    Please, Will, revisit this statement in one year when you have graduated, are unemployed, and still wondering why no one has hired you. Maybe then, you will have the good sense to make a better first impression than in your gym shorts. It is too bad that, even after your experience, you still have not internalized this as the “education” that you claim to seek.

  • River_Tam

    Don’t take this the wrong way, Mr. Moritz, because I don’t know you personally. I am only judging you from what you’ve written.

    You are a moron.

    Did you seriously think it was a good idea to go to a career fair in a post-workout, sweat-stained T-shirt? Really? I don’t know whether you sound more like an anti-establishment hippy who thinks people should look beyond your smelly, unsanitary appearance or a naive besotted fool who doesn’t realize that professional attire is expected in such situations.

    The Dean of UCS didn’t let you in because letting you in would have reflected poorly on Yale and Yale students. The career fair is a professional event. You were not dressed professionally. It’s as simple as that. The representatives of employers who come to the career fair are wearing suits and dress clothes. You should do the same.

    You ask whether employers would judge you poorly for coming into a career fair post-workout. The answer is yes – an unqualified and unreserved yes. Any employer would. You wouldn’t go to class without taking a shower and putting on new clothes – why on earth would you think it’s acceptable to go to a career fair in such a state? Would you also complain if they prevented you from going into the career fair shirtless?

    A career fair isn’t Spring Fling. It’s a professional setting – a pre-interview – a time to make a good impression. You would have made a bad impression, had anyone learned your name (which I assume they wouldn’t have, since you clearly didn’t have a resume with you). You could have gone home and thrown on a dress shirt and nice pants. No one barred you from the event – they barred you from the event in an unacceptable state. You have all the opportunity in the world – many of the best employers in the United States come to the career fair.

    Frankly, I’ve seen people at a Yale career fair wearing jeans and a polo shirt (programmers have it easy). The bar is not high. You tried to limbo you way under the bar and got called out on it. No “meathead” would have tried this stunt, because “meatheads” understand the importance of rules. You don’t.

    Grow up, live in the real world, and take a shower next time. No one wants to see or smell that.

  • RexMottram08

    1. Shower, Shave, Put on a collared shirt
    2. UCS is a joke
    3. Career Fairs are lame
    4. Those who can’t, teach. No! Those who can’t, work for UCS.

  • eli1

    Ummmm bro no offense but if you care about your job prospects you might want to go over to UCS and give the dean a big hug and a ‘thank her for not letting you in.

  • phantomllama

    You never really planned to go to the fair. You were in the gym, thought how amusing it would be to write this article, and decided to go and be turned away, as you knew you rightfully would be.

    Grow up, and buy a suit.

  • shannondoherty

    What are you people saying? 2 people dressed in gym clothes IN A F**KING GYM are NOT going to make an entire university look bad–I think we can all agree on that. If the author wanted to see the employers present at the fair, get some literature about them, he should be able to do so without someone harassing him. As for phantomllama, your assumptions only make you look like a child.

    • phantomllama

      Pot, kettle, black.

    • River_Tam

      > 2 people dressed in gym clothes IN A F**KING GYM are NOT going to make an entire university look bad–I think we can all agree on that.

      I don’t agree at all. My BFF’s Bat Mitzvah was held in the same party center as a wedding the following week. You wear different attire to each.

      When the Career Fair is being held, it’s not a gymnasium. It’s a Career Fair. Next you’ll be complaining they couldn’t play basketball between the tables.

      > If the author wanted to see the employers present at the fair, get some literature about them, he should be able to do so without someone harassing him.

      Yeah, it’s all a big plan by the Man to Keep us Down. Mr. Moritz was free to go home and change – it would have taken him less than half an hour. He instead decided to whine about not how no one else wanted to smell his sweaty body.

  • muresan

    Most of the comments above are moronic. It’s pretty simple, really: this was an event open to all undergraduates, with a *recommended* (not *required*) dress code, according to Will’s account. If so, and if he wanted in and was comfortable going in like that, he should have been allowed to enter. It’s that simple. It’s irrelevant to consider what sort of impression he would have made – that’s his own problem. If it turned out that, indeed, a dress code was merely recommended but not required, and the sanctimonious dean did not let me in, I would not have hugged her, as another correspondent suggested — I would have punched her (well, metaphorically, of course — we live after all in a civil society, and I like to hope, not in a nanny state either).

    Matthew Muresan ’96, London.

    • phantomllama

      Quote from the UCS email:

      ‘Professional attire is recommended; neat business casual attire is permitted.’

      Very clear that a dress code was required; the only choice open to the students was whether to wear professional or business casual attire. Your point crumbles when faced with the facts.

      • CrazyBus

        Logic’d

  • 2comment

    UCS has never been anything but a classist relic, either helping the blue bloods stay bluebloods, or, in this day and age, helping a slightly more socially/economically diverse student body aspire to the aristocracy. Oh, and if you want to be anything other than the stereotypically successful Yalie in a suit with a banking job, forget it. They don’t know how to help you. That isn’t a career in their eyes. Or in the eyes of many posters here, it is just moronic or unrealistic. Sigh.
    DIdn’t you all read Thoreau in your prep schools? Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
    Does anyone even flinch at the cost of a new suit? Business casual? It is all just snobbery sanctioned by the upper class and spineless hangers on.

    • ShaveTheWhales

      I really don’t like UCS either.

      But your comment has little to do with the discussion on proper attire.

  • jnewsham

    This is the longest Facebook status I’ve ever read.

    • River_Tam

      jnewsham, why are you so much funnier as a commenter than as a columnist?

  • smartypants79

    Really dude? What the heck were you thinking? Do you not think your potential employers might google your name and find this garbage? Do you not think you might need those ‘unhelpful” people at career services when you go to find a job?

    Potential employers want to see that you are interested and engaged. Stopping by on a whim in your gym clothes does not scream out “i really want a job at X,Y,Z place.”

    You need to get a clue before you actually start looking for jobs, and also to do whatever damage control you can. good luck, buddy. you’re going to need it.

  • River_Tam

    Will Moritz needs his shorts changed.

  • simis1000

    Clearly Will doesn’t care about his actual chance of finding a job at the fair. Had they let him in he would made one or two laps, felt awkward, and left. That’s exactly what happened to another sweaty friend of mine who somehow had gotten past Cerberus.

    Read the conclusion. What’s at stake here is what kind of place Yale is. Do we let Will walk in and confirm that the corporate world isn’t for him at this point in life? Or are we too worried about offending a few employers’ assumed attachment to form?

    DO WE PUBLISH THE DANISH CARTOONS IN THE BOOK THAT INVESTIGATES THE CONTROVERSY AROUND THEM? DO WE PURSUE TRUTH AND JUSTICE WHEN SOMEONE MAY HAVE BEEN RAPED?

    You can keep your ‘real world’. Will’s is more real than any dress code or recruiter-pleasing strategy.

  • RexMottram08

    Easy on the “meathead” chatter…. Yale’s jocks might be poli-sci taking protein chuggers, but they know how to wear a suit and get a job!