The career fair mentioned in the previous post began today with recruiters from business and public service; most of these were somewhat removed from what I was looking for but I dropped in to see if any of the finance people were looking for physicists. Observations:
- My ability to fend off shyness is highly context-dependent, and my social skills were unable to adapt to the new environment, and deserted me—I feel like I promptly regressed to the stereotypical socially inept science nerd. Unfortunately, the only cure is to keep trying until approaching a recruiter no longer causes me to blush.
- I debated whether to even bother approaching companies that hadn’t indicated in their listing that they were seeking PhDs. I did, and this turned out to be a good idea, since several of the finance firms were looking for people with my background even if they weren’t necessarily advertising the fact here. Usually in these cases the directive was “apply on the website,” but I was able to gauge who was looking and what their level of interest was.
- One company had a listing and a table assignment but was not to be found. However, when I returned to my e-mail afterwards, I promptly received a recruiting message from them. This is due either to coincidence or the existence of remote SQUID-based brain scanners, in which case I should find the company that makes those and apply there.
- The swag today was pretty terrible—almost everybody gave away pens. I also generally forgot to take stuff, since all my mental resources were directed at the suddenly difficult task of assembling words into sentences. Microsoft had some nifty looking keychains with some kind of LCD game on them, but I felt a strange, almost supernatural reluctance to approach their table. (And I’ve only been a Mac user for a couple months!)
- The tables drawing the least interest from the crowd were the United States Marine Corps, and Philip Morris—apparently Berkeley produces relatively few Nick Naylors. Goldman Sachs got more traffic than these two combined during a period when their table was unmanned, and even the oil companies were doing better.
Tomorrow: Tech companies! Defense contractors! Better swag! More blushing!