OP-ED: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Saying this at a Dyson School-sponsored career fair isn’t how I wanted this to go down, but I have to just say it: I’m rejecting your post-graduation offer in order to be an entry-level associate at JP Morgan.

It’s important for you to know that it’s not you or your organizational structure, it’s my carefully balanced need for social standing via successful employment and desire for an idealized future achievable only through a high income early in life. I am a soon-to-be graduate of Cornell University, after all.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. You’re really great and you’ve been so good to me. Your advocacy for affordable housing policy is admirable. You unearthed my passions in a way I didn’t think possible since I buried them in favor of a safe, stable career. And you made me smile. Not every post-graduate opportunity could do that.

But JP Morgan is a global conglomerate in a world dominated by nearly interchangeable global conglomerates, so the experience is totally transferable. And I have no desire to change or challenge that system and also student loans I need to be thinking about.

I still have the email, for what it’s worth, from my friend, in the Cornell Consulting Club. That was when I first thought I would work for you. You were charming and easy going. You looked like you had a good thing going and I guess I just got swept up in it all. Your interest in community organization is inspiring; your financial team only investing in socially conscious enterprises is exactly what I yearn for in a company. I wanted you, I really did.

It’s been an absolutely magical process, getting to know you at career fair after career fair. And those interviews! Every time we talked, I fell for you more and more. I began to feel like I could really do something engaging with my degree, not merely sell it out to the highest bidder.

But unfortunately I’m not in a place where I can see myself with a firm like you. I just have a lot going on, like my deeply entrenched value system that rates conformity and security over experimenting with my future.

I’m sorry. I know this must be hard, and it hurts me to be saying it too. I’m just not ready for the kind of uncertainty and commitment that it would require to work for you. And that’s not on you. That’s a me thing.

I didn’t want to have to choose like this. But JP Morgan offered me enough money to comfortably live with my debt, even though I can’t live comfortably with myself.

I hope you find someone who’s right for you. Like John. I hear he didn’t get an offer from JP Morgan and he’s probably pretty desperate right now. You should give him a call.

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