TPE: Job Hunting Gone Wrong
Conference season commences this week, beginning with NASPA and the "necessary" evil that is TPE. Several of my cohortmates have undergone a process of self-induced panic and anxiety in preparation for TPE: filling out applications, contacting employers, and creating a laundry list of potential interview questions. Where as I? I am doing none of the sort as I have adamantly rejected any persuasion of attending TPE.
Reason being is that I remain a skeptic about the realistic effectiveness of such a chaotic process. The job hunt is competitive as it is, now you want to put me in a room with other candidates and interview competitively like I'm in the Hunger Games? No thanks. My biggest gripe with TPE is that candidates are asked to pay on average about $100ish (depending on if you were on your game and registered early) to participate. I'm sorry, but nothing sounds more ridiculous than asking someone to pay money to find a job.
Yes pragmatists, I understands that there are costs associated with putting on such an event, but why push the cost on the candidates? We grad students are cash-strapped as it is! If anything, it should really be a cost fronted completely by the employers; what a difference that might make in the experience.
My recruiting experience taught me that paying to find a job creates unrealistic expectations and demands from the consumer. You want to get what you pay for, and in this world of employment wheel of fortune, there are no guarantee that you will get a job through TPE. But you're paying for the interview experience...cut the crap, as a grad student you can get that experience for free by visiting your campus career center.
Listen, I am not a complete hater. I think that for some, the experience will pay off. I extend sincere congratulate to them for having the odds be in their favor. For the rest of the poor souls, they are S.O.L. I can think of many more meaningful ways to spend that money instead of paying for interviews, like my rent.
So what's the game plan for me then you ask? I will use my time wisely during the actual NASPA conference to network and connect with professionals, attend receptions, and sit in on business meetings. There's zero certainty that this strategy will be fruitful, but at least I still have $100 in my pocket.