Ivy League Slaves of New York

Posted on October 3, 2008 

Ivy League Slaves of New York

The end of June is upon us, and thus the annual migration of bright-eyed graduates of the country’s more prestigious finishing schools to the doorman-converted one-bedrooms of Murray Hill and the Upper East Side, the walk-ups of Boerum Hill, and the lofts of Bushwick—pardon us, East Williamsburg—is also in full swing.

Most of these liberal-arts-minded young people have spent the spring worrying, their former dorm-mates from Princeton or Penn taking it easy while looking forward to their analyst positions at McKinsey or Goldman, Sachs (pity those poor Bear Stearns hirees!), sending out résumés in response to every editorial job posting on MediaBistro and, usually, hearing nothing back. The résumé has been perfectly formatted; the graduate is careful to list both his cumulative and within-major GPA, since, really, what bearing does that C+ in Physics for Poets have on his ability to read slush? (This, of course, is where the grades-optional Brown graduate has yet another advantage!)

Years ago, I too embarked on this rite of passage, taking an apartment in a Lower East Side tenement building where, every morning outside my window, at exactly 6 a.m., a delivery truck unloaded boxes of Domino’s Pizza by throwing them—thwack, thwack!—onto the sidewalk. I had no job, and made my way to an employment agency, which sent me out on interviews to magazines and advertising agencies and publishing companies, and within a week I had what I thought was a plum position as an assistant in the advertising department of a Condé Nast magazine. My Marlo Thomas days would soon be upon me!


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