I went to the job fair because I wanted to meet Katie Curcio, head of the internship program at CBS. I arrived at 12:20 p.m., expecting that there would be a line leading up to her table. Instead, I saw an empty rectangular table with a small silver stand hoisting a tiny sign that said “CBS.”
But persistence is everything, so I decided to wait, I stood next to the table until I got tired and decided to sit atop it, waiting and hoping and telling myself that this was how to get an internship: by waiting around when no one else does.
During my time on the empty table, I observed those around me. The scene was reminiscent of a primal mating ritual. Applicants lined up at tables to hand out their resumes and have a brief conversation, only to eventually receive the one line that matters. “Hope to see you around the office someday,” or, the slightly less promising, “yeah, email us…”
The navy and police force were there, as were Wal-Mart and a bunch of marketing companies I had never heard of.
The scene was a blaring, flaming confirmation of today’s economic climate. These people were there because this was their chance to secure jobs.
At the table next to me was a company based in Madison, Wisconsin. Each potential applicant was asked about his or her willingness to travel and to move the state. Each potential applicant said they would do it, if not, the conversation would have been interestingly terminated.
Katie arrived just before 2:00 p.m., by which point seven (and I counted: seven) people had come up to me thinking that I was the CBS representative. Because it would make perfect sense for the CBS representative to be sitting on her table, texting. Also, most representatives of big news companies look like they’re 14 years old. Go figure.
Each of the people who came up to me (after I corrected them) asked me if the real representative was coming, when she would be there, if I thought she would actually show up. I gave a few varied wishy-washy answers.
“I’m not sure.”
“I mean, at this point, I really don’t know, she’s probably not coming.”
“I think so, but I don’t know. I’ve been waiting over an hour.”
And, one by one, just as they came, they left. I did not.
When Katie arrived and found out that I’d been there for nearly two hours, she told me that I would have priority over the other applicants because I was the one who waited.
I also got a CBS pen.