So for me, Reed and the life it entailed ended with the beginning of my job search, when I typed "B.A., Reed College, 1996" on an otherwise empty piece of paper that was to be my ticket to employment--my resume. My graduate school applications had been easy enough. With 20 years of experience behind me, it was just a matter of picking and choosing what material to include. But what I should or could put on a resume was a mystery, and so when I heard about a job search workshop at Reed, I jumped at the chance to attend.
To my surprise, my fellow graduates did not turn out in droves for the workshop. Maybe word had gotten out that the man chosen to teach us, Don Asher '83, was a Reedie himself. The news was enough to send me reeling. What could a Reedie know about corporate culture? I certainly didn't want a Reedie advising me on how to dress for an interview. And I had hoped that the lecturer would be someone with good time management skills, as we only had three days to learn what I assumed a student at any other college would have learned over the course of four years.
As it turned out, I was lucky that Don was a Reedie. Who better than a Reedie to help me translate all the skills I'd learned at Reed into something that might feasibly fit under "work experience?" And because Don was familiar with Reed culture, he knew that clothing would be a significant issue, and so made us come to the workshop one day dressed for an interview. I am not ashamed to say that I failed his inspection, if only because everyone else also failed. A handsome young man in a suit and tie almost passed, until it was discovered at the last minute that he was wearing bright purple socks and had a bandanna stuffed into his front pocket.
Several months after the workshop, I was still searching for the perfect job. My parents' friends decided that Easter brunch was a perfect opportunity to grill me about what I was doing with my Russian literature degree. Remarks were made about the likelihood of me ever recovering the hundred grand paid in tuition bills and about the variety of positions requiring my background. Luckily, a UC Berkeley professor at the brunch defended me, explaining why I hadn't yet accepted any job offers. "Look. Reed prepares one for nothing, except to be the world's critic. She didn't want those jobs anyway."