Jessica, late 20s
I had just finished grad school and was looking for a job in a market that was already saturated. I’d spent months going on “informational interviews” with people I found in varying levels of willingness to help: many of them fluffed themselves up like a peacock in heat, dangling their contacts and opportunities in front of me but just out of reach; others made promises of people in high places they could connect me to—“oh, you should meet so and so,”—followed by a deafening silence or a noncommittal, “I’m just so busy,” response to my follow-up e-mail; and most just took the coffee or drink I’d offered and were never heard from again.
So I was surprised and hopeful when I woke up one morning to a message on LinkedIn from someone with a business account. “Job,” the subject of the message said. He introduced himself as George, told me that he was retired but still active in my field, and explained that he’d coincidentally come across my profile—I had indicated on LinkedIn that I was a recent grad looking for work—and that he wanted to help me find it.
“Let’s meet and chat,” he said, and we set a date even though I inwardly questioned his motives and readiness given how hard of a time I’d already had tracking down helpful resources. He was in his seventies, I presume, and we met at midday, at a restaurant he suggested. A big part of me hoped that he was a jolly grandfather-type who was just looking to pay it forward. He had a bit of an oily voice but he seemed nice enough, and offered to connect me to a few people—three, to be exact—who could be of help in finding a job. He told me, in conversation, that he is married and that he has a son that’s about my age—“you’re…what…25, 26?” he asked, appraising me.
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