Standing Up To Authorities

2 02 2009

When growing up, kids are told to respect their elders. When in school, students are told to respect their teachers. When at work, employees are told to respect their boss. How long does this continue? What happens if you do not believe in what your authority is doing? My life rule is to speak your mind – in a respectful manor. 

I recently graduated from the University of Denver, a private university. With that being said, you would think that the career center would be a great facility for students and alumni as it should have great connections with the community and alumni. However, this is far from the truth – the University of Denver Career Center absolutely SUCKS.

For years I heard how disappointed students were in the services provided by the career center, but it did not personally affect me until my third year in school. It was then that I decided it would be wise to get an internship, so I ventured over to the career center where my journey of disgust began. They were awful, unable to help with anything.

For the next two years I continued to work with the career center hoping that one day they will be able to help me. This never happened. It has now been six months since I graduated and I am still pondering how it is possible for a university to provide such poor services. As a result, I wrote a letter to the director of the career center explaining my disgust in their services. I spoke up to those who I should have been respected, in hope to change the future for University of Denver graduates and alumni.

I have a meeting in two weeks with the directors of the career center. It is then that I will provide suggestions of ways to alter their program in order to make it more successful. I have collected short quotes from over 30 alumni who also feel the services are substandard. I have also included a previous article I wrote “5 Things I Wish I Knew In College That Would Help Me Network Today” in hope that the career center will make this available for students, or at least share the information provided. 

Bellow I have included the letter I sent to the director. Please read it and decide if you believe I disrespected my authories or if I spoke up respectfully in order to make a positive change. What would you have done in this situation. Or more importantly, what would you do in a situation that is close to home for yourself? Use your voice, express how you feel. One day you might sit down with the person you feel is doing something wrong, and be able to change the future for others. 



My name is Jessica Goodman and I recently graduated in August 2008 from Daniels. As a student I was very disappointed in the career center as I never found it to be helpful. The career fairs were substandard, especially for a private university. I have always felt that the HRTM and Accounting schools were the only schools within Daniels that have an adequate program to help their graduating students find jobs. 

I am not writing this letter to complain; in fact, I am writing this letter to help. I feel very passionate about helping upcoming graduates find a job in this tough economy as I know it is possible. Since August, I have experienced two different jobs, and I have been offered many more. Though I did not stay with either of these jobs as I realized very quickly that they were in an industry I was not interested in, I still know that it is very possible to get a job today. 

The University of Denver is a well respected university with unbelievable education. It seems as though for a school with such great academics, it lacks in helping to put their students in the great companies and positions they have worked hard towards. As a University of Denver Alumni, I found myself going to CU Boulder’s career fair as the opportunities presented were endless. I would love to help DU raise their standards of what the Career Center can offer to their students. I know it is possible to improve the Career Center and the future of the University of Denver students. 

To show my commitment I have written an article on “5 Things I Wish I Knew In College That Would Help Me Network Today” which I have attached to this e-mail. I have recieved great responses in reference to this article which can be seen on my website and on I would love to sit down and discuss some of my ideas of how the University of Denver Career Center can be improved. However, if this is not felt to be necessary the least I ask (for the sake of DU students) is you offer a copy of my article to students, or at a minimum the advice included.

I hope to be an assistance in the future as I feel the need to help my fellow peers.

Jessica Goodman



9 responses

5 02 2009
How to beat the system to get a great job | Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

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5 02 2009
Danielle "NolaDivine" Rouson

GREAT post Jessica! Kudos to you for standing up and speaking out. I had a similar experience in college. The career center at my institution was great – except when it came to helping those in my major. They were not knowledgeable at all…

I’m dying to know what happened after you met with the Director!

5 02 2009

My meeting is next thursday, but I will be sure to keep you updated! I am pretty sure I have just completed my presentation which includes binders of 80 pages of both research and suggestions!

6 02 2009
Grace Kutney

This is a wonderful post – and very proactive on your part to contact your career center directly. I work in career service and it’s important to know what our students need. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t receive the type of service that you needed as a student.

Also, a letter like this may help in other ways. Many career centers, (not sure about yours – there may have been other issues at play there), are very small fish in a large pond when it comes to university dynamics. We’re expected (and want) to assist students in finding careers but aren’t always given the staffing or funding to fulfill this mission, as I discuss in Enhancing College Career Development Offices. Many of my colleagues at small private institutions (I’m at a small school, too), run one-person career offices and are treated like second-class citizens because they do not hold faculty status (speaking of standing up to authority). While there is clearly a bigger dynamic involved here, a letter like yours may help to shine some light on these bigger problems. It’s voices like yours that really do make a difference!

6 02 2009
Living Off Dividends & Passive Income

It’s very well written.

Kudos on taking the initiative.

6 02 2009
Chris Gammell

Hi Jessica,

I enjoyed your article, but would be very interested in hearing what your expectations were for a career center. I know I had sky-high expectations for my career center in college (which they obviously could not live up to) but later realized they are there for certain aspects of a job hunt and often struggle with other parts. A good example might be how you attended the CU Boulder fair and there were many more opportunities; it is unfortunate but some companies get entrenched in only going to so many career fairs. Perhaps a different project you could propose to your alma mater’s career center would be to go out and recruit new companies to come to the career fair. I think that would be very valuable for the students and for the career center staff (both in time and in credibility once the next fair takes place).

My personal expectations for a career center are that they should assist in my resume development (low importance), setting up some on campus interviews if available (medium importance) and get me in touch with alumni who are still interested in connecting with younger students (very high importance). I believe that too many people enter a career office expecting to be handed a job and that just isn’t possible (I doubt that was your situation).


6 02 2009

Very interesting post, Jessica! I too work in career services at a small private school, and echo the comments from Grace regarding the small fish in a big pond. Our school actually partners with the other much larger area colleges to allow our students to go to their career fairs because we have so little funding and staff to “pull off” our own successful fair on campus.

Career services can vary so much from college to college, and I agree that not every career service professional is helpful or knowledgeable as much as they ought to be. One thing I find very helpful is if a career office can designate one of their staff to be the “tech and new resources” pro, so that at least one person is in charge of keeping the career center up to date on resources and technology so that we don’t become stagnant and can continue to help students in a progressive way (I’m that person in my office). We sometimes too easily rest on our laurels and fail to keep fresh and current. I’m not sure what your suggestions are for your meeting, but that might be one to include.

I hope blogs like yours continue to open the eyes of career services offices and other staff (and faculty!) at colleges who are in positions to help career centers shine.

7 02 2009

People expect things from career centers??

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