In the fall of 1985, I had two things on my mind. First, marriage – Lisa and I were due to marry on December 28th that year, just a week or so after school would end. The second thing on my mind was finding a job. I was littering the Lane County area with my resume in search of a job. This search continued well on after we were married. What I didn’t know, as a student, was that the mid-eighties were some of the worst economic times the State of Oregon had ever experienced.
Fortunately, Lisa worked at the Wild Plum Restaurant and kept us afloat during this time. There is no way to explain the feeling of rejection as I would send yet another resume out in search of a job. If you’ve never experienced that feeling, count yourself very fortunate. But I kept the faith and kept burning up my typewriter ribbon as I would pound out another cover letter, send it off and wait. I kept in touch with my wonderful advertising professor, Dr. Willis “Bam!” Winter, and he would send me job leads. And then I was introduced to an alumnus in town who agreed to meet me for an informational interview. He didn’t know of any jobs, but it was good to finally just meet with someone.
He called a few weeks later to tell me about a sales position that would be opening up at The Springfield News. On his advice, I called the Publisher, set up an interview and ended up getting the job. Finally, the search was over and I was working. However, if it weren’t for this alumnus who took the time for my informational interview, listened and let me know about this job, I wouldn’t have applied. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
This month, the University of Oregon will graduate nearly 4,000 students who will start the process of looking for employment as well. And they too are facing a very difficult job market. One of the valuable aspects of our alumni community is the bond we all share that is the University of Oregon. As alumni, it’s important that we help the next generation of students as they enter the workforce. So, even if you don’t know of a position available, take the time this spring and summer to conduct informational interviews with these newly minted Ducks, welcome them to the area, introduce them to others in their industry, interview them for positions and give them a hand.
That’s what a good alumni community does. In fact, that’s just what good human beings should do. Care enough to listen and help these new alumni know that it’s going to be okay. Care enough to give a little time for a fellow Duck. And who knows where that time will lead.