These last couple of weeks I’ve been hunkered down prepping for investment banking interviews. Truthfully not very girly and not very fun to talk about. It’s a bit convoluted how I got to be interested in selling my soul to the most white-elite-male-dominated industry of the corporate world, but the experience is putting me right up against the notorious “glass ceiling” facing women trying to break into male-majority environments and hopefully making me stronger for it.
The other night I was at a dinner hosted by a big firm for the interviewees they decided to extend second round offers to. We had a private room in the swankiest and most expensive French restaurant in New Haven. The waitress was going around getting wine requests from everyone while we schmoozed, and since I’m not a huge fan of wine nor was I interested in getting drunk in front of a potential employer, I ordered a Shirley Temple (ginger ale and grenadine). In the end, out of a room of about 20 people, I was one of two females and the only East Asian. I was definitely also the only English major. And of course, I was the only one with a Shirley Temple.
Career Advice of the Day: I spent the whole night blotting my teeth with a napkin to make sure the grenadine wasn’t staining my teeth pink, so I definitely don’t advise Shirley Temples for this kind of schmooz-a-thon. I will advise, however, to be yourself even when you feel like being yourself is the last thing you should be doing. At the end of the night and at the end of this process, I know that if I sacrifice my girliness and bubbliness in order to get a job, I’m not going to happy doing it. If anything, I have to use that stuff to make myself appear different. If you can’t smash the glass ceiling with your fists and have a beer afterwards, you can certainly pop out a pane with your stiletto heel and sit on top with all the Shirley Temples you want.
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