I am worse than Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has received some negative scorn recently after his remark, "I like being able to fire people," referring to his time working at Bain consulting.
The criticism has made me think back to my senior year of college, when one day I found myself panicking that all of my classmates knew what they were doing after college and I didn’t. Not only that, it seemed, but they all had prestigious and high paying jobs lined up. Not exaggerating, everyone was going to go work as either a consultant (you know, at a place like Bain) or as an investment banker (you know, at a place like the places responsible for the near tanking of the world economy in 2009). I was sure of this fact. Everyone but me.
I had failed. Everyone but me had made good choices. I had made bad choices and was now facing the consequences. I had majored in anthropology (bad choice) and now that I’d been rejected from all five of the anthropology PhD programs I’d applied to, I was going to graduate college and then be eaten alive by a cold and cruel Real World.
Even though I’d studied anthropology (reiterate: bad choice) and not economics or applied math, suddenly, for some reason, in my insane desparatation I thought that perhaps it wasn’t too late for me to make a good choice like my classmates and get one of those fancy money jobs that they all seemed to have. I ran down to career services and signed up for an interview to work for Bain consulting. Yes, the Bain that Romney worked at. I think it was the only fancy money job interview that I could still sign up for.
At Harvard, companies like Bain do cattle-call mass interviews every year as part of their effort to recruit seniors from, well, colleges like Harvard. I put on a suit, bought a black leather portfolio folder that’s sole purpose in life is fancy money job interviews like this, and went to my scheduled interview time.
At these interviews, the Office of Career Services told me, they like to see how you think. To see how I think, the interviewer asked me to estimate how much money is spent on energy bars in the US in a given week. You’re supposed to take the interviewer through your thought process. “Let’s say there are 300 million people in the US” you might say. “In a given week, let’s say that 20% of them are athletic” you might add uncertainly. “And, um, let’s say that 10% of people just like the taste of energy bars, which cost, uh, $3 on average,” you might flounder. The good people at the OCS had told me that it doesn’t matter if you are correct so much as that you have coherent reasons for all of your decisions and can present a logical thought process. You’re even allowed to use a calculator and pen and paper! Easy. I used all of those things, and came up with the answer twenty trillion dollars, significantly more than is spent on food in the US in an entire year, let alone one week on energy bars. So, my answer was a little high. “That’s a little high, huh?” I said to the interviewer. She nodded.
I wasn’t called back for a second interview. So the reason that I didn’t take a job at Bain was not that I was a principled do-gooder who wanted to follow my heart and work for an organization with a conscious. But because Bain didn’t want me. So that’s why I’m worse than Mitt Romney. I have the moral ineptitude / greed of a Mitt Romney Type (someone who would work at a company whose only concern is making more money for the sake of making more money and who arguably adds nothing to society but helps huge corporations have a better bottom line) but lack the reasoning skills to get hired at a place like that.
I’m a dumber version of Mitt Romney. As morally reprehensible, but not as smart.
I’m not as smart as someone who thought it would be a good idea to say, “I like being able to fire people.” He thought saying that would win people over, and help to soften the impression that he was a callous, elitist, destroyer of jobs. I am dumber than that.
So that’s where I’m at right now.
The hysteria of worrying about not having a clear career path (what a silly concern, I have since realized!) soon passed. In all likelihood, even if I was offered the job, I wouldn’t have taken it. And even if I did take it, I wouldn’t have lasted too long. Still though. I did apply. I applied to be Mitt Romney. And I was rejected.