Annie Berke ’03
“Maintain your sense of humor in the face of professional setbacks.”
“In my senior year at KPS, I played college student Holly Kaplan in Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others (under the brilliant direction of Robert Pridham). In one scene, Holly’s friend Rita – played to great acclaim by Emma Dupin ’03 – has just torpedoed a job interview and explains: ‘Actually I do have a new fantasy that helps me deal with the future. I pretend I am Picara in a picaresque novel and this is only one episode in a satiric life.’ For the curious non–English major, a picaresque novel follows a scrappy protagonist through a series of mischiefs and misadventures — Don Quixote and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are two famous examples.
“In the age of Leaning In and Personal Brands, I encourage Kent Place women to, as is appropriate, Lighten Up™. I received my master’s degree just in time for the recession to kick me around. I took more informational interviews than I can count. I sat down with interviewers who over-confided, whose assistants looked haggard and fragile, in spaces that purported to be offices but were probably studio apartments. I left interviews thoroughly confused as to whether I was being asked to pay them or they me.
“But in the face of these demoralizing episodes, I advise only this: Arm yourself with a proofread résumé and some perspective. You may be the author of your own career narrative, but you’re coauthoring it along with global financial trends and whether your interviewer struggles with low blood sugar — all the more reason not to take it all personally. When the right opportunity comes along, you’ll have the perspective to see it, seize it, and move on to the next episode of this satiric life. Picara out!”