The Holiday Onslaught Begins: Parallels between OCR & Christmas hype

By Claire Klieger


Walking into Wawa today and hearing “Silver Bells” reminds me that yet again, it’s time to launch into the holiday season, whether I’m “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas” or not. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I like Christmas as much as the next Yule-tider, but can’t we take our time and celebrate one holiday at time?

Courtesy of Laughter is Good for the Soul

This year I even started to see holiday decorations for sale in stores before Halloween. As I was thinking about this, it struck me that there are actually some parallels between the early onset of Christmas mania and the OCR phenomenon on Penn’s campus. So, here they are:

It happens before I’m necessarily ready for it. We all know it—each year those songs come on during your grocery store or CVS runs earlier and earlier and OCR can feel the same way. Whether you’re talking full time positions or summer internships, OCR starts the first week of classes before you’ve even had a chance to catch your breath. And for seniors, especially, how many of you are really ready to start your post-graduation job search the second you step foot back on campus? It can be a little overwhelming.


It’s not for everyone. On-campus recruiting is great and offers lots of really wonderful opportunities for students in a convenient package but just like figgy pudding, fruit cake or the Justin Bieber Christmas album, it may not appeal to everyone. Employers from only a few industries participate in this style of recruiting and so for students not interested in banking, consulting, consumer products, retail or tech, then OCR is not for you, which is just fine.


Via Flickr

It’s everywhere. The sea of suits that appear on campus in September and October are a little like light-up animatronic reindeer lawn ornaments or huge inflatable snow globes lining the neighborhoods of American suburbia—impossible to ignore. This can also make you feel like everyone must be interviewing and getting their job offers in the fall but that’s not the case. For students in the College, only 30% of the class of 2010 received their job offers by the end of December.


Sometimes the best deals happen last minute. I’m not sure how this idea gets planted and spreads but there is a fairly pervasive notion among Penn students that if you don’t have a job by a certain date (often winter break) or if you don’t get a job through OCR, you won’t be left with anything “good,” interesting, or otherwise prestigious. The truth is that there are many really interesting things out there and just like that great holiday gift that you scored on clearance the day before Christmas Eve, often some of the coolest positions get posted closer to or even after graduation.


So sit back, relax, and roast those chestnuts over an open fire at your own pace. Even in this economy, jobs are out there and neat opportunities will be there for you to apply to whenever you happen to get into the spirit of the job hunting season. When you’re ready to deck the halls with your resume, we’ll be here to help you make your list, check it twice, and find employers who are not naughty, but nice.  Oh wait, I mean gobble, gobble!

Author: Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger is an Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates. She earned her Ed.D. from Penn and did her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. Fun Fact: Claire spent 11 years in the Middle East and North Africa.