Trick or Treat

by J. Michael DeAngelis

When I was little, I had what I think was the greatest record collection a four year old could have. One of the crown jewels of my collection was a Walt Disney’s Trick or Treat, which retold one of the great Donald Duck cartoons of all time:

Oh, Donald, you irascible mallard!

“But Michael,” I can hear you say, “what does this have to do with Career Services?” Well, there’s a lot that we can learn from Donald, especially when it comes to attitude. Donald thinks pretty highly of himself. His refusal to give Huey, Dewey and Louie any candy stems not just from selfishness, but from a feeling of superiority. The unabashed glee that Donald has in outsmarting his nephews and Witch Hazel is comically evident throughout, but what’s funny in a cartoon is often destructive in real life.

Now, obviously, I don’t think that any of you are planning to stick firecrackers in your recruiter’s suitcase. Still, I have seen many people on the job hunt sabotage themselves because, consciously or un, they exude a Donald Duck like attitude. I see this not only here at Penn, but also in my second career in the theater arts.

There is a very fine but distinct line between having confidence and being smug. For example, I was recently looking to hire a small staff to work with me on a show for the Philly Fringe Festival. A young woman came to interview for a position and on paper, she seemed perfect. Her resume was good and she seemed enthusiastic about the project. Within in minutes, however, my feelings had changed. She spent the entire interview talking about how she and her friends had been “robbed” at a local awards ceremony. She began by saying that she was smarter than anyone on the awards committee and that her level of experience should have made her their top consultant. I was immediately turned off. Talk about overselling yourself. Worse, she continued by openly bad mouthing those who had won awards – including people I considered friends. If she hadn’t discounted herself yet, this sunk her. A real Donald Duck.

Be proud of what you’ve done. Feel free to speak of your talents and achievements. Wow potential employers with everything you bring to the table…but be mindful of ego and hubris. In the interview room, don’t be a Donald Duck or, as the song says, “your nightmares will come true.”

Policy & Government Career Fair is TODAY!

Attention Penn Students!

Current Penn students and alumni are welcome to come to Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall between 11am and 3pm today to speak with recruiters from a wide variety of government agencies and policy organizations! There are MANY oppertunities available in a wide range of fields – all majors and class years welcome!

Dress sharp and bring plenty of resumes!

Employers attending today’s fair are listed below by industry:


  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Social Security Administration
  • U.S. Treasury Department – Office of Inspector General


  • Environment America
  • Green Corps
  • Student Conservation Association


  • Defense Contract Management Agency – Philadelphia
  • Defense Logistics Agency Troops Support
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Health & Human Services

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Excalibur Medical Imaging, PA
  • U.S. Army Medical Department

Intelligence/Law Enforcement

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • U.S. Army Intelligence Information  Warfare Directorate
  • U.S. Secret Service

International Diplomacy

  • Peace Corps
  • USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
  • U.S. Department of State

Legal /Human Rights

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of PA
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • National Labor Relations Board


  • Naval Inventory Control Point
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division

Policy, Politics & Consulting

  • Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
  • Maximus
  • Penn in Washington Program
  • U.S. Public Interest Research  Group


  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Department of Labor

Be prepared by checking out our Career Fair tips video!

This career fair is open to eligible, current Penn students and alumni only, as well as current students of Haverford College, Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawyr College by special arrangement with their respective Career Services office.

DO Quit Your Day Job!

A few months ago, I posed a blog called “Don’t Quit Your Day Job…”, in which I spoke about the importance of finding a steady “day job” that allowed you to still pursue the carer of your dreams.

While browsing around my favorite sites this morning, I came across this great video about a man, Paulie Gee, who walked away from thirty years working in I.T. to open his dream business – a pizzeria.

Second Acts by Yahoo! via Slice

What I like about this video is that is shows that it is never too late to go after a dream. Mr. Giannone obviously worked very hard for a long time before deciding to strike it out on his own. I’m inspired by the risk he took in opening his own business and by the obvious joy he has in the decision he made.

Engineering Career Day is TODAY!

Attention all engineers!

Today is our annual Engineering Career Day!  Come by the University City Sheraton Hotel between 10am and 3pm today to meet recruiters from a wide variety of engineering related fields!

Dress sharp and bring plenty of resumes!

For the most up to date information, visit our Engineering Career Day Information Page.

This fair is open to eligible current Penn students and alumni only.