WUR Career Day: not for me

‘Social studies remain under-illuminated in the shadows during Career Day.’
Maurice Schoo

I’m currently in the last year of my master’s. The dark clouds of working civilian life are on the horizon. To get a head start on that twilight existence, I must prepare and ‘orient’, as it is called. What internship do I want? And what type of job? Or perhaps a PhD? Fortunately, we have the WUR Career Day, a guiding light to help me navigate the post-graduation options. Social studies, however, remain under-illuminated in the shadows.

There is just one business for the International Development sector: ‘Larive International’. A quick look at the website tells me it is a consultancy agency that helps businesses expand in emerging markets. It is not the first thing that springs to mind when I think of the “development sector”. Especially not if you are writing your thesis with a group that is highly critical of these forms of neoliberal expansion capitalism. I don’t mean to be too critical; at least Career Day has something for the Lebos. However, a short round of questioning my fellow students shows that they are not all too interested in this company.

The assumption that ‘there is no money to be made in government employment and therefore it is not worthwhile’ is fortified.

The Career Day focuses on food tech, plant breeding and consultancy. It is almost entirely the ‘for profit’ sector that is represented. I understand that most students will opt to work at a commercial business rather than a charity organisation, so a wide range of options for future plant breeders and food technologists is great. However, the assumption that ‘there is no money to be made in government employment and therefore it is not worthwhile’ is fortified.

Unjustly so, because there are certainly opportunities for a career outside of the realm of profit. My programme has plenty of examples of alums employed by international organisations, governments, charities and businesses. Over the past year, my programme organised several career events during which I searched for internships. So there are options available. And I liked it more because it was focused on my domain. I can almost hear you think: well, then go visit your own Lebo Career Day! But no. We are one WUR, and something as overarching as a Career Day should include options for all students. Hopefully, social sciences will be spotlighted during the next career event.

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