Ed note: Thank you, Sr Mom, for donating your time and energy to this interview. It is a pleasure to have Will Slack back on this blog and enlightening to be able to hear his thoughts as he prepares for the next step of life outside the bubble.

As Sr Mom requests, perhaps readers have memories, specific suggestions, or direct contacts to add to the quest that many are beginning. If so, we might be able to offer an on-line extension of the alumni networks’ already-extant helpline.

Several hundred graduating ephs are in the process of looking for jobs. We all know it isn’t easy, especially now. I think starting a dialogue about it, could be beneficial. In my opinion, EB is an un-explored source in that regard. With that in mind, I asked Will Slack if he would be willing to participate. He agreed and we came up with this simple Q & A.

Please jump into the conversation in whatever way strikes your fancy. Tell us how it was for you. Whether it’s support, advice, suggestions, or anecdotes, there are a lot of ephs who could benefit from what you have to say. ¬†And to other current seniors, we would welcome hearing from you as well, either in comments, or in a full post.

My questions are in bold, with Will’s answers in italics.


What career paths are you considering?

Williams has been very good at showing me what I’m good at (listening to people, making decisions responsibly, enabling people to pursue their goals, learning the intricacies of an organization and leveraging that knowledge for good, helping people, keeping secrets) and what I’m bad at (stepping back and getting perspective during moments of focus, saying what I mean without communication foul-ups, stressing out about keeping secrets). Unfortunately, none of this points to a clear career path.

At the present moment I want to end up doing some sort of governmental work. I believe that technology offers a huge opportunity to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of governmental administration, but only if those policies are pursued with intelligence, and I want to be someone who raises different ideas and possibilities that allow our governments to do a better, cheaper job, especially for a citizen with a grievance but little institutional knowledge of the body s/he must appeal to.

If that indicates a clear career path, I would appreciate knowing what that is, because I’m confused at the moment. :P

What are some of the job options you feel would contribute to this path?

Some possibilities include lawyering, or working in state/local gov’t. But those are guesses.

Dream job?

I think being an inspector general would be amazing, as long as I was working in a cooperative agency with a strong initial culture of ethics.

What’s your first priority – where you want to live, or what you intend to do?

What I want to do is much more important, at least initially. However, the internet can be a temptation: we think that Skype and co enable strong and lasting connections, but my practical experience indicates that proximity is still very important. I would hope to end up back in my hometown at some point – I have too many roots in Atlanta and Washington’s allure may not be that strong.

Job Fairs?

A few, they were helpful experience in conversations and such, but I haven’t seen much to pique my own interests.

Has the Alumni Association played any part in your career planning?

Not beyond the career mentor network.

Any particular mentors you’d like to talk about?

At Williams? Not particularly. I’ve appreciated my mentors because unlike my peers, they have offices I can wander into, but I don’t know if they’ve been particularly helpful career-wise.

Are personal connections proving particularly valuable?

Not really.

How valuable has your Williams degree proven thus far, in preparing you and in opening doors?

I can’t judge this without something to compare it to. Not sure.

How do your cohorts seem to be faring in their job searches?

The only people who talk about it are those who have jobs, so my only impression is that I’m the last to get a job. :P

Do you have plans for an advanced degree?

MPP/MPA, mayyyyyybe JD, but I think we have too many lawyers and that a good LSAT score does not a happy law school experience make.

Any musings about the fact that you will soon be leaving Williams?

This spring has been about handing over responsibility: explicitly handing over my slight powers over Goodrich and the Bell Tower, charging underclassmen to continue some of my efforts, and passing on the knowledge I’ve gained. The reality of leaving, though, hasn’t really set in. Williams is obviously something that I will appreciate more in absence – we only notice the mountians when they no longer surround us, and the people who are no longer nearby.

Then again, I’ve had my time in the petri dish and there are ’15s out there who need a college to call home. I’m proud of what I’ve done here, and will gladly take my leave to allow them their own Williams experience.


Indeed, Will should be proud. Read more about him here, on his own blog.

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