Playing Rookie

Graduating college seniors across the nation share their criteria, ambitions, and priorities for a first job.

The tassels have been turned, the champagne drunk and the diplomas stashed for safe keeping. Yet the most challenging test for millions of recent college graduates still looms on the other side of June: first jobs. For some, the real world is rapidly encroaching. For others, it remains elusive and menacing.


Fast Company has interviewed a cross-section of America’s 1999 college graduates in order to glean some insight into their criteria, ambitions, and priorities for a first job. Their answers are both wise and naïve, confident and unsure, typical and shocking.

  • Dylan Greene, University of Maryland
    Project Manager for in Fairfax, Virginia
    “The people who I’ll work with are all entrepreneurs. They’re risk takers and they’re in a very new market, so they’re doing things that haven’t been done before. Those features are exactly what I was looking for.”
  • Janie Fossner, Northwestern University
    Teach for America in Oakland, California
    “With Teach for America, I hope to feel that I’ve made a difference in at least one person’s life. If one student looks back 20 years from now and remembers me as a great teacher, I’ll feel successful.”
  • Andrew Henderson, UC Berkeley
    Associate for Brown-Simpson Asset Management in Palo Alto, California.
    “Coming out of college, you have some skill sets, but you don’t really understand or know much about the outside world…or the structures of any industry.”
  • Kate Millett, Wake Forest University
    Operations manager for Wachovia Bank in Atlanta
    “I can learn anything if you want to teach me.”
  • Kate Lee and Jason Kane, University of Pennsylvania
    Running down a dream

“If I am happy, then the question of salary is academic. My college education will have more than paid off.” – Kate Lee

“In a society where technological advancement is stressed immeasurably over spiritual advancement, I think it is time for all young people to stop for one moment and really think about what they want.” – Jason Kane