Yesterday I got the quarterly statements for my 403(b) (non-profit equivalent to a 401(k)) from the organization where I worked for seven years and to which I faithfully contributed every paycheck for the employer match. The balances had decreased by an even 10%.
A good percentage, probably close to half, of my grad school cohort went into the private sector. (The other half went into government service or non-profits.) Quite a few did the joint MBA program with the Wharton School at Penn. The long litany of companies that have made the news recently matches the list of employers who came regularly to recruit every spring. My career counselor told me that if I wanted to work for a company AIG was a good choice. One classmate accepted a position with Enron.
I don't know if I would have survived in the corporate world. For the most part I enjoy the jobs I've had, and the bad parts were compensated by other factors, like travel or the friends I made. I do still wonder if it's still possible to combine "do good" with "make good." I hope that MoBob - with his MBA in international non-profit management - will be able to, so that I can finally become a Lady who Lunches.
I like thinking about a life as a Lady who Lunches once in a blue moon, but honestly I'd be bored and wasting my potential.
I can't figure out the answer to your 'do good' vs. 'make good' question, because I haven't settled on what is doing good, without making worse, participating in the systems that inflict structural violence, and really, truly doing no harm. Except, possibly, to become a non-proselytizing woman of some sort of cloth, in which case making good is kind of out of the question.
I graduated from SAIS in tougher economic times, so I think only about 15-20% of my cohort went into the private sector. I haven't thought much about them. I'm not really sure who exactly ended up in the financial sector- almost everyone I knew who went into the "private" sector went into smallish consulting firms, mostly on government contracts. Enron crashed while I was in school.
I haven't checked my TSP in forever... and I'm not going to.
I agree with you though- I don't think I'm cut out for the profiteering world.
Are you going to work for USAID? Man, do I miss stuff on LJ! Foreign service? Mid-career or new entry (whatever they call it now)? I know someone who just started training for whatever is now the NEP, she had loads of experience and took a huge pay cut but it was what she really wanted to do.. if I weren't pregnant & moving to Seattle I'd consider applying. I could see myself at USAID.