Informal job survey

by [anonymous]1 min read12th Sep 201112 comments

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I've recently been thinking about future job prospects and ways that I might alter my preferences to increase the likelihood that I'll be happy with my future career. I have read some of the LessWrong resources about this issue, but they don't seem to address my particular concerns. I think there is a high relative importance for selecting a career with a high capacity for making me happy. It will consume at least 8 prime daylight hours of my work days and in many cases also some of the weekend. In all likelihood I will also be forced to sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time. The tasks I am assigned may have nothing to do with the things that I happen to find intellectually interesting or of ethical importance. And the work will likely zap me of most of the energy that I could use to pursue hobbies or other more "intrinsically worthwhile endeavors" (intrinsic to my personal preference ordering). Given that I believe these factors will largely determine whether I feel happy in many future situations and also whether I feel generically happy about the content of my life as a whole, I think it is worthwhile to seek advice from other rationalists in how to choose an appropriate career goal and take steps to pursue it.

What I have found on LessWrong, however, is that ambiguous and open-ended pleas for advice generally steer off course, even if the tangential issues are very interesting and insightful. Rather than query everyone for open advice about preference hacking, vague goal achievement, and wisdom for properly assigning value to some of the factors I have listed above, I propose a simpler informal job survey.

If you are interested, please briefly list the job you have or the job of someone you know very well (well enough that you feel you know relevant details about the job, details that may be hard to gather in less than 1 hour of internet searching). You don't have to reveal the location or name of the employer or anything like that, just the type of job. Optionally, please also include a sentence stating whether you (or your friend, etc.) seem to enjoy the job and why. For example, my entry would be like this:

I am a graduate student studying applied mathematics. I enjoy the access to educational resources and the flexible schedule that my current job offers, but I think my personal displeasure with computer programming and my perception that future jobs doing mathematical theory are scarce cause me to dislike the job overall.

If enough people are willing to participate, my hope is that the stream of small anecdotal remarks will serve as a brainstorming session. I hope to hear about jobs I may never have thought of, and also reasons for liking or disliking a job that I may never have thought of. The goal is to spark additional search on my own and also to gauge my current preferences in light of preferences that others have experienced with specific jobs. Such a survey would be a very helpful resource allowing me to synthesize data about job directions where the initial search will have a higher probability of being helpful for me.  

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