Feedback on promoting rational thinking about one's career choice to a broad audience

by Gleb_Tsipursky8 min read31st Mar 201545 comments


Personal Blog

I'd appreciate feedback on optimizing a blog post that promotes rational thinking about one's career choice to a broad audience in a way that's engaging, accessible, and fun to read. I'm aiming to use story-telling as the driver of the narrative, and sprinkling in elements of rational thinking, such as agency and mere-exposure effect, in a strategic way. The target audience is college-age youth and young adults, as you'll see from the narrative. Any suggestions for what works well, and what can be improved would be welcomed! The blog draft itself is below the line.

P.S. For context, the blog is part of a broader project, Intentional Insights, aimed at promoting rationality to a broad audience, as I described in this LW discussion post. To do so, we couch rationality in the language of self-improvement and present it in a narrative style.




"Stop and Think Before It's Too Late!"




Back when I was in high school and through the first couple of years in college, I had a clear career goal.

I planned to become a medical doctor.

Why? Looking back at it, my career goal was a result of the encouragement and expectations from my family and friends.

My family immigrated from the Soviet Union when I was 10, and we spent the next few years living in poverty. I remember my parents’ early jobs in America, my dad driving a bread delivery truck and my mom cleaning other people’s houses. We couldn’t afford nice things. I felt so ashamed in front of other kids for not being able to get that latest cool backpack or wear cool clothes – always on the margins, never fitting in. My parents encouraged me to become a medical doctor. They gave up successful professional careers when they moved to the US, and they worked long and hard to regain financial stability. It’s no wonder that they wanted me to have a career that guaranteed a high income, stability, and prestige.

My friends also encouraged me to go into medicine. This was especially so with my best friend in high school, who also wanted to become a medical doctor. He wanted to have a prestigious job and make lots of money, which sounded like a good goal to have and reinforced my parents’ advice. In addition, friendly competition was a big part of what my best friend and I did. Whether debating complex intellectual questions, trying to best each other on the high school chess team, or playing poker into the wee hours of the morning. Putting in long hours to ace the biochemistry exam and get a high score on the standardized test to get into medical school was just another way for us to show each other who was top dog. I still remember the thrill of finding out that I got the higher score on the standardized test. I had won!

As you can see, it was very easy for me to go along with what my friends and family encouraged me to do.  

I was in my last year of college, working through the complicated and expensive process of applying to medical schools, when I came across an essay question that stopped in me in my tracks:

“Why do you want to be a medical doctor?”

The question stopped me in my tracks. Why did I want to be a medical doctor? Well, it’s what everyone around me wanted me to do. It was what my family wanted me to do. It was what my friends encouraged me to do. It would mean getting a lot of money. It would be a very safe career. It would be prestigious. So it was the right thing for me to do. Wasn’t it?

Well, maybe it wasn’t.

I realized that I never really stopped and thought about what I wanted to do with my life. My career is how I would spend much of my time every week for many, many years,  but I never considered what kind of work I would actually want to do, not to mention whether I would want to do the work that’s involved in being a medical doctor. As a medical doctor, I would work long and sleepless hours, spend my time around the sick and dying, and hold people’s lives in my hands. Is that what I wanted to do?

There I was, sitting at the keyboard, staring at the blank Word document with that essay question at the top. Why did I want to be a medical doctor? I didn’t have a good answer to that question.

My mind was racing, my thoughts were jumbled. What should I do? I decided to talk to someone I could trust, so I called my girlfriend to help me deal with my mini-life crisis.  She was very supportive, as I thought she would be. She told me I shouldn’t do what others thought I should do, but think about what would make me happy. More important than making money, she said, is having a lifestyle you enjoy, and that lifestyle can be had for much less than I might think.

Her words provided a valuable outside perspective for me. By the end of our conversation, I realized that I had no interest in doing the job of a medical doctor. And that if I continued down the path I was on, I would be miserable in my career, doing it just for the money and prestige. I realized that I was on the medical school track because others I trust - my parents and my friends - told me it was a good idea so many times that I believed it was true, regardless of whether it was actually a good thing for me to do.

Why did this happen?

I later learned that I found myself in this situation because of a common thinking error which scientists call the mere-exposure effect. It means that we tend our tendency to believe something is true and good just because we are familiar with it, regardless of whether it is actually true and good.

Since I learned about the mere-exposure effect, I am much more suspicious of any beliefs I have that are frequently repeated by others around me, and go the extra mile to evaluate whether they are true and good for me. This means I can gain agency and intentionally take actions that help me toward my long-term goals.

So what happened next?

After my big realization about medical school and the conversation with my girlfriend, I took some time to think about my actual long-term goals. What did I - not someone else - want to do with my life? What kind of a career did I want to have? Where did I want to go?

I was always passionate about history. In grade school I got in trouble for reading history books under my desk when the teacher talked about math. As a teenager, I stayed up until 3am reading books about World War II. Even when I was on the medical school track in college I double-majored in history and biology, with history my love and joy. However, I never seriously considered going into history professionally. It’s not a field where one can make much money or have great job security.

After considering my options and preferences, I decided that money and security mattered less than a profession that would be genuinely satisfying and meaningful. What’s the point of making a million bucks if I’m miserable doing it, I thought to myself. I chose a long-term goal that I thought would make me happy, as opposed to simply being in line with the expectations of my parents and friends. So I decided to become a history professor.

My decision led to some big challenges with those close to me. My parents were very upset to learn that I no longer wanted to go to medical school. They really tore into me, telling me I would never be well off or have job security. Also, it wasn’t easy to tell my friends that I decided to become a history professor instead of a medical doctor. My best friend even jokingly asked if I was willing to trade grades on the standardized medical school exam, since I wasn’t going to use my score. Not to mention how painful it was to accept that I wasted so much time and effort to prepare for medical school only to realize that it was not the right choice for me. I really I wish this was something I realized earlier, not in my last year of college.

3 steps to prevent this from happening to you:

If you want to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this, here are 3 steps you can take:

1.      Stop and think about your life purpose and your long-term goals. Write these down on a piece of paper.

2.      Now review your thoughts, and see whether you may be excessively influenced by messages you get from your family, friends, or the media. If so, pay special attention and make sure that these goals are also aligned with what you want for yourself. Answer the following question: if you did not have any of those influences, what would you put down for your own life purpose and long-term goals? Recognize that your life is yours, not theirs, and you should live whatever life you choose for yourself.

3.      Review your answers and revise them as needed every 3 months. Avoid being attached to your previous goals. Remember, you change throughout your life, and your goals and preferences change with you. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past, and welcome the current you with arms wide open.


What do you think?

·        Do you ever experience pressure to make choices that are not necessarily right for you?

·        Have you ever made a big decision, but later realized that it wasn’t in line with your long-term goals?

·        Have you ever set aside time to think about your long-term goals? If so, what was your experience? 



45 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 6:19 PM
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I've heard (though it is probably not very accurate -- more a conversationally useful pop science myth than an empirically universal fact) that the advice parents give to their children varies by socioeconomic status. Poor and working class parents typically give advice like "think about what would make you happy". Middle class parents tend to suggest staying upstream of abstractly desirable financial options (like in HS and college take strong math, take pre-med so you can be a doctor, and so on). Upper class parents advise doing stuff consistent with finding and making friends with the highest quality people you can find.

In this framework it seems like your parents were giving middle class advice, and your girlfriend gave you working class advice. If I were your parents, I think I would have been somewhat upset. As a general heuristic, be wary of horizontally transmitted advice!

Personally, my object level advice is to young people for whom the middle class or working class life script was a background assumption and have their mind blown by hearing about the other script, is to just suggest that they compare many options along all three of these criteria (happiness, strategy, quality people), and try to find something that works reasonably well with all of them. Then run your plans by your parents to get their honest and caring and historically informed advice.

Another thing that jumped out at me was that it seems like you were thinking of the question as getting a job that defines your identity for the rest of your life, rather than thinking in terms of what to spend the next few years on that would give the highest enduring net value, with trust that you can re-evaluate and adjust in the future, building on the results so far. It seemed like you took for granted that a final decision would determine the whole future rather than being a decision that would precede potentially more important decisions farther down the line.

There's a meme going around (whose concrete truth is debateable) that "nowadays people will change careers N times in their life". If N=1 (from child to "something") then making a huge decision in one's young adulthood might make sense, but if N=5 then the first one might matter a bit, but you should probably optimize it at least partly so that it gives you information about how to make the next four changes. And if the singularity is really a thing, N could turn out to be larger than most people expect?

The article on the debate about the value of N, written in 2010, says that 2008 might invalidate attempts to collect statistics... but that way of thinking is itself the thing being questioned by people who think N might be high. Crazy economic gyrations from disruptive technology and obsolete institutions is the sort of thing that could cause both a higher value for N, and also macro-level economic instability. Thus if 2008 changed many people's careers, it incremented n for each such person. If something like 2008 happens again, that would increment n again for all the people it affects.

As meta-level life planning advice, I've found generating large lists of theoretically desirable traits that a next step could have, then trimming out (or just down-weighting) the ones that are non-central and statistically redundant, and then churning through lots of options trying to find one that is statistically rare in the awesome direction gives moderately good outcomes.

For reference, neither of my parents went to college, I grew up in a small rural town, I spent four years at a junior college, then four years at a UC, changed majors 3-8 times (depending on how you count), graduated with a BA in philosophy, then bounced between biological research labs and startups, and work at Google now.

The world is big, and "the adjacent possible" seems to be expanding pretty fast lately.

[-][anonymous]6y 4

Poor and working class parents typically give advice like "think about what would make you happy". Middle class parents tend to suggest staying upstream of abstractly desirable financial options (like in HS and college take strong math, take pre-med so you can be a doctor, and so on).

I am really surprised by this. Perhaps it differs per country/region. In my experience the poor are more like "get a trade, any trade, only a thin line separates you from the alcoholic homeless bum down the street or in prison and that thin line is an e.g. construction trade school". And my middle-class experience is "do what makes you happy, even if you want to be a violinist, I have enough money to help you until you get your feet"

But it can be that it is the definition of poor and middle changes per region or culture. I am used to defining poor as trade school blue collars, literally working class. Perhaps you define as some kind of a welfare underclass who don't even work or work the growing tide of McJobs learned on the job not in school... I define middle as white-collar, middle manager, or blue-collar turned entrepreneur like a guy owning his plumbing business employing 5 plumbers.

that defines your identity for the rest of your life, rather than thinking in terms of what to spend the next few years

Are these the two major options? I tend to see neither. Whatever you do slaving away for The Man just to be allowed to make a living cannot really define you - okay, I have exaggerated this and made it overly emotional, in order to try to convey a message accross, so feel free to subtract 75% from the emotional connotations of it, but I do think I and many people start from a position of ressentiment and suppressed anger for having to work for bosses in order to make a living instead of living some kind of an idealized existence when you just hunted or grew your food freely and independently, at the very least it is not romantic enough. And changing careers every few years can be very hard, because as you get older, people expect you want more money and is less flexible about overtime and travel (generally true), and if you are not already experienced in whatever work they want you to do why would they not hire someone young, cheap, more flexible, perhaps faster learner, and same way inexperienced? To me experience looks a lot like destiny. Once you did something, people don't really hire you for something else. Or maybe it depends. Again location etc. but maybe a big corporation that has some kind of a strategic approach to HR would, but my experience in the small business sector is that they hire only when it is overdue and then there is no time to learn.

So I am very suspicious about this career change every 7 years thing. Maybe it depends on factors. Maybe it is a US-only thing or Silicon Valley only thing. Maybe it is for extroverts who get jobs from friends, not just applying for job ads and showing certifications. Maybe they mean under career change actually just doing a bit different field of the same career, like from accountant to auditor.

I am of a third opinion, that basically you owe 40 hours a week to the devil, and the rest is your life, the rest is you.

But it can be that it is the definition of poor and middle changes per region or culture. I am used to defining poor as trade school blue collars, literally working class.

"get a trade, any trade, only a thin line separates you from the alcoholic homeless bum down the street or in prison and that thin line is an e.g. construction trade school".

The working class with secure jobs (government and some union) are quite a long ways from "the alcoholic bum". I knew a guy who was a retired garbage man in his mid forties, living off his government pension with a home in a nice neighborhood.

It's unusual (isn't it?) for anyone to have a government pension in their mid-forties. Any idea how he managed that?

I believe a lot of government jobs allow (allowed?) early retirement based on years of service. Maybe that's getting more rare, but it's still the case in the military. A little googling, and it seems that in the military 20 years is still standard and they're even trying to downsize some guys and are offering them retirement benefits if they've been in for 15 years.

Thanks for that rich feedback, really helpful! Didn't know about the differences between the rich/middle/working class dichotomy, something to keep in mind for a future blog post expansion on this one.

You are right that the 18-year-old me was thinking of job=rest of life, and that's not a great mode of thought. Good point about the career changes as well. As a college professor now, I try to convey both ideas to students. That's why the post suggests revising one's life goals every 3 months or so.

I'm curious about your life planning system. Can you give some more details on how you use it, and some specific examples of how it helped you/others?

[-][anonymous]6y 4

Not sure if you want meta level or more practical, but here is what I regret:

1) You can choose to be a generalist or specialist

2) Largely speaking big cities need specialists and small towns / countryside need generalists

3) I became a specialist and then realized I loathe city life and want to get out, but no chance

Doctors are a good example, if you have one doc per village he better be a GP and not an eye surgeon. While GP's live in cities too, they mainly do pre-filtering and directing people to specialists. In a city, being the best of the handful eye surgeons pays. And you need the pay, because the cost of living is high and real estate is expensive.

(This is the old division of labor as a function of pop density and cost of transportation thing that is known since Adam Smith.)

In my case, I could live rural if I was a generic IT guy or a generic accountant. I do the highly specialized combination of the two which is called ERP consulting. (ERP = SAP, Oracle, Navision...) I am kinda screwed there.

Sorry to hear about your situation there, it sucks to be trapped like that.

Thanks for the meta-level stuff. I'll be writing future blog posts about career choice more broadly, and that will be useful information to integrate into those posts. Much appreciated.

[-][anonymous]6y 0

If you're planning to do a series of blog posts about this, I recommend payscale's college career data although you may have to make selection effect adjustments. Mean SAT or GRE scores for each group might be a good adjustment. I also believe they count individuals who graduate but fail the licensing exam. For my profession, the starting salary looked about $10,000 too low. That's my best explanation for the disparity. Bryan Caplan has been writing a book about education. Several of his Econlog blog posts would be useful to you.

Thanks for the tip about payscale, and Bryan Caplan's posts, I'll take a look. Let me know if there are any specific posts you would recommend.

[-][anonymous]6y 0

Just glancing through it I came across this:

Thanks for the specific reference!

[-][anonymous]6y 4

This seems somewhat condensed, you know, like a memory of a decision and not the actual protocol. What other careers have you considered? Have your parents not warned you about the lying a history professor is supposed to do? What arguments to the contrary could have swayed your decision (as opposed to what could not)? What new information did you have to seek as evidence in either direction?

Yup, this is indeed the memory of a decision, and my 18-year-old self didn't consider other careers. Regarding the key protocol, that is in the very end, which lists the 3 steps. Regarding the new information, this is included in the "Review and revise" steps.

However, I think the questions you raise are really valuable for specifically decision-making regarding careers. I'll be writing more blog posts regarding career decision-making in the future, and will make sure to integrate those questions into those blog posts. Thank you!

My high school actually made us write career planning papers once a year for 4 years. It certainly helped some people, but the big problem for me was that I was not smart enough and did not know enough to make those plans then! Now, looking back a decade or so, I am perhaps competent enough to do useful planning for my high school self, but I certainly couldn't do the planning for someone else.

The advice I'd give to a general audience like my past self would be to try the career paper thing in case it works, but also put a high, high priority on taking summer internships doing and observing and making contacts in actual day to day work in areas you are interested in. Try to keep some record of how much you enjoyed each thing - then go back to the person who was your boss for your favorite internship and absolutely lean on them for help and advice and recommendation letters.

And yet even that would only have been moderately useful for me. So maybe as a last ditch effort, try to find someone who is highly similar to you but at least 5 years older and get them to tell you what to do - and try it for a little while even if it sounds like something you wouldn't have decided on yourself. My high school self would not have known how to implement this advice properly, but this is absolutely something parents can help with if they don't know how to guide a child who is interested in things they don't have experience in.

Wow, it's awesome that your high school had you write career planning papers, too bad it was only once a year though. Glad it helped some people.

Good points about the summer internships and observations post-factum. Also interesting thoughts about the person who is highly similar. I know my high school self would have had trouble figuring out who would be highly similar to me but 5 years older, but still, something to try out.

I'll be writing future posts about this topic, and will definitely integrate your suggestions into them. Thank you!

If you want to appeal to a broad audience I'd say tone down the "debating complex intellectual questions" stuff. most teenagers aren't terribly intellectual but this kind of advice is important to them and you want them to be imagining themselves in your shoes.

Personally I was very lucky, my parents didn't pressure me into a particular profession though I have ended up in a somewhat similar area to my dad.

I did initially consider studying physics or math in college and missed getting into physics by just a few points but it was very much for the best as I realized later that the things that had appealed to me were much more in line with CS, I thrived in CS where I would have merely done OK in physics or math.

Of course, if anything I do it too much, I spent about half my life perpetually living for 5 years in the future. Sometimes it's important to stop planning and enjoy the current time.

On the note of career choices, I quite like this old quote of EY's:

"Have I ever remarked on how completely ridiculous it is to ask high school students to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives and give them nearly no support in doing so? Support like, say, spending a day apiece watching twenty different jobs and then another week at their top three choices, with salary charts and projections and probabilities of graduating that subject given their test scores? The more so considering this is a central allocation question for the entire economy? "

[-][anonymous]6y 0

most teenagers aren't terribly intellectual

To the contrary, they want to appear and feel super smart, at little effort! This is why most teenagers love Dawkins et al. as it sounds like being smarter than your parents, or this is why Ayn Rand and Nietzsche are typical teenager heroes. The trick is to not make them think hard - they will call that boring stuff - but help them feel smug about their intellectualism and then they will listen.

Caveat: my current self absolutely hates my smug-ass teenage self that I used to be so I may be a bit pessimistic about other teenagers :)

You may have a slight sampling bias.

A large portion of the population don't attach a great deal of status to smartness. In the slightly geekier subgroups sure but scoring goals, scoring with attractive members of the opposite sex, being invited to lots of social events, knowing the gossip. All these things are far more important to a huge portion of the population than smartness and there's nothing particularly wrong with that.

personally I'd much prefer to one day hold a nobel than to hold the FIFA world cup and I'm willing to bet so would you but we're almost certainly in the minority on that score in the general population.

[-][anonymous]6y 0

I do very little offline communication with young people anymore and tend to think Reddit is representative. I mean, it is big, right?

Reminds me of this essay by Scott/Yvain where he mentions a reddit thread of over 10,000 comments specifically looking for people who opposed gay marriage, but with practically nobody who opposed gay marriage participating.

A great reminder that while increasing sample size decreases random bias, it does nothing to reduce systemic bias.

[-][anonymous]6y 0

True. Hmm...

Caveat: my current self absolutely hates my smug-ass teenage self that I used to be so I may be a bit pessimistic about other teenagers :)

I think you are. I agree that some teenagers love to feel smarter than other people (not necessarily their parents), but I hypothesize that this is more because no-one is offering teenagers the actual tools to be genuinely smart/intelligent. I think that there's a number of teenagers who, if they knew it was an option, would want to actually think hard and be smart without being smug about this. I'm not a huge fan of labeling all behavior as "signaling," but I think that the smugness and the wanting to appear smart is a substitute for the unknown option of actually being smart in a meaningful way.

Fair enough about the "intellectual questions" - I will change that to "arguing with each other about life questions"

Thanks for sharing about your own experience, glad it worked out (mostly) well for you.

Good point about EY's quote (looking forward to re-reading the sequences myself now that the book came out). That's one reason I suggest in the 3 steps for people to re-evaluate their goals every 3 months, and avoid being attached to previous goals.

[-][anonymous]6y 1

How did your plan to become a history professor ultimately work out? What were your odds of becoming a history professor at the time you decided to start working towards that goal? What would you have done if you had failed in your goal? Would failing at becoming a history professor been better or worse than succeeding as a medical doctor?

For the overwhelming majority of people, neither history professor nor medical doctor is a good career choice. I had a cousin who last Thanksgiving mentioned he was considering history for his major in college. I strongly advised against it because of his low probability of success and the amount of work he would have to put in to succeed. By Christmas, he had changed his mind to Structural Engineering.

After considering my options and preferences, I decided that money and security mattered less than a profession that would be genuinely satisfying and meaningful. What’s the point of making a million bucks if I’m miserable doing it, I thought to myself.

You're welcome to believe a history professor's job has more meaning than a medical doctor's, but you're probably on an island in that belief. Money, job security, job meaning, and career interest are just some of the reasons to choose a job path. There is also:

  • How well you like your boss
  • How well you like your coworkers
  • Job perks
  • Difficulty of obtaining the job
  • Number of hours worked
  • Consistency of hours worked
  • Amount of travel away from home
  • Job Status

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work. The high-paying career paths right now are mostly in Engineering, Technology, Business, and Health Care. Medical Doctor is a bad idea because of the amount of debt and time you have to give up to get there even though it does have high pay and job security once you succeed. It also often has strenuous hours.

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work.

Not necessarily, See this comment for some opposing considerations. Some highly lucrative jobs can be pretty restrictive in terms of where you have to live to do them.

Thanks for the feedback! Responding to the specific question, my plan worked out fine. But you raise many good points about the importance of factors to consider when making a career choice. The post I'm making is not meant to convey all the factors that people should consider. The last part of the post is the key takeaway for people to think about. I will be writing future blog posts on this topic, and will definitely integrate what you suggested about the variety of important factors regarding career choice into those. Thank you!

[-][anonymous]6y 0

Also, it is possible to get into a college of your choice, specialize in a field you like, and still screw up if your priorities change (or, similarly, if your & your parents' priorities used to align well enough up until you graduate). I was hurried into applying for a PhD because 'let's face it, botanists are no good for much else and you will lose all qualification if you don't get in THIS YEAR'. And so I did not choose my topic carefully, and now I am married and have a kid and still stuck in this program. Ahem. The point was, maybe teenagers should already negotiate with their folks what support they can expect if their first choice doesn't immediately set them on a career path?

Good point about not being wedded to priorities. That's one reason I suggest that people re-evaluate their priorities every 3 months and not get attached to them. However, I hear the broader point you make about path dependence, namely being stuck in something and realizing you would not have chosen this course looking back at things. Definitely will include that message in future blog posts.

The sentence after the Mere Exposure Effect is introduced does not quite parse. Might want to double check it.

Good catch, thanks - I'll change that to "This term refer to our brain’s tendency to believe something is true and good just because we are familiar with it, regardless of whether that something is actually true and good."

[-][anonymous]6y 0

I liked history myself and still chose a very different path. I have to reasons for that, and if I must be brutally honest I don't know if they are really good reasons or rationalizations, although I do know I more or less had a hunch of them before choosing and that mattered:

1) In some lines of work you just apply for a job ad, in some lines of work it is all about networking. I am a misanthropic guy probably on the spectrum. Go figure. It is far more easy for me to show a bunch of certification showing that I can do stuff with a complicated technological tool businesses absolutely need to use than to be that sort of guy other historians like enough to be offered a position.

2) This is a terrible thing to say, but almost everything is far less fun as work than as non-work, because as non-work you can fish out the fun part, while as work you need to deal with tons of terrible, boring, tedious details. This means almost no work is enjoyable when you need to really do it for a living. I love reading history because the writers have fished out the interesting parts from the tedious parts. But I imagined going through tons of WW2 material like all the military orders stuff, logistics like orders to deliver a bunch of underpants into El Alamein or the court-martial records of Cpl. Cocklepoppy who got drunk and choked someone with them. And having to fish out the interesting stuff from all that noise. I imagine that is what historians do. YAWN. Almost everything we enjoy as a hobby is a "pop" version of it and the work version is far more tedious. I learned it at high school. In elementary school I loved chemistry as it was about making green flames. I went to a high school specialized in chemistry. 5 classes a week. It was tons of calculations. Quickly got bored. I realized real work is boring no matter what because details, details, details so better get paid for it and suffer through it. I intended to save money, retire at 45-50 and then do what I like. Then I started a family so well, it won't work like that.

This means almost no work is enjoyable when you need to really do it for a living.

Do you really think that there are no people out their who enjoy a lot of their working hours?

[-][anonymous]6y 0

I think this is very rare, but more importantly, I think the cases where it happened the "introvert" way i.e. some business advertises a job that requires knowledge X, I have a degree/certification in X so I apply are very close to zero. It may happen the "extrovert" way that you have a gazillion friends and a hobby of fixing up old bikes and this leads to some friends friends giving you a bike mechanic job. The problem is not even whether the "extrovert" way is compatible with your personality or not, the issue is it being hugely uncertain. You cannot base your life plans on that. I guess uncertainty may not be the best word for that... rather unsystematic. There are lower and lower chances of getting a job that requires experience, degree or certification in assembler or COBOL but still there is a system for finding them, such as searching Monster. The "extrovert" way of having productive hobbies and just hanging out with a lot of people with similar interests and hoping for a job one day is scarily unsystematic to me.

That means, it happens, but you cannot prepare for that scenario when you choose your studies. And that is the important part. It can happen, but it is not to optimize the plans for.

And that is where the enjoyable jobs are, sadly.

Let me put it this way. People generally try to recruit people from their network, people they trust. They put on a job ad when they cannot find someone. So in an office consisting of 10 people 6-8 will more or less form a network of acquantainces or friends. Having to hire someone from a job ad is something they already dislike, they would have not done so if doing it otherwise i.e. from the network would be possible. As an advertisement-hire, you start from a position between slight distrust to dislike. So you are the perfect person to dump the unpleasant tasks on! :)

Writing COBOL might not be enjoyable but a variety of computer programming jobs are at least partly enjoyable provided the person likes to program.

Outsides programmers it's also possible to find enjoyable work I have a friend who's a massage therapist and who enjoys his work very much. You can learn message in a course.

As an advertisement-hire, you start from a position between slight distrust to dislike.

That depends on the first impression that you are making.

I agree with Lumifer's comment. It does depend. I find that for myself doing history work that goal factors with my passion for historical analysis is quite motivating and enjoyable. Sure, there's lots of tedium, but I much prefer a job from which I get lots of hedons along with the tedium, rather than one that is just for $ and also has tedium. Besides, there are ways to cut out tedium from any job the more experienced you get in the job.

[-][anonymous]6y 0

Besides, there are ways to cut out tedium from any job the more experienced you get in the job.

Aka "dump the busywork on the noobs" :) Let's be honest :) Trading mentoring/experience for taking over the dull tasks with an assistant, trainee or intern is a fairly ethical, win-win scenario, my issue is that our organization is not big enough for that but this may be something to look into in the future.

Sure, there is a dumping of busywork, but there is also cutting the busywork. The Pareto Principle functions in work like anything else :-)

This means almost no work is enjoyable when you need to really do it for a living.

I disagree. It depends.

My family immigrated from

Usage Nazi sez: emigrate from, immigrate to.

Usage Nazi sez: emigrate from, immigrate to.

The distinction between emigrate and immigrate is more a matter of where the sentence is placing its attention. Emigrate from A to B; immigrate to B from A. Compare: go from A to B; come to B from A.

The distinction between emigrate and immigrate is more a matter of where the sentence is placing its attention.

In cases where both the from X and to Y clauses are in the sentence, you might then need another rule for which one to pick, if you're only going to pick one. I note that even here, in your example, the rule apply - emmigrate from, and immigrate to.

If you would specify both emigrate and immigrate, it will be "emigrate from A and immigrate to B" and "immigrate to B and emigrate from A", again, consistent with the rule.

Do you have an example where my proposed usage would be mistaken?

Great, thanks for that, will edit!