- I had no money to move. Any company that wanted me would have had to pay relocation.
- There are exactly 4 tech firms in the area, total employment of engineers is < 1000.
- I had studied general CS, generally trying not to be tied to a given TLA technology. This meant that I could not claim "years of experience with tech X".
- I had not had the time to do open-source work, I had been doing my studies. By the time I was aware enough to do interesting work, my studies were too intensive.
- I had had a bad semester immediately prior to graduation, and my GPA was not near 4. (over 3 tho).
- I had done academic summer research, not internships.
I played careerbuilder & monster.com like I was supposed to. No. Luck.
I janitored for 6 months and dug up some university jobs, then back to graduate school, where I cadged the internship -> full-time transition.
I think there was also a culture factor, I was making a transition from a blue-collar culture to a white-collar one, and expectations & knowledge of expectations are different, in many subtle ways.
To this day, I have a good deal of sympathy for people out of work.
Based on my personal experience, I encourage hiring managers and recruiters to look past the keywords to the possibilities that the candidate has. A good candidate can move into anything they need to be, if you give them a chance.
We need to have a How The World Works discussion with college students so that they understand that resume spray-and-pray is not actually how people get white collar jobs. Honestly I think that a good deal of the persistent unemployment problem is that people are doing cargo cult job searching and this checks their mental box for "making a good effort", when they should instead be making directed efforts to meet people with the authority to hire them and convincing them to make it happen.
Not that I have personally tried the strategies in that book (admittedly), but it sounded very plausible to me :-/ At the very least, what is there to lose. If 100 job applications didn't work, does it really hurt to try something else for a week?
So one thing that counterindicates working alone at home is having poor discipline with regards to use of time. This sometimes bites me on the hindquarters: if you do a little work in the morning, goof off on the Internet for a while, and do a little work in the afternoon, it often "feels like" you worked that day. And if on a Tuesday you miss your morning, well, nobody yells at you. And why do the afternoon, when you've already missed the morning? And then that happens on Wednesday. etc, etc
Put it this way: let's say someone had voluntarily quit their day job as a result of, I don't know, achieving an exit. If they told me that, six months after quitting their day job, they were so busy with the three emails they wrote per week that they didn't have time to read a particular book, I would say that they merely have poor time accounting skills or that their revealed preference is that they have no intention of reading the book.
I hate saying "unemployed people are lying" in so many words, so I won't. But 6 months times 40 hours a week is a thousand hours. More if you previously had a commute or worked overtime. If you don't have 1,000 hours worth of progress on whatever your #1 priority is at the moment, you have to ask yourself why not.
Also, as you say, managing time efficiently at home is difficult. And they might just be tired of hearing yet another well meaning advice.
There might also be a factor of things taking more time if you don't have money. You have to go to the cheap supermarket that is far away rather than the expensive one around the corner. You have to go shopping and cook for yourself, rather than grabbing a quick lunch at your favorite Sushi joint. And so on.
But I don't really know - I actually offered to try to help some job seeker in my blog once, but nobody took me up on it. Of course my blog has no reach and I was also unsure of what I could really offer (except for computer skills, brushing up online representations and whatnot). I am actually very interested in that problem - figuring out ways to help job seekers could do a lot of good.
One thing I imagined was A/B testing for job application letters and CVs. If you are really sending out hundreds of applications, it might begin to make sense?
The scenario is more interesting if you rep a lot of candidates. A LinkedIn oe what have you could test resummes or equivalent web views very efficiently indeed.
I have no regrets on sharing my work online like this. However, the idea that it's likely to help land a job is just survivorship bias.
That said: just because you touch the Internet doesn't guarantee you a nice safe job for life, but you're a darn sight better off if the decisionmaker you influence either a) has read you in the past or b) is reading you right now than you are if you're in the spray & pray slush pile.
Also, "I've been out of work and on the job hunt for a year." This may be true but is not a selling point. Say instead, "I'm available for work, contract or full time, right now. Hire me."
As for the matter of picking "junior" or "mid", I was hedging my bets by including both. I have no point of reference as to how good I am or if I'm good at all. I haven't worked around other developers for 2 years now. It's all been solo "side project" stuff. Feel free to shoot my an email if you want to continue this discussion. I do appreciate your critique.
If I can offer some unsolicited advice, I would recommend organizing things better. Have one page that you can refer people to that highlight your accomplishments and links to your github or Youtube videos that you want to highlight. Your blog or website doesn't offer this capability at first glance. Make it easy for someone to see what you've done. Remember that a potential employer may only have 30-60 seconds to take a look so make it count.
Trust me, if you are married and unemployed (and once upon a time I was both), your SO isn't going to let you sit in front of the computer and learn a programming language for 8 hrs a day while the car gets repo'd.
One thing I am unhappy about to this day is my experience with the career search arm of my alma mater.
It went like this...
Me, senior in college, on the job prowl. I walk in to the career services office, and they direct me to a window desk. The man sitting behind it has an immaculately put together suit. Boy, I think, this guy's a somewhat. No one else around here wears a suit.
I say, Hi, I'm looking for a job, what can you do for me.
Immaculately Dressed Gentleman (IDG) rises majestically and hands me a flyer for an alma-mater-branded subdomain of monster.com. "Go to this website, and create an account".
Shocked, I stare at IDG and mumble my thanks and confirm that yes, I did know how to create accounts and other Internetty things.
Two points I'd like to address:
- Experience beats GPA. I don't even include my GPA on my resume (not because it's bad, but because I don't think it's relevant), and, so far, no one has asked for it. Experience, on the other hand, has opened far more doors than college has.
- Direct your efforts. It's amazing how many more responses I get when I specifically craft a cover letter/resume just for that position that I do when I just send out resumes blindly.
Edit: To be clear, I just graduated from college in May, and accepted an offer in SF two weeks after graduation (without sending out any applications). I also had no money to move and the area I'm from has practically no tech industry. I'm not particularly smart or talented; I just happened to do a few things that built on top of one another.
Do me the favor and sell yourself - WHY should I hire you, of all people, when you're competing against potentially dozens or hundreds of people (who, mostly, just fire and forget resumes at monster and career builder).
Nearly anything you can do to stand out from the crowd will be in your best interests.
Network your ass off. Go to user groups, meetups, anything at all. I've never hired someone cold, from Monster or whatever. Why should I risk it, when I've got some similar with a personal recommendation from a known-quantity?
That happened to me, too, when I was 18. I had grown up in a white-collar family, but it still didn't occur to me that I could, say, take a taxi to get to work on time when I missed the train. Until my boss yelled the suggestion at me over the phone.
In the year before that, I'd been doing minimum-wage work and lazing about reading computer science textbooks and writing C++ in a local university computer lab.
I distinctly remember few years in my middle school, when my family business was not doing that well. I could still get pretty much anything I wanted, but just the negative vibe at home had an impact on me.
"These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized."
I wonder if that's what's happening to people these days. They go through the institution of education through their youth, and then the institution of higher education. When they graduate they go through the institution of the job search and sending out resumes.
People are told this is how things work all their lives. They saw their parents doing it and now they are doing the same thing. When the process starts to break down, they don't know what to do. In some cases people are shackled by the institution of home ownership (unable to move to the jobs.)
As others are saying, contacts are highly important. My level is success is dependent on the size of my virtual rolodex. People need to get around the institution.
Personally, I'm a freelancer living in a foreign country. Currently I'm living in a cozy house costing me less than $200 per month (third world tropical paradise!) I can move anywhere and work from anywhere. I get jobs, salaries, contracts and one-off quickies in the same industry and they are all the same to me. The only difference is in the payment model. I think everyone needs to start thinking like this. Don't be an employee looking for a job, be a business making the same sorts of decisions the other businesses are. You are offering a service and you need to be mobile in offerings and locations to survive.
It's Asia, so the market for food here isn't as wide as the market for food in the U.S. For example, there are Germans here who have setup their own shops for food which I have never seen and has little demand from the locals. You will never see that sort of food in the grocery stores. The Philippines isn't known for it's food like Thailand is. Certainly food is a big part of happiness in life, but I'm happy here for the most part. There are some things I miss but there are American resto's which do a pretty good job of bridging the gap. In the largest cities here, you can find pretty much anything.
My internet connection is reliable enough. I do have plans in place for problems which occasionally pop up, but my area is stable enough that it hosts a lot of BPO's (call centers.)
Housing is relatively cheap here. The standards are also lower, but if you have lived in Asia for a while then you get used to the differences. I could get a nicer house for a lot more money but I'm content where I'm at and the price is right.
edit: I wish I could do what your doing. In the meantime, I shall persevere in creating my solo startup in my "free time".
When I see this, I always ask: what technologies do you work with?
Because of possible brownouts and internet outages I try to stay as mobile and flexible as possible. I want to even be able to pop into an internet cafe to get work done if needed. Of course I have my own systems, but I may not always be able to plug in to a power source with a laptop.
OS: I build my work environment on Windows because if I need to grab a computer on the fly then it will be Windows.
Storage: For "on the go" I have a USB stick with everything I need on it.
Apps: On the drive I use portable apps because the package gives me access a lot of apps which have already been setup for portable usage without me having to research how to do this with all of them.
Truecrypt: I have everything except for the Truecrypt exe file stored in a Truecrypt file which I mount as a drive letter I know won't typically be used. This keeps allows for my portable apps to be associated with a drive letter without having to change a bunch of config files (if needed.) Of course the encryption means that I don't have to worry about losing my USB stick.
Super Flexible File Synchronizer: Also setup as portable and the only paid app that I use. This keeps my files synched between my USB stick, my Strongspace.com space and my other work stations. This also allows me to use the faster IO of local drives when I don't need to use the USB stick. It's easier to use on Windows than Rsync.
SCM: Msysgit portable.
IM / Voice: Skype Portable.
Dev server: Accelerator from Joyent which runs Solaris. This is where all my development ends up. I don't do development locally unless I really have to (Xampp etc.)
That's pretty much it. I try to keep it as simple and lean as possible. This makes syncs more bearable and I can copy my whole setup to other systems without taking up too much room. For example, a developer friend of mine has an office here decked out with workstations and he setup a space for me. I just use one of his stations and I copied my Truecrypt file to local storage. Then I fire up my sync app and fire away. If it gets accidentally deleted, no harm done.
I love the idea of being able to pack my workstation anywhere I go. It goes along with the idea of travelling light so that I can stay highly mobile.
They all are. ;-)
Thanks for the detailed response. Sounds great.
- Going to college doesn't mean you deserve a job more than someone else. Got an ivy league degree? A PhD? Get over it.
- America is still a country where one can post up signs on a telephone pole to help someone move boxes, clean a house, or drive a car. Not ideal right? Maybe, but these people can earn $200 a day paid in cash if they work hard. Putting up signs and actually doing the work is usually a psychological barrier to many people though.
- Being poor sucks, sure. But guess what -- learning to withstand it is a good skill to have. Perhaps one of the most indispensable ones a serious independent risk taking entrepreneur can have. If one can learn to be poor and deal with the associated social and practical problems, you'll have a fearlessness and sense of freedom that few office workers know.
- Having a job does not mean someone is successful. And not having a job does not mean someone is a failure. People often tie their self worth to their job title, and therefore every sales person is now a "vice-president", and data entry workers are "analysts" -- title inflation is easier than salary inflation. In many cases, having one's time to do nothing but reflect and self-improve is preferable to one of these jobs.
I think the point was that this is affecting a wide range of people including the educated and hard working. I didn't see the entitlement slant.
>America is still a country where one can post up signs on a telephone pole
Sure. 9% of the working population can post a sign on a telephone pole. Let me know how that works out for you.
>Being poor sucks, sure. But guess what -- learning to withstand it is a good skill to have.
Ah, the benefits of a calcutta education! Maybe we can start a charity to help to these people realise how lucky they are?
>not having a job does not mean someone is a failure.
People are saying that when they have trouble paying their bills, that effects their self worth. This is different than saying that they are worthless because they are not a vice-president.
My guess is you don't have a family and you have never had to go without.
If you want to change the world, empathy would be a good skill to acquire.
Empathy is always a good skill. But I don't empathize with people who consider unemployment (in America) to be someone else's problem. While, people in America may not be happy with 9% unemployment, there are plenty of options for maintaining a quite good standard of living when compared to many countries where the median wage is much lower.
Another problem is that while you are busy moving boxes, you can't look for a job that actually suits your skills. Sure, it beats starving, but "just do any job" might not actually be the best career advice in every situation.
Of course, there is the difficulty of finding time to apply for other jobs to weigh it against, but I think the balance tips the other way.
I used to have a lot of appointments with the dentist when I was looking for a new job.
More recently, I just made them meet me outside office hours.
In fact, in a lot of professional companies they really would understand, "yeah, but I have a job to cover the bills so do you mind if I meet you at 6pm?"
And, no, I have never had dental insurance. I paid myself. I had a guy drill a tooth out raw (sans painkiller) for a much lower price once. That was quite the experience.
And in an unrelated point, a good companion to this article is Being Poor:
 Just one example, google should turn up many more examples for you, should you actually be interested: http://www.businessinsider.com/trimtabs-heres-why-the-real-j...
Further, I'm not sure how TrimTab's "real time tax data" could possibly measure unemployment - how does TrimTabs know whether someone is looking for work?
>how does TrimTabs know whether someone is looking for work?
How does BLS? By seeing how many people claim benefits? What about those who aren't eligible?
You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Please go educate yourself before further embarrassing yourself by expounding on this topic.
> someone who already knows what he wants to say and only needs the reports that agree
:) Are you really saying you don't already have an opinion on this issue? Please assume good faith.
The data, broadly speaking, matches up with my experience -- "some report" agrees with my "in the field" data, and with yummyfajitas' "in the field" data, and many others' "in the field" data. "Scalzi's article describes a fairly atypical poverty experience"; you and Scalzi are the outliers, not the norm.
A lot of people just don't want to work hard. One of the people in that article was bitching and moaning about working a few hours on weekends!
Beggars truly cannot be choosers. It is really not that hard to cut costs and live within your means when the internet provides infinite entertainment for free, as well as comparison price shopping, etcetera.
Hmm. Have you seen the BLS statistics showing the positive correlation between the number of hours worked and income levels?
Your confidence in these statistics strikes me as incredibly naive and self-serving. For example, how were these "hours worked" counted exactly? Did they get the people who work off-clock at Walmart to put down what they were really working? Did they get people working illegally (e.g. illegal immigrant, etc.) to clock their hours?
The economy isn't some lab experiment with double blind testing and so on. Any data you think you have is going to have some major fundamental flaws.
> The people who work the hardest (e.g. single mother, people with 2 and 3 jobs) are not getting ahead as fast people who don't work as hard.
Sure. But I think this comes back to relative vs. absolute.
You aren't disagreeing that if an individual works more hours at any given job, all else equal, they will make more money.
I'm not disagreeing that there are individuals with different hourly pay rates.
Where we might disagree is whether there is a genuine positive correlation between skill level/scarcity of skill and hourly wage rate.
Also, I might have close to $0 in my bank account, but I don't really care that there are rich people out there and am not envious of them. It's enough for me that as I work harder, I will see the returns of my personal effort.
If instead one is really concerned about other people, then you've set yourself up for discontent, no matter how hard you work! I can practice basketball all day long and work hard, but I will never glide to the hoop as effortlessly as LeBron. And most people can practice programming all day long but will never be capable of doing the work at Facebook or Google.
It's important to know one's strengths and limitations. Go for the best hourly wage you can get, by all means, but that won't necessarily be $500/hour. And sure, there will be someone out there who can command that wage and make it look easy. You can focus on the cosmic injustice of this and make yourself unhappy, or you can do what you can to make your own life better.
> The economy isn't some lab experiment with double blind testing and so on. Any data you think you have is going to have some major fundamental flaws.
Well, if you believe this premise then it's not possible to submit evidence supporting any position, either mine or yours. I do believe there is some objective truth out there.
 Yes, salaried jobs don't have this characteristic directly, but only indirectly in the sense of getting a bonus or promotion. But those are also pretty good jobs relative to hourly jobs, which takes us back to square 1.
You're both implying that poor people are lazy and confusing economics for a hard science. The latter is annoying but the former is offensive.
>You aren't disagreeing that if an individual works more hours at any given job, all else equal, they will make more money.
Actually I absolutely disagree that working more hours at a job gives more money. I've been a career software developer for 12 years now and for me it is the exact opposite. The more I work, the less I make. I don't claim that working less means more money but rather that any correlation between the two is largely coincidental. The hardest working white collar workers I ever knew worked at the Walmart home office. They were (and still are) also the worst paid I've ever worked with.
By what mechanism would a salaried worker make more by working more? In my experience they either work more because the position requires it (i.e. it's expectation and you don't get performance raises for meeting expectations) or they are under the mis-impression that this will get them ahead. Usually in the latter case, several people get this silly idea and start competing with each other pushing team average working hours up and thereby making each other mediocre again. You can't give one guy a raise for working 12 hour days when the whole team is doing it.
From everything I've ever seen in my career; networking gets you ahead, not number of hours your butt is in a seat nor gallons of sweat you perspire. If anything, these two things get in the way of networking.
>Also, I might have close to $0 in my bank account, but I don't really care that there are rich people out there and am not envious of them. It's enough for me that as I work harder, I will see the returns of my personal effort.
It doesn't bother you that since '79 middle/lower class wages (inflation adjusted) have remained relatively flat while the top tear have around 4 times more wealth?  People who got rich by making their own business didn't hurt you, true, but that is a vanishingly small percentage of the wealthy. The CEO's are making megabucks and laying you off instead of passing on part those profits to you (the worker). As a workforce we've gotten vastly more efficient but most of the fruits of those labors are going to upper management.
>If instead one is really concerned about other people, then you've set yourself up for discontent, no matter how hard you work!
A good sentiment overall, but in this case not quite true. Politics got us in this mess and good politics could get us out again. Either that or if most of the workforce would just stop working for BigCorp Inc. and start their own small businesses, make a big Coop, whatever.
>You can focus on the cosmic injustice of this and make yourself unhappy, or you can do what you can to make your own life better.
You seem to have turned into an infomercial, but this touches on the whole point: what you can do to make your life better is not working harder. There are a lot of things you can do, but hard work will have the lowest (if any) yield. Networking will have the biggest effect if you're both lucky and good.
>Well, if you believe this premise then it's not possible to submit evidence supporting any position, either mine or yours.
I believe because it's not only true, it's obvious. That doesn't mean we can't support positions it just means you can't come out and say "see, it's the poor people's own fault, here's the proof". There is no "proof". There is only faulty data and antidotes to build assumptions on.
>I do believe there is some objective truth out there.
There are experiences of real people. Claiming something like "salaries go up with hours worked" just can't be proven conclusively any more than the weather man can tell you how much rain you will get on Tuesday, 3 months from now.
And speaking as someone who has taken graduate coursework in “continental philosophy”, and been walked through the big hits of structural anthropology, Hegelian marxism and Freudian feminism, that graduate macroeconomics class was by far the most ideologically indoctrinating class I’ve ever seen. By a mile. There was like two weeks where the class just copied equations that said, if you speak math, “unemployment insurance makes people weak and slothful” over and over again. Hijacking poor Richard Bellman, the defining metaphor was that observation that if something is on an optimal path any subsection is also an optimal path, so government just needs to get out of the way as the macroeconomy is optimal absent absurdly defined shocks and our 9.6% unemployment is clearly optimal.
There once was an island with a population of 100 dogs. Every day a plane flew overhead and dropped 95 bones onto the island. It was a dog paradise, except for the fact that every day 5 dogs went hungry. Hearing about the problem, a group of social scientists was sent to assess the situation and recommend remedies.
The social scientists ran a series of regressions and determined that bonelessness in the dog population was associated with lower levels of bone- seeking effort and that boneless dogs also lacked important skills in fighting for bones. As a remedy for the problem, some of the social scientists proposed that boneless dogs needed a good kick in the side, while others proposed that boneless dogs be provided special training in bone-fighting skills.
A bitter controversy ensued over which of these two strategies ought to be pursued. Over time, both strategies were tried, and both reported limited success in helping individual dogs overcome their bonelessness -- but despite this success, the bonelessness problem on the island never lessened in the aggregate. Every day, there were still five dogs who went hungry.
Unfortunately, the real world is significantly more complicated than the Calc 1 models proposed by Keynes.
If aggregate demand were anywhere near the point of full employment, we would see evidence of inflation. We do not. Some prices are rising in nominal terms as the dollar depreciates, but that is quite different.
"Economyths: Ten Ways Economics Gets It Wrong"
This book explores the idea that classical economics, despite its severe case of physics-envy, may be "flat-out wrong". The author has a PhD in non-linear systems from Oxford, so I don't think he is a complete crank! I certainly find his arguments to be pretty plausible.
This is an utterly wrong attitude, and the history of science proved it many, many times when scientists produced total bullshit when they were leaving their area of expertise. It's not always the case, but it happens too often to disregard it.
Of course, the author of the book is no Feynman - he isn't claiming to be. All he is doing is trying to evaluate the success of economics as a 'scientific' field.
Given the influence that that economics has I think a skeptical evaluation of how it actually performs is a rather good thing.
Okay, and before I enrage anybody else, Einstein was one of my childhood heroes and inspirations, and still is. We can't say that, categorically, all scientists working outside of their realm of expertise produce bullshit, but it notably has happened.
> We can't say that, categorically, all scientists working outside of their realm of expertise produce bullshit, but it notably has happened.
Perhaps it has, but Einstein supporting socialism isn't an example of that. Coming out with "herb, derp, socialism is bad, m'kay" smacks of tea party logic. The question is vastly more complex than that. The US has quite a bit of "socialism" and has for a very long time.
People need to understand what they're saying. If this guy is going to come on here with an out-of-the-blue judgment on an abstract concept someone needs to point out that he's being simple minded. And in the group most likely to have this particular ignorant behavior are, in fact, the tea party.
>Please keep such emotional baggage off of hacker news.
He brought the emotional baggage here so I stepped up to say it's not welcome in clear and unambiguous terms. If people want to vote us both into the gray I'm good with that. The OP is not getting away with silent contempt from me. Not on hacker news.
Your post suggests that his version of emotional baggage is simple-minded and unwelcome, but your version of emotional baggage is OK.
In reality, neither of your versions of emotional baggage belong on Hacker News.
And what does it turn out to be that I don't know about being jobless? Well here's what I learned:
1. It sucks
2. It's hard not having much money
3. Getting a job is hard
4. Don't do a degree in Women's Studies
I'm not sure any of this was a particularly new insight.
It seems that most people who undergo higher education do so with the expectation that it will lead to a "higher" job, and that's magical thinking.
Sure, higher education is pretty much a requirement for certain classes of jobs, but it's not the only requirement, and it pales compared to the most important requirement: contacts.
This is a human world we live in, and humans by nature are friendlier to someone they know than to someone they don't know.
I, too, once believed in the entitlement that an education "should" bring, until I looked back at all of the jobs I landed (and the thousands I didn't), and realized that every single job I successfully interviewed for was a direct result of a contact in my network.
This is even more important in times of recession, because you're up against a whole army of faceless job seekers, all flooding potential employers with pieces of paper and lamenting the lack of response.
If an employer can't put a face to your name, you stand as much a chance of getting in as winning the lottery.
It's also false advertisement.
"Get a degree from us and you'll get a job" is how it's sold to us from the age of elementary school forwards.
Degrees are expensive and this industry earns 100s of billions every year. There is only 1 way they can market a degree to you, and that's to connect it directly with a job.
By manipulating legislature to gain recourse status (even after a personal bankruptcy), accepting government money to finance such futile aspirations, and pushing up the overall price of higher ed, they're in a unique position to be disliked by both liberals and conservatives.
With graduate degrees especially the loan applicant should be required to cover a good portion of their education from their current job. Which will make them at least test the waters (i.e. internship offices and recruiting departments) to see what market applicability their current/future degree has, instead of finding the truth a few years later with a six-digit debt.
I don't know about you, but my career is based entirely on my university degree(s). And not because of the piece of paper, either, because of the crapload of stuff I learned at university which I never would have learned any other way.
Many of the people who proclaim that university is useless are programmers. No surprises there -- programming is one of the few marketable skills which you can actually teach yourself from a book. Aeronautical engineering? Not so much.
The "lie" is the notion that without a degree, your job choices will be limited to burger flipper at McDonalds. With a degree, any degree at all, your dream job will fall into your lap and you'll be paid handsomely to do it. Obviously neither are true, but that is what pre-college aged students are regularly told.
If you have a love of aeronautical engineering, university is a fantastic place to study what you love. If you land a great job upon completion, even better. However, if you only have a love of money, studying aeronautical engineering is a waste of time. There are better and easier ways to make your fortune.
The lie is the belief that a degree pretty much guarantees you a job, which it doesn't. The degree is but one step along the way, but most people come out of school believing that it is the only step (followed by that magical "experience" that comes up with the rations), and so have a false sense of entitlement.
This is a lie that, though not always told directly, is nonetheless communicated to all students as they pass through the hallowed halls, as they complete difficult courses, as they don the robes and cap, as they "climb the corporate ladder". It's a false sense of security because they've only done part of what they need to do in order to be successful in life, and they don't even realize it!
So is it any wonder that uninformed and dispirited job seekers come at the world with plaintive cries of "I have a PHD in X and here I am flipping burgers!"?
In short, your CONTACTS get you the interview and a sympathetic ear, and your education, experience, references and personality do the rest. Without the contacts, you probably won't even get in the door to show off the rest.
What is one supposed to do with a PhD in education anyway? Surely not become a teacher?
If you are not already employed as a teacher in the public school systems, it makes it harder for you to find a job as such (at least during a budget crunch) since you come with a higher price tag.
I also have a friend who's getting his Ph. D in early childhood education largely because, after something like five years as a kindergarten teacher, he was astounded at how dumb the other teachers were (he tells stories of co-workers not being able to do basic arithmetic) and how much they depended on materials to actually do their instruction. He views the Ph. D largely as a way to get his foot in the door at someplace where he can design and produce early childhood curricula and help save kids from teachers who have no business in the classroom.
Then again, he also spoke frequently about how much he hated the professors when he was in college because many of them had literally never taught children. They got to college because they had good grades, went to grad school because they had good grades and got professorships because they did good research, but never had to apply what they were studying.
Honestly, it sounds a tremendous amount like computer science.
tl;dr: No, to research about education.
The writing is on the wall. If you're not working to automate other jobs out of existence then someone is working to automate yours. Minor exceptions given for occupations that exist primarily to offer a human connection.
When did the future turn into a game of Survivor?
When did the economy become a game of musical chairs? If you don't have a seat when the music stops, just kiss your life goodbye.
When we allowed 20% of the population to assume ownership of 80% of the wealth, forcing everyone else to scramble for scraps. When we've dismantled and made useless our social safety nets by a combination of poor policies and equally poor policing for abuse. When we've collectively moved to the right in economic and social policies, thereby not only disenfranchising the poor, but also make them hate themselves - the loudest complaints about "socialists" and "redistribution" seem to come from people who need it the most, but don't recognize it.
It happened when we started penalizing people for having anything less than perfect health. Have a chronic condition? Well, forget about entrepreneurialism and adding to the economy, pray for a worker-cog job for the rest of your days to keep the insurance flowing!
This may be a gross simplification of a complex issue - but it seems to me like the futured turned into a game of Survivor when we started treating everyone else like animals out to get us. The poor are lazy and out to game the system. The immigrants are out to steal our jobs. The unemployed are lazy and slovenly and want a free ride... etc etc.
The American public, IMO, needn't look much further than a mirror to see the cause of their woes.
Allowed? I suppose you mean we didn't tax them at 90% to "redistribute" it.
"the loudest complaints about "socialists" and "redistribution" seem to come from people who need it the most, but don't recognize it."
Or the people that have nothing and would rather have the government give it to them than try and earn it themselves. We do need some social nets, but if those social nets are too large, we create a system of people that feel entitled propped up by the people that are actually working. When that system starts to collapse, there are riots in the streets because there are too many people relying on it.
"The American public, IMO, needn't look much further than a mirror to see the cause of their woes."
There are many countries in Europe that are struggling just as hard (if not harder) than the US. They had all of these social nets that you speak of. What happened?
I think you're missing a middle ground & the analogy with Google is pretty weak at best...
As far as school & healthcare go I think a lot of people just want access to "decent" healthcare & education, it doesn't have be cutting edge. No one wants mediocre, true, but there are many levels in between mediocre & elite. Often though many people don't have a choice where their kid goes to school or the resources to really know how good their doctor is.
While people may want the best or people may want to be the best, often people are realistic in what's achievable. Most of our society is kept together by people doing a "decent" job, no reason they shouldn't be rewarded with a "decent" lifestyle.
Do you want 1000 random links from the internet or 10 ordered blue links on Google?
Do you want to send your child to a "mediocre" school or have them operated on by a "mediocre" surgeon, or do you want them to go to the best schools and have the best medical care?
If you are an investor, do you want to invest in mediocre companies? If you are searching for work, do you want to work at a middle of the road place? And if you are an employer/entrepreneur, do you want anything other than the best employees?
Everyone is an elitist when they are doing the selecting. Some people don't like it when they are on the other side of the selective filter. But let's not kid ourselves, elitism is not an "undercurrent" and it's not objectionable by any means. It's the whole ball of wax in any functioning society.
Elitism based on merit is perhaps defensible, elitism based on inherited wealth and status is troubling for although it is entirely natural for the individual passing on benefits to their offspring I seriously doubt that it is the best thing for the long-term health of any society.
When calls someone/something out for being an elitist/elitism they are actually calling out a false sense of superiority. So no, it's not a compliment or a good thing. It puts you in the same group as Nazi's/racists/xenophobes.
From the dictionary: Elitism is "the advocacy or existence of an elite as a dominating element in a system or society."
A society that favors the elite individual above all else is by nature hierarchical, exclusionary, and anti-democratic. Elitist societies by definition disempower the majority for the enrichment of a few. And as per the definition of "society" — "the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community" — elitism is an absolute failure.
Your attitude epitomizes this online community, and that's not a good thing. Frankly, it's pretty repugnant.
Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, which was used to inoculate millions. Just about every medical procedure used in practice and documented in textbooks was developed by the best doctors, systematized, and then scaled out.
> or to send their children to the very best schools.
Take a look at ai-class.org, ml-class.org, db-class.org. Textbooks were version 1.0 of this concept, and also tend to be written by the best educators.
The point: different people in different areas have different talents. The key is to come up with models that allow the efforts of the talented in each area to scale out so that more can access them, and so that the less talented can benefit from the solutions even if they couldn't think them up in the first place. This is a process of
But the iteration won't even get started if one rejects quality/elitism from the beginning.
 How many of the tens of millions of people operating browsers, iPhones, refrigerators, or automobiles can understand them, let alone improve them, let alone invent them? Civilization is based on finding the best, allowing them to amass resources, and rewarding them for distributing their discoveries to as many as possible. Denying that a technical elite exists is counterproductive.
You pretty much sunk your argument with the very first example. Salk gave the polio vaccine away for free so that kids wouldn't have to die anymore from it.
Elitism states that only the best should have it. Altruism states that everyone deserves to have it.
If the 80% has no money, then the 80% cannot reward the elites.
Then scrod came in with the dictionary definition of "elitism". And my point is that people will always favor their family, their friends, people who have been through similarly trying circumstances. The formation of factions of people who cooperate is inevitable, and some will be successful. Furthermore the beautiful, the intelligent, the charismatic, the ruthless will always have an advantage over the masses. Does anyone really want to live in a society that's NOT run by people who are in some way "the best"? I understand that some people are against hereditary wealth and privilege, but in a meritocratic society it's just a different set of people who are the elite. Again I ask, where is the society which is not dominated by an elite?
At this point it's impossible to tell if the post was edited, but when I read it last night, I don't recall seeing the phrase "above all else". It's not implied by his dictionary definition, so that part of his statement is too strong - "dominating element" vs "above all else". It's clear that scrod has contempt for any society with an elite (which I again emphasize is every advanced society on earth right now).
And then finally the moralizing came in: "Your attitude is pretty repugnant", in an attack on a strawman!
It's my understanding of history that it wasn't until very recently that some societies started to mitigate some of the effects of being in "less than perfect health".
That doesn't strike me as "very recently" - even the UK "cradle to the grave" NHS is over 60 years old:
The history of the world is dominated by oligarchies because these ideas and systems didn't exist. We now have working examples of a better way - and in fact the USA's closest peers (in terms of economic output, political stability, etc) are practically all progressive socialist nations. And yet all I can see in this country is the poor cheering madly while the oligarchs trample all over their faces.
I don't know, but the past turned into a game of Survivor roughly four billion years ago. If it hadn't, we never would have developed cell membranes, let alone multicellularity.
I'm not just being glib. The struggle to survive and to thrive, against members of other species or against members of your own, is a constant feature of all life across the Earth and probably throughout the universe. I don't know why people seem to think they should be immune from it.
So when social leaders sell us in childhood on the idea that the future will be a disease free high-tech utopia, they really mean it will be that for an elite 20% and the rest of us can go die.
Social Darwinism is delightful.
Your error, and it is a common one, is to assume that no new chairs are created.
The trouble right now is because we have gone from trying to create new and fundamentally better things to making existing things cheaper (this is a good and necessary thing too, or else we would only have cars for the rich but it assumes that new technologies exist that can be made cheaper).
We have too many bosses and not enough leaders.
The game technically has more chairs than people.
The problem is that an elite 1% are occupying 50% of the chairs.
That's the natural order. Scarcity and all that yap. We're fighting to do away with it. As it turns out, its freakin' hard.
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.""
[Edit: Heinlein died in '88 so he can't have been talking about the Soviet Union and its empire, which anyway I don't think falls into that category].
When all the gold from America arrive to Spain in the next century there were no one to use it wisely, so the Spanish Empire turn into an economic disaster.
It does take up all your time either searching for work, applying for work, or just worrying about work and the future. I know I can do good work, and I'm adaptable and humble, but the jobs just aren't out there for this 43-year-old....
especially when i was reading about the PH.D from Purdue working as a janitor.
> "The most difficult part of the job search is waiting for permission to give up"
What exactly does it mean for someone to "give up" on a job search? Unless you have a significant other, won't you eventually starve and/or be kicked out of your residence? Or does "giving up" mean collecting unemployment insurance/welfare/disability insurance ad infinitum?
Genuinely curious here, do not mean this to be a loaded question.
Being jobless and desperate puts you into a deep hole emotionally. Sometimes you just need a break to get your head together again. Because you think that endless searching for jobs is your duty as an unemployed person, it often feels like you need "permission" from society to stop.
Just think how often people ask you what you do for a living. It happens all the time at parties and when meeting strangers. In our society, it is looked down upon to be unemployed. This circumstance is only a positive quality in the very wealthy (think how good "retiring early" sounds).
It may have been a problem because your ex-employer disputed it.
The part about desperation is not exactly right. I think those who are employed, unhappy and scared of unemployment are in a worse position. Unemployed are actually free, they have very little to lose. They have gotten out of zoo cages and roam the world, which while scary is much more interesting than a job.
If you wanna have an absolute security that you'll have food and a roof, go to jail or something.
If not, what do you do?
I am however working on my own apps and learning and trying to build a portfolio that way.
I am over the bruises to my ego; I just ignore my mother-in-law completely now. The worst thing though is the impact on my kids. We were making $120K plus two years ago. Now, about $35K. Lost the house. Thankfully still in the same school. That said, the kids went from being respectably comfortable in their cohort to being comfortable if tattered (used clothes, battered rental, same old car, no summer trips, etc.). Thank God they are still young (just started third grade) but we're not having any sleepovers here no matter how much they ask. I am afraid for the social impact on them.
I have a very hard time sympathizing with this person. They ooze entitlement and crave validation in every sentence.
The folks who are shocked and disappointed that the universe has failed to reward them for all their hard work at a PhD in Womens' Studies, on the other hand, I fail to sympathise with.
It sounds to me like this person grew up poor and knows what it means. This stupid idea that poor = lazy/bad is so entrenched in the US society (and was when I was growing up too) that it can ruin your social life from very early on. If I were in his shape I would do anything I had to to make sure my children's peers thought of them as at least middle class so they would have better social connections later in life.
Failing that, I would just let my kids know that when they get college age we're moving somewhere so they can start a new life.
If you aren't mentally or physically unable to do something (which is the case in a small percentage of the population), you shouldn't be poor. There are many opportunities in the US. I've been poor, had many poor friends, and now I'm doing much better.
Poor, many times, can be changed, but people aren't willing to change their lifestyles.
Many people have free time after work (if you aren't working, you have even more free time). I chose to learn a skill during that time. Many of my friends, who still aren't going anywhere in life, chose to drink, have fun, and party with their friends. I sacrificed that time (for awhile at least) for my career.
Many people also don't understand delayed gratification. They need to have everything now and as a result, suffer financially.
"least middle class so they would have better social connections later in life"
When you have more money, it becomes difficult to stay friends with people that are consistently poor. Many times because your problems, outlook on life, and hobbies change.
Maybe you've know (of known of) people you thought were scumbags. Maybe they even were, but it's the height of ignorance to assume that all poor people are the same based on that. I can tell you there really are people for whom everything they try just seems to go wrong. And the US is a lot more brutal to failure than most first world countries.
I remember a friend's mother giving me a box of his old clothes once. When I was wearing a shirt of his the next day and told him about it, he got very pissed off.
I was usually the only student in my classes who got free lunches. I was too young to be embarrassed, but I think I was treated differently because of it.
So I think being the poor kid can have a stigma, but I still had sleepovers.
(Actually used clothing is awesome, I wouldn't have half as many nice shirts if I hadn't bought them used. Oh and you can get suits, ties, utensils, etc as well).
I always enjoyed being jobless, I finally get the time to catch up on things I want to do, and it is a good time to reflect and make life changes.
The general perception out there is that being jobless sucks, and this article reinforces that by focussing on negative reports. It would have been much more interesting to read a more balanced article.
But you know what? I'm thankful everyday for the fact that I have the option to do that. I'm privileged and I know it. I am not as naive as to think this is normal or good advice for the jobless. Tell that to someone with kids and a mortgage. Tell them to go use this time to party, pursue what they love, study, travel etc. That shit costs money and when you don't know when your next paycheck will come, that is a foolish waste of time and horrible advice.
However, the next best thing applies. I live in Germany. They pay me to be unemployed. In terms of total wealth, including time with kids, leisure, time to learn things, follow my interests and invest time in providing for my future, unemployment pays more than employment. (Financially it pays about 80% of employment, but apart from that employment basically puts personal growth, including preparing for a better future for my family, at a standstill.)