16 May, 2012

The Schmoss of My Career

Today, I received news that I'd been dropped from the selection process of the career opportunity I'd been working toward the past three months. It was, as you might well imagine, devastating news.

The Oxford job was a long shot anyway, but I certainly hadn't been treating it like one. I put a lot of effort and personal attention into the various steps of the selection process. More effort, in fact, than I'd ever exerted for any previous position. Yet it was not enough. I can't blame them, really, as I do not hold a graduate degree in philosophy. I guess I should just be proud for having gotten as far as I did with my minimal level of qualifications. .:sigh:.

At this point, I imagine you might be wondering why I'm saying this so openly on my blog. After all, it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that a person would want to talk about in a public space. Yet this is flatly unjust.

It is not just our successes that should be lauded, but our failures, too. Only by showcasing our defeats can we ever fully help to broaden society's acceptance and understanding of the fact that failures do, in fact, happen.

Nevertheless, I still feel a bit defeated. Only three short months ago, I seemed so enthusiastic:

And now, I'm left feeling a bit dejected. It's not that I don't enjoy freelancing, but this had been the only salaried position I'd even consider seeking, due to its combination of ethics, philosophy, and actionable social good. Now, it's back to writing content and creating salable code. My dreams will have to wait for the next opportunity to arise.

(The title, by the way, refers to Shelly Kagan's definition of "schmoss" in his excellently articulated philosophy of death, &, yes, this does mean my entry is quite optimistically titled.)


  1. I applaud your reasoning. .failure is normally hidden and it's considered by many to be a sign of weakness. .
    But in reality, we can only control failure and success is achieved only by the sum of its occurrences.. . The degree of success achieved is also controlled by the degree of your failures. . the more you risk. .the sweeter the reward . .the less is your risk. .the more lame will be your success.

  2. Sorry to hear the job didn't work out. I still don't know exactly what the job was, but I do know you were super psyched about it, and it's never fun to get turned down for a job. It sounds like you have a lot going for you still, though.

    1. Thanks. I appreciate it.

      For the record, the job was in charity evaluation, and was heavy on philosophy and math, my two core skills. It involved figuring out methods by which you can compare outcomes between charities that have disparate goals. This kind of work is not only theory-heavy, but is something that we do not really have a good answer to yet.

      In the wake of not getting the job, I'm nevertheless considering doing volunteer work for them. The field has really captured my interest, and if I'm going to think on these topics anyway in my free time, I may as well do it while volunteering for them. Sucks that I won't get paid, though. /c: