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« Conference on Security, Ethics, and Justice | Main | Tips and Tricks, Part Deux: Research »

06/03/2012

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Charlie

Thanks a lot for sharing this post. I haven't been considering leaving philosophy. But, coming from a non-Leiterific dept and having troubles on the job market (as well as breaking into major journals), it's comforting to read that others have overcome similar difficulties and that the difficulties are able to be overcome. It's a salve for worries oft brought to fever-pitch.

Mark Alfano

I don't mean to be a wet blanket here, but I would like to suggest a friendly amendment to Marcus's post: if the only thing that will possibly make you happy is philosophy, then his advice seems pretty much spot on. However, if there's something else that would make you just about as happy as doing philosophy for the rest of your life, it makes sense to seriously consider that. Of course, if that other thing is being a rock star or head of state, or something that's equally as difficult to break into, you're in a tough spot. But if the other thing is not as insanely difficult to start a career in, and it would make you nearly as happy as doing philosophy, the choice seems to me to be a no-brainer.

What I said about this question on the smoker blog was that, if you're like me, you'll do better on the philosophy job market if you're very confident in and excited about your plan B. Most people experience performance anxiety. If the cost of a failed interview is joblessness, that ratchets up the anxiety. If the cost is that you end up going into some other line of work that you also enjoy (which was the case for me this year), the anxiety seems to vanish.

Marcus Arvan

Charlie: I'm glad to hear it! Keep fighting!

Mark: your points are well taken. I agree that *if* there's something else that would make one just as happy as philosophy, by all means, consider it. I just doubt that many readers satisfy the antecedent. I don't get the impression most of the people considering Plan B's *want* to pursue those alternative plans, or that they think they would be anywhere near as happy in those Plans as in a successful philosophy career. On the contrary, most of the people who consider alternative plans do so mostly out of fear of failure in philosophy, i.e. they want to succeed in philosophy really badly but thinking they should give up (here I am going on personal experience and the discussion over at the Smoker).

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