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I find it interesting that some people are so positive about this. I am very grateful for my job. It is probably a top 5 of career choices, definitely a top 10. But I would not (at this point) say anything like there is no other thing I could imagine myself doing. Well...especially if you consider being a professor in other disciplines. The main reason I feel this way is professional philosophy is not what I thought it would be. I loved it in undergrad because I was enamored by intellectual honesty, a genuine search for truth and meaning, the good life, etc. That hasn't been my experience of professional philosophy. It is more like a super competitive sports game of one uping each other. And I like sports and competition, so I'm okay with that sometimes. But that doesn't come close to what I thought it would be in my innocent days.


On imagining other things to do, I think the problem is simple. Most PhD's and early career philosophers probably can hardly remember a time they weren't doing philosophy, whether formally or informally. Many of us have no other skills, having spent a decade plus honing our philosophical abilities. So, many, even those less than perfectly satisfied, cannot imagine anything else. Moreover, this pure dedication and obsession with philosophy is reinforced by everyone. If you're a genius, you should be constantly obsessed with philosophy. So, we all compete to be the most obsessed. Maybe these attitudes made sense in the past, but they don't today. Anyone doing a PhD in philosophy needs to have a plan B or they need to GTFO.


Yeah I think there are many ways to construe the hypothetical. It is hard to imagine doing something else now - given my age, how much I have put in, etc. But I was imagining things as starting all over. And if I was 21 and could take a different path at that point, then there are a number of other things I might do. None of these are possibilities I would say are definitely better than philosophy, but rather things I think are plausibly just as good.

And yes, everyone should have a plan B from the second they start grad school.

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