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02/19/2021

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Amanda

I guess I'm not sure what to think about this because so many people pursed philosophy, against advice not to, precisely because it was their dream. They either assumed(consciously or otherwise) that their philosophical passion would result in either, (1)beating the odds, or, (2) being happy just with the experience in itself, even without an academic career.

Yet I think there are so many suffering, hurt, and bitter philosophers out there - and surely the number will only grow because of COVID - that realized their expectations re their philosophy dream is responsible for a lot of personal grief. They realize they actually won't beat the odds, or they realize that despite previously thinking they'd be happy with "just" a PhD, the culture of the profession has eaten-away at their self-worth and they can't escape the feeling of failure for not "making-it," even while knowing how truly difficult and unfair "making it" turned out to be.

Given the above, I would best many philosophers are extremely hesitant to follow the same dream path again - especially now that they are older and might have a family, etc. Doing the dream career makes some sense in your early 20s, and of course, there are always stories of it working at any age. But takin that kind of risk, again, in your 30s? There are situations where it would make sense: you are single with no kids and have no one counting on you, and you honestly wouldn't mind living in a van for a year if it came down to it; you have an unusual and dependable source of wealth/income and are unlike others who might face financial ruin; you have the safety net of a special skill that you are very confident could result in a stable, well-enough paid job if you pursued it, etc. But I think those situations are in the minority. I am not sure if I would recommend people pursue their risky dream career post philosophy PhD, if only for their own mental health and well-being.

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