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I think I got the wrong message from your post! I am left with the impression that the FBI might be an effective path to becoming a successful philosopher. You have done well, and it was not lost time at all. I enjoyed your story, very much. I also came to philosophy via an unconventional path ... I left a career in another field because job insecurity ... to become a philosopher!

Current graduate student

Those following the "traditional" route have a lot to learn from this post and story. It can be a difficult path for even some of those pursuing the "NYU-Princeton" route (or something similar) to come to appreciate and embody virtues such as stubborn optimism and intellectual humility.

Robin Hood

I'd sooner rob a bank than work at one!

Greg Stoutenburg

This is a thoughtful piece, and kudos for the Point Break reference.

Helen De Cruz

Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading and it made me think about your two main points, namely that we should stop worrying about sounding smart. It makes philosophers insufferable and it also genuinely gets in the way of us doing good work (as I discuss in this post https://helendecruz.substack.com/p/shall-the-epistemically-meek-inherit)
But next to that, there's also the important recognition that we each have a path in life that helps us to see things that others don't, or rather, our skills/habits/experiences sort of make things stand out in our environment the way pointers in a museum guide the visitor (as Maurice Merleau-Ponty put it). Your past experience w FBI was very useful in that respect, and rather than thinking non-traditional paths are a disadvantage, seeing them in this way can further strengthen one.

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