cfw has had another rejection letter, and it’s really, really depressing. She’s talented as all hell, and just needs the break. Seems like a lot of people are having trouble getting a job, but that doesn’t really offer too much consolation, does it? If you’ve got a job that involves any kind of intellectual rigor, and you think a doctor of theoretical physics might be able to handle it, consider her.
It makes me think that, in one sense, we’ve been fed a whole load of shit about what it means to learn and work in the world. You grow up, and your parents encourage you to do well at school. At school, they teach you about these rarified and difficult-to-apply subjects; they teach you about places and concepts and languages you’ll probably never use. When you get out of school, employers won’t touch you unless you’ve earned qualifications in them, and when they do consider you, they reject you for missing skills no-one ever told you you’d need and no-one ever helped you learn.
What do you really need, then?
I think what you need is a form of acting; it’s the ability to convince people you’re talented, and to spin things so that people see the best in what you do. It’s all appearances. Real knowledge serves as the raw materials for your bluffing, real ability just makes the act easier.
So, look good in a suit, shake hands firmly, lock eye contact, and talk in a deep, confident voice. Keep your head still and straight. It’s amazing how effective these sorts of things are, especially keeping your head still. Absolutely weird, but very powerful.
Leave evidence that you’re achieving and that you’re a winner, baby! Lie well on applications and CVs. Produce stuff that looks great. Everyone loves a winner, right?
Be moronically positive People believe what you tell them, unless they’ve got evidence to the contrary. If you tell them stuff that’s positive, that’s going to work to your advantage, even if it’s neither balanced nor true. In the choice between truth and positive spin, choose positive spin.