Saturday, July 23, 2016

Most Excellent Career Advice from Friends

There was a time, years ago, when one's friends and professional colleagues were an important part of one's career path. There are a variety of trendy-and-sometimes-stupid terms to describe this phenomenon, but back then the world was not seen as a zero-sum game where if you win I lose and vice versa.

In my years of wandering through the wilderness, I have been given some good advice and some very bad advice. Sadly, I have learned the hard lesson more than once that no one can figure out what I should do but myself and that the process of trying to achieve whatever this new goal / plan / whatever is likely to annoy people, friends and colleagues, and be achieved over their dead body or at least without their knowledge and consent.

Like everyone else, I have successful friends and I have very smart friends. Some of the smart friends are successful, and some less so, but nevertheless I know a lot of talented people. These people are pretty much all very busy with their own problems, families, issues and so forth. They are not in any way obligated or should be obligated to help me or advise me or anything else. When they do, it is a gift, they are certainly not getting paid for it. They are just trying to help.

Obviously I am a victim of first-world underemployment and globalization and like so many others I am at a loss for what to do to make a living. Lets be honest here, I have also made some mistakes in the past. For example, I failed to get a trust fund. What was I thinking? Furthermore, it was I who chose to go into computer animation.  Me bad. And so I have reached out to friends to see if they have any ideas about how to best make use of the rest of my life, if you call this living.

For a moment we are going to ignore such fabulous advice as "do good work and dont worry about money". Although this is no doubt a good sentiment, I think it needs a little more elaboration before it can be implemented.

But of those ideas that have been suggested that are specific enough to consider, these are my three favorite: 

1. A NY filmmaker and pioneer of computer animation also had a line of original pornography in the BDSM genre.  He suggested that I might be able to help him market this creative work to various distributors. I have no trouble if consenting adults want to enjoy themselves by tying each other up and whacking each other but I dont really know too much about this subgenre of human behavior and would not be able to contribute much in the way of aesthetics or guidance, so I declined.

2. A good friend who has used computers and done computer animation for the last 30 years knows zero about computers and regularly would self destruct and lose all her work.  I would spend a lot of time helping her and trying to recover her data because I am a "nice guy".  She noticed how helpful I was at this and suggested that I make a career of selling my services as a PC repairman door to door. What a great idea.

3. A very successful friend of mine who has the burden of managing a giant research facility in the field of entertainment related technologies, suggests that trying to get a job in my field was too ambitious.  He recommends that I sell my programming services on the Internet through an anonymous jobbing service. Some sort of lowest-common-denominator programming exchange. He figures I might be able to make $6.00 an hour and that it is "easy money". 

I want to thank all my friends for thinking of me.

They really do mean well.

But what is really, really scary is that these are my friends.

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