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therufs comments on Boring Advice Repository - Less Wrong

56 Post author: Qiaochu_Yuan 07 March 2013 04:33AM

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Comment author: therufs 08 March 2013 05:18:58PM 41 points [-]

If you are looking for employment, tell everyone you know. I have gotten 100% of my jobs from friends saying "hey, did you hear about this one".

Comment author: taryneast 05 September 2014 05:28:50AM *  4 points [-]

This includes posting "I'm looking for a job" publically on your facebook page, on linkedin and any other social-networking you may have. Use the magic of the internets to reach out to as many friends-of-friends that you can.

note: don't do this (or only post to friends) if your current employer does not know you are looking elsewhere...

Comment author: Benquo 01 May 2014 07:46:07PM *  1 point [-]

Related: When looking for a job that is different from whatever you're doing now, go on informational interviews. Come up with a list of specific things you are curious about, related to the field - intensity of work, skills used, related jobs, terminology that's unclear to you, advancement opportunities - and ask those questions during the interview.

The point is not to get a job from the person you're talking to, but to search many nodes of your social network. If you decide you do want to work in their field, you should ask, "Whom do you know, who's hiring?" And always, always ask, "whom else do you know that I should talk to?"

Comment author: therufs 01 May 2014 09:49:40PM 1 point [-]

It took me a long time to believe people actually liked to talk about their jobs/companies and were quite happy to refer me to other contacts, but it seems to be true.

Comment author: simplicio 11 March 2013 10:23:06PM 1 point [-]

Yes, this. Even with a good resume you might cold e-mail hundreds of companies and never get a bite. Knowing somebody almost always gets you to interview stage.

Comment author: therufs 17 March 2014 09:00:00PM *  0 points [-]

Extremely belated reply, but for what it may be worth, I didn't actually have contacts at some of the jobs, just friends keeping tabs on some outlets I didn't (for example, neighborhood listserves I wasn't subscribed to, printed postings at businesses I didn't frequent.)

Comment author: [deleted] 25 February 2015 11:16:20AM 0 points [-]

Interesting, I got only one that way, and that was a former coworker, not a friend. How are friends are supposed to do if I am good at working at an entirely different industry than they do which they don't understand? And how could they know of open jobs in mine?

Well, I figure this only applies for specialists.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 February 2015 12:54:41PM 0 points [-]

Well, I figure this only applies for specialists.

I think it more likely that it reflects different cultural backgrounds between you and therufs, both the local microculture around yourselves and the larger cultures of where you live. My picture of the archetypal LessWronger is a twenty-something in a place like Silicon Valley, working in computing, living with, working with, and mixing with the same sort of people both online and in meatspace, with no more than the fuzziest of lines separating "work" from "leisure" and "coworkers" from "friends": it's all LessWrong memespace. People from the former and current Russian-controlled states (and you seem to be describing that from personal experience) have a rather different milieu.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 February 2015 01:15:32PM 0 points [-]

My mental image of LW is New York. Not sure why. Perhaps because a lot of people have Jewish names. Yes, the aspect of AI topics sound more Valley. But LW is a bit too altruistic for what I thought of the Valley, I would imagine the Valley as kinda egotistical Libertarians, even Objectivists, and I would associate effective altruism, charitable giving, these kinds of ethics stuff with NY. I always thought NY is "nicer", more in the bleeding-heart kind of stuff, more typically liberal, more social conscious, while the Valley is more "I deserve privilege because I am smart" kind of stuff. And LW gives me these good-guy vibes definitely, not the me-first vibes.

I find it interesting how work and leisure is not separated. Importing leisure into work sounds like discussing work related things at parties, apparently it suggests being really enthusiastic for that work, it is not something done just for the money. Importing leisure to work, hm, it sounds like having a really trusting employer :)

BTW my life experience is mainly Europe, but all over it - post-Soviet, UK, "can't hear you over our No. 1 quality of living" type of stuff in Vienna in Austria, etc. etc. very varied. This kind of thing - doctors befriending engineers, having no idea what each other do - happened a lot of times.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 February 2015 06:05:14PM 0 points [-]

I find it interesting how work and leisure is not separated. Importing leisure into work sounds like discussing work related things at parties, apparently it suggests being really enthusiastic for that work, it is not something done just for the money.

There's no good reason to pick work for which one isn't at least partly enthusiastic for skilled and smart people in Western society.

Even when nobody who was at our last LW meetup in Berlin works at the same company 5/7 people did talk about work in a way that influences their work in a meaningful way.

Importing leisure to work, hm, it sounds like having a really trusting employer :)

Building friendships with your coworkers is good for the employer.

BTW my life experience is mainly Europe, but all over it - post-Soviet, UK, "can't hear you over our No. 1 quality of living" type of stuff in Vienna in Austria, etc. etc. very varied. This kind of thing - doctors befriending engineers, having no idea what each other do - happened a lot of times.

Just because some of your friends do have other professions, doesn't mean all of them have.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 March 2015 08:25:08AM *  0 points [-]

There's no good reason to pick work for which one isn't at least partly enthusiastic for skilled and smart people in Western society.

I think there. Perhaps with multiple-generation middle-class Westerners who look forward to inherit wealth this is not the case. But first-generation ones, or multiple-generation ones who come from a poor or broken family it is the case. People may talk about the welfare state but in reality it only keeps you out of the direst poverty, but it does not even cover living in an average sized rented apartment. That is around €800 a month in Austria for example with utilities, and that is roughly how much the welfare is and then you have not eaten anything or bought a shoe. So if you don't look forward to any help from parents nor inheritance, you have a pressing need to find any work to pay bills and secure a basic comfortable exsitence. That is on the expense side.

And on the income side, it is basically so that if you go look at job ads on e.g. Monster, they tend to cluster in a certain kind of industries and jobs: I see lots of logistics and accounting but very few about historians or drawing comics books. Even in those industries, only a subset offers a straight line in the sense of get a degree, find a relevant job kind, often e.g. they are looking for salespeople where no degree assures you a job, it is mostly life experience you gather anyhow.

Thus, for most of the decent, not burger flipping jobs, you don't have this straight line. The logistics or accountant expert can just get a degree and apply for job ads, but the salesperson cannot and the historian cannot and the comics drawer cannot. They need to rely on their social skills, networking, which only works for extroverts or people who generally like people and so on. The whole thing is not sure, not secure, not "promised", and maybe it works out in the long run, but does not necessarily make you meet the next bill. So basically people who can rely on parental support can pursue these fun careers because they can afford to spend years on building their network and diggin themselves into their niche industry.

This is why introverts / misanthropes, people who hate the idea of networking with other people, or people who cannot afford due to the lack of parental support the time to dig slowly into a niche industry, need to focus on the surer if boring and less satisfying paths to make a living.

(Note: this is not that being introvert equals being misanthrope. Of course it doesn't. Rather it is my own experience, I wondered for a long time if I am an introvert or just shy, and realized I plain simply do not like people. I am not shy about telling bothersome folks to fuck off, and encounters that do not require me to show interest in the other person do not drain my energies. This is why I do most of my communication outside my family online on forums like this, this way I can focus on the only thing that interests me in other people: their thoughts and knowledge.)

Building friendships with your coworkers is good for the employer.

In a high-trust environment only! Some kings in very old times made sure to recruit their bodyguards from feuding clans, in order to make sure they will not conspire to assassinate him. In low-trust environ, an employment does not want employees who are friends, to the contrary! They should be rivals, so that when one conspires to fuck the employer over, the other rats him out. Recently an IKEA worker told me warehouse guys stole two whole kitchens, a damage of around €30K. This requires cooperation. IKEA is better off with warehouse guys who dislike each other, just do what they are told individually, and rat the thieves out. They don't need to brainstorm together, don't need to cooperate, no team work, it is more like the boss says load 40 cartons of 902.12.15 into A45 and then just they do it.

Because there is more to Western civ than Silicon Valley and its creative brainwork.

Comment author: ChristianKl 06 March 2015 12:29:10AM 0 points [-]

I made a point of speaking about smart and skillful people. Of course there are unskilled people for whom it's difficult to find meaningful work.

They need to rely on their social skills, networking, which only works for extroverts or people who generally like people and so on.

Of course the salesperson needs social skills, that's what being a sales person is about. If you don't enjoy social interaction then pick another job.

The logistics or accountant expert can just get a degree and apply for job ads, but the salesperson cannot and the historian cannot and the comics drawer cannot.

Neither Dilbert nor Randal needed anybody to give him a job. Those are the comics that I actually read and both of those people make money from their work.

Of course they both have skills that they didn't develop through a degree, but I don't think that's a problem.

IKEA is better off with warehouse guys who dislike each other, just do what they are told individually

Warehouse guys don't have cool jobs, but having a motivated workforce is useful in most circumstances and relationships facilitate it.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 March 2015 09:15:14AM 0 points [-]

Somehow we are misunderstanding each other. Let's take Dilbert. It is a skill developed outside college, but without anything like a clear job and career promise. Relying on only this IMHO takes a lot of courage. Having a Plan B, like draw comics but also learn to be an accountant, is probably what they did unless they are very brave. In this case, the question is do people have passions or interests that are monetizable, for comics drawing probably does not come as a career choice, but more of a hobby as first.

Comment author: ChristianKl 06 March 2015 12:19:41PM 0 points [-]

I don't buy the premise that a "clear job and career" promise is needed for anything.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 March 2015 12:22:17PM *  0 points [-]

Needed for feeling safe. Needed for not needing courage. Needed for not feeling existential angst, insecurity or anything like tht. Needed against the nagging feeling "will anyone ever really pay for this bullshit I am doing here?"

One thing I did not mention that if your parents instilled a no pain no gain mentality into you, then you feel like if you are enjoying yourself and doing something you like, you are not gaining anything, you are using up capital, wasting time and you feel you cannot possibly get paid for it in the long run.

Comment author: Vaniver 25 February 2015 02:04:24PM 0 points [-]

I always thought NY is "nicer", more in the bleeding-heart kind of stuff, more typically liberal, more social conscious, while the Valley is more "I deserve privilege because I am smart" kind of stuff.

Hmm. As an American, my view of the two is flipped, but both are in the reference class of "elitist cities that lean heavily liberal and have a strong cultural class."