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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Value of Quitting

What separates a really talented person from a failure? It's knowing when to give up! Someone who keeps following a losing strategy wastes a lot of time and energy. Someone who says "This is pointless! Do something else!" avoids wasting time.

The key skill is recognizing what's worth persevering at, and what's worth abandoning.

For example, should you say "This job is pointless! Go work somewhere else!" or "This is a great career opportunity!"? There's nothing immoral about leaving a dead-end situation.

For example, when I was in graduate school studying for a PhD in Mathematics, I decided "This is pointless!" When I realized that people as smart or smarter than me weren't finding decent jobs, I realized it was time to try something else. It would have been worth it if grad school was enlightening, but it wasn't. I could have learned just as much with a library card or from buying a few Math textbooks.

If I had stayed in the academic career track, I probably would never have discovered the flaws in the economic and political system. I probably would have never started blogging.

My current job as a software engineer is a dead end. Pursuing software engineering as a career seems like a dead end. It's time to try something else! My plan is to continue working as a slave software engineer, while pursuing agorism on the side until it's more profitable than working as a slave. I'm also considering experimenting with standup comedy, as a means to promote agorism.

As another example, my blog is worth pursuing. My blog is not a source of income (yet). The quality of my writing and thinking is improving, which is valuable by itself. According to Google Analytics, there are noticeable increases in my readership. I see other people intelligently describing and defending agorism, which may be a direct or indirect consequence of my writing. The quality of other articles on agorism and free markets has increased substantially in a year.

This is an important aspect of pro-State brainwashing. People are encouraged/brainwashed to keep trying, even in hopeless situations. You should always be asking "Is this a waste of time? Should I be trying something else?" By pursuing multiple interests, you may drop those that are the least productive and stick with those that are the most productive.

Of course, the ultimate realization is "The current economic and political system is a complete waste. It's time to try something else."


fritz said...

Its not bad to quit.It matters not with just a job. the real matter is fallowing your dreams. A dream can never be realized if you quit. There is no substitute for action, and hope will only get you so far. So of course you should know when to fold them, and when to hold them. Its the poker game of life. but never give up on your dream.


eagledove9 said...

I have wondered about the whole industry of computer programming and what will happen to it during this economic depression. I think that a lot of the businesses that hire programmers are going to be going bankrupt and laying people off. But I don't know what jobs they should take instead.

I thought I had trouble finding a job because I dropped out of college and never got a degree. But now, people who DID finish school and got degrees are still having problems finding and keeping jobs. It's not just you.

I've wondered about careers in the jobs that vo-tech schools offer, in skilled trades, like auto mechanics. Sometimes those use skills that are similar enough to computer programming that people who are good at programming are able to do those things too.

Also, I'm sorry to hear that you had to go to outpatient therapy to placate your parents. I hope you are doing okay.

Mike Gogulski said...

If you're a crackshot coder like you've said you are, FSK, then all you need is a bit of inspiration to create a marketable product or a pay-for-deliverables rather than pay-for-chair-warming self-employed career.

That said, I'd love to see your stand-up routine :)

Anonymous said...

fsk-I empathize with you. I. too, have found some value in Pragmatism and it is a pillar in Agorism, but I am looking for the other pillars. I thought I could do meaningful work as a salesman for Underwood Typewriters, but when that didn't pan out, I became a sales rep for Commodore 64. That, too, became obsolete, and I turned my skills to rebuilding auto carburetors and part-time snail darter fishing. I lost my clientele there and embarked on a new career of financial advisor and mortgage broker. That looked OK until now. I am still Pragmatic, so I am investing all my assets in becoming the oldest astronaut,and have begun physical training and aerospace engineering with the ultimate goal of taking the first voyage to Mars, where there is no competition in any of the fields of my expertise. I hope the voyage is scheduled soon, as I am in my mid sixties, and Social Security looks shaky.

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