Doesn’t Matter Got Paid, Doesn’t Matter Got Laid

I’ve cited one of my friends as an example a couple of times here. 3.9 student (actually 3.98) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, been doing undergrad research and tutoring since forever, hadn’t gotten anything. Recently by seemingly a stroke of luck he got an internship for the first half of the summer, which I thought was pretty nice. Another one of my friends at 3.6 also got something really good, an internship and then a co-op at NASA and is basically set to work there after he finishes his degree.

But it wasn’t luck. 3.6 apparently got those two things because he spent afternoons or lunches or whatever working to build a wooden windtunnel with a bunch of other people, and the professor whose pet project it was was a former astronaut. 3.9 was talking with his professor the other day, vice chair or chair (not relevant) of the department, about how he had applied at Chevron two years in a row and this second year he got even less of a response than the first and the professor said

“[name]. If you want a job at Chevron, I can get you a job at Chevron.”

I’m sorry, could you say that one more time?

They both have their own things to say about it, but this is a rose bullshit by any other name. They have to know you. You have to get connected to them on a personal level. You have to understand who they are. Then they’ll connect you and you’ll become a part of their network, just like how we’re friends and not just because facebook says so, there are networks more than just because linkedin says so.

“Connection”. You know what’s another word that starts with C, ends with n, and has exactly the same amount of letters in between?

Corruption.

Let’s review how you are supposed to get a job: You are the best qualified available in the given timeframe. Connections, theoretically, are only supposed to lower the information barrier. It’s like finding a wife, perhaps the problem resides only in the fact that you have not been able to meet someone good for you due to the fact that humans are spatially separated and the internet search terms aren’t powerful enough to connect you with someone compatible without much effort and time. A friend or family member introduces you to someone who they think might work out and you two strike it off? Great. And often this is necessary; if you want to get married and have good children and an enjoyable (sex) life you have to fuck before either of you are over 30. Same with jobs, you don’t have forever to get things done.

Is that what this is?

A week or so earlier I was going with my dad on morning walks and he was talking about this VP who had been fired at the factory he worked at and some of the other people who also got fired/laid off (I still haven’t figured out the difference) because they were only there because the VP was there. They had offered a job at the factory to one of their friends, and this was done through the normal publicly available openings or “requisition orders”. The guy wanted them to guarantee him a manager position after two years, they didn’t, so he didn’t apply. Some time later they opened it again, and the guy was promised what he wanted. He applied, and got the job.

That job was specifically designed for that person. As in, however the logistics worked out, no one would be able to fill that position but him, because what the goal was was not to find someone who had the listed traits and experiences, but that friend in particular. It’s not as if no one else applied for the position. They just all got an email or phone call or whatever telling them “This Position Has Been Closed”, or later, “This Position Has Been Filled”. Those notifications weren’t lying, of course. It’s not untrue that such a position or person was deemed to be no longer necessary. It just also failed to provide the pertinent information.

“But no money or gifts were exchan” How naive does one have to be? Maybe this has to happen to you and something you’re interested before you will buy it, as long as “you” are a westerner or have a western education. This isn’t just “connections”. We’re not talking about random people who happened to be a perfect match and were only able to meet up because of a random person they both knew. We’re talking about people who specifically want their friend to work where they work and specifically opened a position just for him, with the promise that regardless of what he did (outside of that which would lose a lot of public face, obviously) that he’d get manager in 2 years. And he did. To call those two things the same as in they’re both “connections” is like refusing to call out the difference between a rotten apple and a good apple or a human who’s alive and a human who’s dead. Or a human who’s male and a human who’s female, but I guess that would explain a lot wouldn’t it.

My dad told me to not worry so much about it because it’s only 20-30% of jobs. Only? As in, Only 1 out of every 5 to 1 out of every 3? If only one out of every 5 people in some city somewhere had cancer it’d be recognized as the new Black Plague. I had treated a lot of things told to me as bullshit. This will be important when you get a job, you have to show this and that and the other thing on your resume, don’t ever do the ten things on this list when you’re at the shitty promotional dinner for students and alumni, professionalism means x, communicating well means y. But that I treated as bullshit in the sense of all of those things were platitudes: they were nice and could occasionally get you something, but all in all optional, like most manners and standards of etiquettes seem to be these days anyways.

This is bullshit in the sense of all those things were lies.

Lies? It’s not like I was promised anything by anyone. Those professors didn’t guarantee that the only way to get to a decent job was to kiss their ass, and my friends never said anything of the sort either. Why does it feel like a lie? Because it is a lie. A murderer who says that killing is wrong is lying. A professor who says cheating is wrong but copied his exams and homework problems from someone else and faked his resume is lying.

Everyone who said I had to go to school to learn to do real work was lying. Don’t worry about the bad kids, the bullies, all the boys who are out playing with girls and footballs. You’ll be their boss someday, and get to tell them what to do. Just go to college, a good college, and do something in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics, get a degree, and you’re set for life. A house will appear, so will a car, and a job with career opportunities, and a wife with a happy family will all just magically plop themselves in front of you. Private Jet? CEO? President? Woman of your dreams? Maybe time travel, or colonizing space? All of this is possible… if you go to college and get a degree! But only if you do it properly. Show up to class on time, and that means 15 minutes early, study ahead, ask questions in class and go to every office hour, go to every job fair and try to talk to every representative. Do community service, preferably with Rotoract or some other club like that so you can network. Play hard, but study hard. Eat well, sleep well, focus on the goal and you will get there.

Don’t try to become a pro sports player, or a rock star. Only a very few people get to do that. If you want a steady, solid, and proven path, go to school and study hard.

3.6 didn’t get his job guarantee off of studying. 3.9 didn’t get his job guarantee off of studying either. 100% of my friends who have jobs got it through methods completely unrelated to their subject matter, and 100% of my friends who don’t have jobs, didn’t. “Then you must not have many friends” It’s more that I don’t count serving coffee at Starbucks as a job. Highschools boast about what percentage of their students they send to college, well that doesn’t tell us the distribution between how many they send to Stanford + Ivy Leagues vs the community colleges and art schools does it. Colleges and Universities (don’t know the difference here either) boast about what percentage of their commencees/graduates find a job, but that doesn’t tell us how many are actually in their field, or more importantly, because lest we forget this is why we all bought into the higher education crap to begin with, what the distribution of incomes is. “Got a degree and then found a job” sounds great. “Busted my ass off while getting little time for rest and no time for girls or socializing because I was studying for Mechanical Engineering all the time and now I’m working with Mexicans as a contractor as in I’m the guy running the nails” does not sound nearly as enticing.

Is this what the world is like?

Is this what I was going to live in all along?

I mean strictly speaking there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. There’s always going to be corruption to some extent. You’re going to want to work with your friends regardless of how you end up getting them there. Some of these things I find distasteful, but I find many things distasteful that I deal with anyways because I can’t change them nor does it matter too much if I change them because I can’t touch the principle. It’s not even that there’s no enemy to strictly fight in the physical sense, so I can just brawl with someone, knock them out, and then have all my problems related to that person be over with because they know not to fuck with me – I certainly would prefer this for many things, but abstracting and manipulating isn’t something I’m weak at. I can fight some things this way, perhaps even all things this way.

BUT I WASNT FUCKING TOLD ANY OF THIS

I WAS TOLD THE WORLD WORKED
IN EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE MANNER

“hur baddies gonna bad”

3.9 was telling me that he likes seeing things from different points of view, and I should talk to his professor about it. He’s vice/chair, he has some power. And then he turns around sometime later in the conversation saying that the vice/chair is human too, and he can’t simply change the system on his own either. Everyone has their own personal side too, and you have to empathize with them.

Being someone who actually can see things from other people’s point of view- no actually, this is my fault, and I say “fault” in the “What Is Your Greatest Weakness” sense. I see things from other people’s points of view too much. It literally took me all of my life up until when I wrote Frame Control to fully understand what it means to hold my own point of view. From 0 to high school freshman I’d be seen as arrogant everywhere, but this was literally because I did not envision other people as humans in any way. Minus the arson, it really was like TF2’s Pyro. Now imagine if Pyro’s mask was broken and he saw what he was actually doing. Everything from the most fundamental roots of his world would’ve been undone and he’d have to learn everything all over again. From high school up until Frame Control, I was so good at absorbing the other point of view I’ve never failed at becoming better than the original. I had wanted redemption, and I sought it anywhere I could.

But I am not going to seek it from this fucking professor.

Gee, you have a hard time getting your department to do what you want? You have a hard time understanding what a student is going through? That must be real fucking nice. If that’s the only thing you really have to worry about, your life must be real fucking comfortable. Because here’s the rest of us, paying in 15k a year in “tuition” alone, studying our asses off, actually no, I’m not even going to say “the rest of us” because now I fail to believe other students actually work hard. I was in a group because the lab required us to be in a group and we were finishing up our final report this summer session and one of the guys asked me to help him on the other final project in another class we shared. And I found out he didn’t even know material from literally week 2 of the prerequisite class. How did he get to the last week of this class? A friend did everything for him because it was group projects too. So I’m going to speak only for myself. Here I am, paying 15k a year in tuition alone, spending four hours per problem in one of my four classes, read that again because I didn’t type incorrectly, attempting to figure out shit because what was taught in class was pure unattached theory and I have to wade through the two hundred or so equations with about half as much different symbols per chapter, even though classes are a six hour block three times a week, and literally zero companies I’ve applied to have had anything to say to me.

So if I think the system which has been sold to me by everyone from my parents up to individual professors (in varying quantities) to supposedly give me at least a greater “foot in the door” than the high school graduate into the supposedly high paying high prestige profession that is engineering, I should come to you to respectfully voice my grievances?

And then if I do that enough and do enough work for you, I can get a job at Chevron?

Hey man, the police just want to feed their family.

If I was my old “Pyro” esque self I wouldn’t be talking with this guy at all. If I was my highschool suck-everyone’s-dick self I might actually write some letters or get this vice/chair for his point of view, then go back to my corner and think about how the whole system is actually justified. As it stands, this whole thing is just a tragedy for me. Which he doesn’t disagree with, except for the fact he sees it as a neutral tragedy. In the rational, “it doesn’t really matter” sense. In the “a million deaths is just a statistic” sense. Not in the “My sister just had her head hack-sawed off” sense.

Not in the “twenty one years out of twenty one years of my life have been wasted so I’m actually completely useless” sense.

From “Corruption is always bad” to “Corruption is only 20%-30% of everyone“, to “You should try to understand their point of view”, to “Connections are good”.

“You have no one to blame but yourself” yeah that’s the problem isn’t it? It’s because it took me until this long to figure out that I had been completely duped and now the most productive thing I’m going to do for civilization is flip patties, broom linoleum floors, and, if I’m lucky, reprimand employees if they don’t remember a customer’s name after turning around from putting the cardboard sleeve onto the cup at the coffee machine. That’s the only productive thing I can do for anyone, from the other side of the planet to the people right next to me. That’s the only way the world wants for me to get food on the table. On top of the new Obamacare stuff requiring the poor to pay twice (first for taxes second for premiums), you can kiss your American Dream goodbye, and any hope of children too.

College is depopulation.

“Don’t take it personally” Fuck you and fuck off.

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11 thoughts on “Doesn’t Matter Got Paid, Doesn’t Matter Got Laid

  1. “I WASNT FUCKING TOLD ANY OF THIS”

    Welcome to the club… It’s always a shocker to find out how the world really works. But the fact if that I helped Jim and he owes me one. Or Linda and I used to date and parted as friends, so if I call and say, “so-and-so” needs a job, they get a job. But here’s the key – they need to produce, and I’m putting my reputation on the line for this kid. Is it fair? Depends on what you define as fair… Is it fair the government is going to force them to hire Jane because they need X minority-groups? No… So what is “fair”… Answer – life is, as it is. Just accept it and figure out how to make it work for you.

    That is what I have done – after wasting years on a useless degree (STEM) in a useless field – hard science (reports all said there would be lots of jobs) – whoops… You were lied to… Wanna know why? STEM degrees cost too much to hire, so we need more of them to lower their wages… Can’t do that? Well lets import several million to lower the salary. Don’t take it personally – it just IS…

    Learn how to play the game – they will try to hide it, but there are a thousand ways to make it work for you… You’re not a protected minority group? You can be… Just form a company properly, and make the “face” a protected-group and viola – free money… Use the tricks the politicians inserted in the tax code to benefit you. Had some problems with the IRS a few years back, my attorney said, “Hmmm… I do the taxes for a couple of Representatives. Let me make a call.” Magically, it went away – why? Because I was using something a LOT of Congress-critters and Senators use to hide money – they didn’t want that looked at too closely, so it disappeared. That is how things work… Learn it.

    You’re smart… That is what I learned after all of those wasted hours slaving to get that degree – it’s all about WHO you know, not WHAT you know – at least at first… Now the WHAT you know will save your hide when it could come to light… Because in the end – none of it matters… So use the way the world works, to benefit you… Don’t waste time screaming that “it’s not fair” – just learn how to use it to you benefit and move forward.

    • Sure. I’ve been here before, I have a general idea of how to optimally respond to these kinds of situations. I just seem to keep finding bigger and bigger lies as I go, and this one was big enough (or perhaps, more personal enough) relative to the last time I found a larger lie that I couldn’t not feel like shit.

      There’s an obvious lesson here, that being the who-you-know-not-what-you-know thing, and I either take it and implement it as best I can or I sit around whining or dressing up the whining in ideological terms, which totally has a great overall success rate. I’ll learn it eventually. Sometimes I can’t not get angry about it first. Not mutually exclusive.

      I could theoretically change myself in the sense that no surprise will ever provoke any emotional response, but I’m not too sure about doing that.

      Thank you for the personal examples.

    • I’ll consider it if it occurs again elsewhere. I generally don’t pick up a book unless I’ve seen it several times recommended by unrelated sources. The comparison between the most helpful positive and the most helpful critical review (100/106 vs 308/363) doesn’t particularly give me a good first impression though.

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