Toughest Adversity Follow-up

When I wrote "The Toughest Adversity I've Ever Faced" I expected it would be read by a handful of people, mostly friends and acquaintances. I deliberately excluded my emotional and moral conflicts because I'd already failed at keeping the post concise. As a result, readers were left to fill in the blanks.

The post was read by far more people than I imagined, and I was in awe of the various perspectives. First, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to express their opinions, advice, and support; especially those who offered it kindly. When some of the most intimate and grief-provoking moments of one's life are on display for critique, that person feels unbelievably vulnerable. During that ordeal, the incredible kindness of some amazing people really meant a lot.

While learning of and admitting to previously unseen faults was a bitter pill to swallow, I'm very fortunate to have been given such a large dose of thoughtful feedback in such a short period of time. I do believe my optimism was often partly mistaken for arrogance. However, I did learn that the level of my arrogance is probably (and unfortunately) higher than I'd previously thought as well. I'm proud of the solutions I've figured out to surpass powerful constraints and challenging problems so far, but I'm also ashamed of my moral shortcomings and repeated mistakes along the way.

My ignorance lead me to make many poor decisions. That doesn't justify my actions; I was wrong. However, it does make me wonder what mistakes lie ahead because of my perpetual lack of knowledge and experience. It also fills me with intense gratitude for those who offer high quality and unconditional advice. The challenge for the naive explorer is identifying the great advice within the steady flow of horseshit.

I have no empirical evidence to cite, but I presume a kid from a lower socioeconomic environment doesn't get the same level of guidance as a kid of the same age from a wealthy suburb. Everyone has a different level of understanding of that which 'should be obvious'. So some will make a lot more naive mistakes along the way. Be patient with someone who overcame a hurdle you consider trivial, not shocked or irritated that it was a hurdle at all.

I received a lot of resistance toward my attitude of exploring alternative paths in search of less restrictive or faster ascension. Many assumed (incorrectly) that I intend to skip the 'hard work' part. Growing up on a farm fostered my great respect for hard work. A meeting on strategy won't get the animals fed when it's windy and snowing on a cold winter day. It won't get a makeshift fence repair in place and the loose cows rounded up before catching the school bus in the morning. It won't get the crops harvested from the seemingly endless fields. I rarely enjoy doing hard work, but I know that on the way to success one shouldn't avoid it.

Hard work toward the wrong objective is where I disagree with so many. It infuriates me that so many struggling job seekers are taught that they should work hard on improving their resume/cv with formatting and buzzwords, that they should work hard to complete tasks and gain credentials (regardless of their true interests) that employers look for, that they should work hard on memorizing the best canned responses to interview questions. In my case specifically, I was told by so many that I should have accepted the QA job and worked hard to move up through as many jobs unrelated to my interests as necessary until I could get the position I wanted because 'that's just how everyone else does it.'

It's wrong that so many struggling job seekers aren't motivated to work hard on improving themselves in ways that increase the external value they can provide because they may never see the payoff for that improvement. Too many are taught to focus on improving themselves in ways that maximize their personal ROI. It's wrong that there are various wonderful ways struggling job seekers can satisfy their thirst for more knowledge, but those which are accompanied by an accredited credential hold disproportionately more value for satisfying the same objective. I'm not arguing that the beaten path isn't adequate. It may work just fine for most people. I'm arguing that a better way exists that hasn't been discovered and/or accepted yet. There are many noble causes that I probably wouldn't be courageous enough to stand up for, but I'm giving this one a shot. Everyone deserves a fair chance, and I aim to help them get it.

I don't mean to imply I wasn't given a fair chance because most of the time I was. I've enjoyed far more privilege throughout my life than many others in the world. A lot of people worked very hard and overcame fierce resistance so that I could enjoy many of the things I take for granted today. Hopefully, one day, people will take for granted that the probability of getting your dream job isn't limited by your social and geographical birthplace, your desired educational path, and your ethnicity/gender/appearance/sexual preference/religious beliefs/etc.

Note: I am very grateful for everyone who has offered their advice and support, but I'm no longer seeking employment. If you have contacted me and haven't received a response yet, please be patient. I'll respond as soon as I can. Thank you for your time.