Not Everything I Think About Is Angry
I forget how the subject came up, but I may have said something flip (as is my wont) about chucking this whole IT thing and becoming something else, like a sex toy inventor, container ship crane operator, chemist, or a porno cameraman. There are lots of other jobs that I could see myself doing. However it came up, Paul allowed as how that was a very American thing to do. Turns out, that in other nations, it's not really an option. Not that there are any rules against it- it's just not something that occurs to anyone. The educational systems are tailored in a manner that once you've decided upon a vocation, the academic curriculum are tailored accordingly. This is sort of an extreme opposite to being undeclared. There are no rules that say you can't change- it's just not widely recognized as an option.
I put a fair amount of trust in Paul's judgement on this, and if it's true that would be an interesting situation. Beyond the obvious advantages of geology and geography, I think this willingness to re-invent, to challenge- to abandon the pretexts of convention, are what actually made this country great. That and being open to stealing everything that wasn't already claimed by white people. When exactly we went from a nation of (white, male and privileged) enlightened rule breakers to a bunch of milquetoast alpha-wave zombies is unclear but I think it began around WWI.
Apparently Pauley was met with some measure of skepticism about his sincereity or ability to complete his academic pursuits, stemming from the distrust of unfamiliar things. Paul mentioned that some advisor or muckety muck over there said as much in a direct and matter of fact manner (oh, how I am weary of false modesty and political sensitivity). This person said that they hadn't previously had any confidence or faith in Paul's willingness, determination, and drive to complete this study as a consequence of it being a significant personal re-invention.
So, is it contagious? My last post mentioned emigration. Could this be a point of positive or negative discrimination? How can the existence of this characteristic be determined? I've make wildly significant changes in my life in terms of vocation and location, but is this something that can be quantified if someone hasn't demonstrated it?
I think it's an interesting thing to ponder, and it makes me want to travel even more so that I can see this with a less partial eye.
* While I've got zero Jewish heritage and am an unabashed atheist, I was enjoying a nice lunch with my friend, the soon-to-be Professor Rabbi Dr. Paul (yes, all of those) and we ran kind of long. When we got back, we were harassed about the delay, to which Pauley said something to the effect of "a fellow can lose track of time when he's talking to his Rabbi". True enough. I took his use of the possessive words "his Rabbi" as a remarkably kind gesture of inclusion. He's not the sort to say such things out of mere courtesy.