When you are at the end of your PhD, you get asked this question a lot. It’s actually more challenging to explain what I want to do after my thesis than it is to explain what my thesis is about. I mean, my initial response is, “man, I just need to get through the week.” The uncertainty certainly causes some anxiety, but if anything was for sure, I know I’m not going for a tenure track faculty position, nor do I wish to move out of the San Francisco bay area.
So, what options do I have?
- be employed by craigslist odd jobs, random web consulting/development, and/or as a lecturer for community college
- actually try to be a consultant for some rich corporation
- work as an indie game developer
- work for a big publisher or game studio as either a researcher or developer
- become a journalist/writer
- get an MBA, Post Doc, or some other Masters at Stanford or Berkeley
- marry rich and play saxophone
- run this non-profit organization like there’s no tomorrow!
My adviser says that my strengths are in casting the vision and producing the resources, but I have trouble connecting two together. I’ve managed to fill that middle gap, for myself, with some combination of faith and naiveté; however, it’s not enough to convince others, whether thesis committee or crowd funders.
Since this post appeals to neither thesis committee nor investors, I will do what I do best, cast vision:
This is what I want to live for:
- I believe that, perhaps, all the ills of the world are rooted by one tragic misunderstanding– that love is, not only finite, but scarce, and we all must be careful to invest it appropriately or ration whatever it is we can get. I want everyone in the world to love extravagantly, generously, and to understand that, regardless of the circumstances we’ve been given, we have access to unlimited supplies of love– that love is a choice, and nothing can take that choice from us.
- I will make an even stronger claim that symptoms of fearfully rationing love include: depression, poverty, and slavery. Love does not only bring purpose and hope, but such love would also feed the hungry and liberate girls who would’ve otherwise been objectified in the worst ways imaginable.
- The byproduct of nondiscriminatory and unlimited love is a sense of duty. With whatever influence we are given, we are responsible to steward: our education, our skills, our treasures, our time, our social networks, our technology, our voice, our story to be the hope that we fail to see. After all, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
So what am I stewarding?
- An eventual PhD in Computer Science
- Teaching experience
- Programming experience
- Game development experience
- A network of the worlds most creative, intelligent, entrepreneurial, and privileged individuals
- An unusual threshold for doing stuff that no one else feels like doing
I remember when I was doing my undergrad at University of Delaware, reading the school newspaper, it informed me that if I didn’t see anyone else wearing something, than I shouldn’t be wearing it either. The fashion police was being proactive that season. I, however, have little reverence for any sort of normal police.
It’s simple. I cannot live in a world less than the one I believe is possible; therefore, I will efficiently use all I can acquire towards something better. I do occasionally feel like I’d be happier if I didn’t care, but being that the alternative is to do nothing, I cannot debase my own rationality on the matter– It’s either all or nothing.
Trying is far less futile than not trying.