Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I’m twenty six. Shit’s not for me anymore is it? Music, movies, commercials, etc. It’s actually all for sixteen year olds, isn’t it? Why?
Because you haven’t changed the channel yet. (Hate to break it to you, but it’s time to start paying for premium channels and going to see live music at smaller venues. Welcome to adulthood.)

Do I get a PhD at a top five institution and pursue academia? Or should I sell my soul to Google/Apple/Amazon?
I promise, you are selling your soul either way. Might as well get a good price for it.

The fact that you’ve written off Samantha Bee’s new show is a travesty. She’s holding down the best post-Daily Show political satire of them all. Blowing John Oliver out of the water.
Please. John Oliver’s show dominates Samantha Bee’s show in every conceivable way. However, I will grant you, I was too quick to write off Full Frontal. Her writers do damn good work and occasionally her segments are brilliant.

My boyfriend of 4 years has had it with my escorting. Vanilla jobs and their paychecks depress me. What’s a (call) girl to do?
You can’t escort forever, and you don’t strike me as particularly young. Accept the inevitability of a second career, and start planning for it now. Go get whatever advanced degree that might be required, and continue escorting if necessary, but demonstrate to your boyfriend that you’ve got a path that will eventually lead to you doing something else. That’s a respectable compromise that has the added benefit of you facing reality.

Am I missing out because I’m too shy to get eaten out?

Have you ever dated any of your ex’s for a second time? Or do you believe that once it’s done, it’s done?

Am I bisexual, or am I just slightly attracted to women because women in their 20s put way more effort into their appearance than men?

should i buy my conservative religious mom a copy of your book or will it offend her?

Is it inherently shitty to screw your ex’s friends?
Nah. It’s inherently shitty for your ex’s friends to screw you.

How can I tell my boyfriend that I want him to wear a condom even though I’m on the pill?
Use your words.

Please tell me you haven’t started to believe your own hype.
Ew, gross.

You have improved every part of my life.
Right back ‘atcha.


67 thoughts on “On fun-sized advice

  1. grouch says:

    To the person who is academia-or-sell-your-soul:

    Computer science academia sucks. Don’t think it of selling your soul, academia will pay you a poverty-level wage for difficult work, with no possibility for advancement (tenure-track jobs don’t really exist anymore). Cool jobs in the working world exist, and in ten years, your salary will probably be a full order of magnitude more.

  2. Rainbowpony says:

    I have that degree in academia, and the truth is you’ll end up working for Google anyway.

    Reasons to go:
    1) Go if you like adventure and the research will require a lot of travel
    2) You want to change who you are. Before I went to grad school someone told me: most jobs in the world won’t face you with hard truths about yourself or the world, academia won’t afford you that luxury. When you come out you’ll be made a steel and you’ll know yourself.
    3) an ivy league pdh is a goddamn golden ticket to employment. You’ll be so employable after you’ll leave it’ll make your head spin. Plus, salary.
    4) you want an inside look at how the world works before getting stuck in a cubical.

    Don’t go if:
    1) you think academia isn’t selling out, because it is. Only people that walk a very fine ethical line – too fine for my taste – make it these days. It’s all connections, stealing ideas, shitting on those below you, and p-hacking. I’ve seen too much outright fraud. Don’t be naive.
    2) you want to work in academia long term. You’ll either end up teaching in Kansas or post docing at 35k through your thirties.
    3) your a smart timid weirdo and you can’t think of anything better to do
    4) you want to be special

    Long story short, go, but plan to leave. Finish in five years. Meet some of the smartest people you’ll ever know. Peek across the threshold of real power and wealth. Go to a conference in Rio and have a blast. Then peace out hard.

    • Anna says:

      Wait, what domain are we talking about ? I signed on to an MD-PhD program after my first year of medicine, specifically because I knew I didn’t want to work in a corporate setting. I’ll admit having an MD is a mega-boost when pursuing research in life sciences, but I’m at loss at to why it wouldn’t work out in public research in the long term. Of course, my program is funded by private foundation money, but it structurally has no impact on my professional autonomy. I’m also at loss as to why Google would want to employ me in the first place (and big pharma can go fuck themselves).

      • Rainbowpony says:

        If you have a phd from a top university and you want to leave academia (and didn’t get a humanities phd – also don’t do that) google (or any big tech company) will hire you just for your general writing/analysis/speaking/statistical skills, because your a quick learner and self taught. By the time you’re done with your training, you’ll be a super worker compared to so many others on the market. I guess it’s kinda a joke, but I do have friends that ended up at Google, Facebook and the like. I thought about it, but like a fool I work in government 😉

        I don’t know what it’s like to be a MD phd. All the ones I know aren’t straight up university based – is that what you mean by “public research”? From what I can observe their jobs have more security and less bullshit because doctoring or corporate/government responsibilities balance out the pure academic shittiness.

        Idk, anna. Maybe your smarter than me and it’ll work for you. Maybe I was too naive when I went and got trounced by reality. Maybe I’m too much of an idealist and there was a corner of my soul I just couldn’t sacrifice to be able to do the job.

        The only thing I’ll say is that it won’t turn out the way you imagine.

        • Anna says:

          Why don’t you apply fr a job at Google ? You don’t sound that happy about your current situation (which is not in academia if I understand well).

          With an MD-PhD you can get a tenured half-hospital half-university based position. By public research, I do mean institute or university based teams working on projects with money from ppl like the NIH. I’m in an extra shiny prestigious program (MD-PhD programs are relatively new here) and by the time I get to the end of my studies, I don’t imagine there’ll be over a 100/150 people with a similar degree in the country.
          I don’t expect things to turn out as I imagine, that’s just silly.
          But pursuing academia for me is about being paid to do what interests me with a degree of creativity that a corporate setting just doesn’t allow for – and for now it’s working pretty well.

          • Rainbowpony says:

            Thanks anna dear. I know you’re all of 24 or so, and yet you love to play the know it all. It’s ok. Someday you’ll hit 34 and you’ll watch all the twenty somethings filing in with a look of scorn flung in your direction, every single one of them thinking that what happened to you won’t happen to them. Exactly the way your treating me right now.

            As for google, nah. I don’t want to pay those rent prices and deal with that dating market at this point in my life. I’m a bit jealous of those people because it is a more challenging work environment, bit I’m pretty good where I am. I’m just being self-deprecating. And just pointing out that Google after grad school really is a thing.

          • Anna says:

            I didn’t mean to sound presumptuous, and I don’t think I did. I think you were setting yourself up to feel scorned whatever my answer.
            I mean, I have a shit ton of respect for public servants, and several of my friends are pursuing that option. Your situation sounds enviable, and although SF is a dream of a city I’d never actually consider living there myself – so we can agree on that much.
            I wasn’t trying to explain how I’m smarter at managing my career goals than you. My honest reaction to my life right now is “shit, this is actually working”, and I’ve totally got that imposter feeling going on.
            I also wasn’t trying to play the know it all, if you read my response again, I was simply providing information about the job market in the public sector after an MD PhD in my country.
            I’m 20. I don’t know shit about being 34. But one of the values and opinions I hold close to heart is that productive activity (weather it’s paid or not) should ideally bring the person doing it a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. That means very different things to different people. If I asked you about your career trajectory, it’s because it sounded as if you were unhappy about it. I might be wrong, you might be using self-depreciation or you might be unhappy about your career, but happy about the work you do as a volunteer, or in local politics, or something.
            Point is, you get to use my age to question my knowledge, not my character.

          • J Lynn says:

            If I may butt in, these words sounded quite presumptuous to my reading ears:
            “Why don’t you apply fr a job at Google ? You don’t sound that happy about your current situation.”
            It could be a language, idiom, or cultural context difference, because in many American social circles saying “Why don’t you [implied “just”] do X? You don’t seem happy” is a rude, condescending thing to say when a) you don’t know someone very well, and/or b) you haven’t been asked for advice. Second, saying “you don’t seem happy” can be an American passive-aggressive way to rebuke someone for being a complainer or even just insuffiently enthusiastic. Plus it presumes to guess someone’s private emotions, another etiquette no-no.

            Not saying any of that is how it should or shouldn’t be, nor that you, Anna, meant any harm. I only mean to offer context for why it could be understood that way. I probably sound like a know it all now, or, even more annoying, someone playing “the peacemaker”! Ha. Just trying to parse the language a bit, I’m not intending to scold.

            Edit to add: a more neutral phrasing would be, “Given what you say about Google, what drew you to government work?”

            Myself, I didn’t read the comments from Rainbow Pony(!) as particularly happy or unhappy. To me they were sharing some insider info that we might now hear otherwise. The tone was maybe cynical, but I sensed it was an earned cynicism. I myself would like some of those fraud stories!

            At any rate you guys’ fields are probably different enough that comparisons are apples and pineapples, even before adding in the institutional contexts of different countries.

          • WhoAmI says:

            Are American really such savages and/or prudes that they don’t know how to have a conversation without being abrasive toward each other ? And they say the old continent is bitter and cynical…..

          • J Lynn says:

            I just thought of a way to explain it more concisely. In American English idiom, the phrase “Why don’t you … ” is often used as a rhetorical question, not a literal information-seeking question.

            (Not sure if this the same in UK, Commonwealth English idioms or not, but, side topic, I have often found British tag questions like “isn’t it?” to serve a similar rhetorical function of turning a question into a statement.)

            In its rhetorical use, it’s not a question at all. It’s a statement meaning, “You ought to … ” or even “You’re dumb for not … ”

            The degree of hostility depends on the tone, ranging from condescending criticism to benefit-of-the-doubt confusion.

            To avoid seeming antagonistic in writing and to make clear that the question is info-seeking not rhetorical, some Americans will take care to phrase a “Why” question in a positive way, ie “Why DO you choose your method?” instead of “Why DON’T you choose the other method?” (Doesn’t account for the fact that on the internet, a lot of people are antagonistic on purpose.)

            Who-am-I, I understand! I think in this case we have an American and a non-American, not two Americans, talking to each other. In fairness, in my experience every language has these little nuances that can escape non-native-speakers. I have inadvertently been rude many times when speaking a second language!

            Also, I think there are other factors as well. Youth and experience often irritate each other.

          • grouch says:

            I’m going to butt in here too – Anna, you remind me of a Finnish exchange student who was in a discussion group in my mandatory ethics class. She was an academic super-achiever, apparently very smart (you’re in an MD/PhD program, who would have thought?) , but said mindbogglingly, weepingly naive things on a regular basis. She meant well, and she was apparently smart, but frequently said things like “we don’t have domestic violence in Finland”, and “the government makes sure all children are properly taken care of”.

            Some realities:

            – an MD is a “professional” degree. If you get into residency, you will be employed. The PhD trains you to be a researcher. University hospitals do lots of research, and MD/PhDs are not that common, so at the very least, you could work as a doctor with an adjunct-level appointment. This is fundamentally unlike almost every other PhD program.

            – tenure-track jobs in academia are like unicorns in north america. They are rare, and they’re probably out in the middle of nowhere, a several-hour drive to the nearest city with a population over 500,000. People who can do a PhD in a STEM field will almost certainly make less money than they would in industry (forget about Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, there are tons of companies doing awesome things that you haven’t heard about), and humanities PhDs are fucked before they start.

            So, that European optimism about research jobs that you can “just get” (I doubt it’s that simple there) doesn’t work here.

          • Charlene says:

            Anna – You need to step away from this thread. You’re not doing yourself a favour here. Perhaps consider the possibility that it’s not that the commenters and whoever else reads the thread don’t understand what you’re saying, it’s that no one agrees with you. At the very least, keep the discussion polite.

            J Lynn – I get that you mean well and I agree with you but I’d be miffed too if someone spoke on my behalf.

            Seriously people, this thread is getting ridiculous.

            Rainbowpony: Eyyyy fellow public servant! I find it funny that self deprecating humour and cynicism transcends jurisdictions.

            (This is meant to be further down the thread but my iPad won’t let me reply to comments beneath this one.)

        • WhoAmI says:

          I think part of the misunderstanding may come from Anna not being American ? I can’t remember clearly and maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think she is. The american education system is extra weird by occidental standards, so this is that (I could just say the american system, really).

          • rainbowpony says:

            Thanks for pointing this stuff out guys. I’ll be sure to think of that language-use difference in the future. And yeah, I did interpret Anna as condescending. Honestly, I may have been misinterpreting Anna in multiple conversations for some time, which added to my feelings in this exchange. Who knows how much of that is just lost in translation?

            BUT, the thing that non-academians on this blog don’t know is that Anna’s “but its working well for meeeee” has to be, at some level, willful ignorance of the issues that academia is currently facing. See
            or, quite frankly, just google “is a phd worth it?” or “acadmia broken” or “academia what’s wrong” or “adjunct crisis”. Academia isn’t “working well” for anybody right now. Hell, just looking around one would probably notice that ~ 100% of students and post docs experience mental health issues because the work environment in academia is that unhealthy. Oh well. Hubris. Academia has always been full of the types that are happy to attribute difficulties to the individual and not the system, and refuse to see themselves in the same system. This is, of course, the biggest reason academia isn’t self-correcting its course, and its a fucking tragedy. It’s a system I really believe in, even if it is desperate need of an overhaul.

            As an inside perspective as to what academia is like I offer the following story, from a conference I went to this spring: A successful prof gave a 1 hour talk on academic burnout. She talked about work-life balance, supported it, and answered questions from concerned graduate students and post docs. She talked about mental health, and taking it seriously, and making time in an academic life for friends, family and hobbies. It was a very nice talk. The next day I was in the bathroom and overhead the same prof talking to one of her friends. She explained that after working with a therapist for sometime, she was able to stop forcing herself to poop on a schedule – at 8 am everyday even on weekends- which she had found necessary to maintain her daily work schedule. She had now realized that she could have more balance in her life and provide enough time for herself to poop more naturally, whenever she needed to.

            People, this woman had so micro-managed her time that she had SHIT ON A SCHEDULE for years and needed a therapist to help her walk away from that behavior.

            That is not work-life balance. That’s taking just one tiny step away from crazy land. Thing is, when your in academia and drinking the Kool-Aid, you might just think – that is how I need to be to be successful.

            Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I should recind my endorsement of academia. As Nat said, its really can be hell on your mental health. But I don’t regret my time. I would just suggest going, but don’t drink the Kool-aid. And for most of us, there aren’t any positions or grant money to be had in the long term anyway.

            ***I’d love to divulge secrets of fraud, but I’m afraid people would find out who I am. Plus, this is the wrong forum for that. Where did that reddit idea go?

        • Anna says:

          J LYNN
          Now you’re the one being condescending. Although I haven’t used English on a day to day basis for the last 12 years, I’m a native English speaker. If I was talking to a direct hierarchical superior in an institutional setting, I would have phrased the question otherwise. If it was a discussion about academia at the pub, there would of been a soft South London tone and wide eyed appraisal to go with the question, but the wording would of been exactly the same. If you’re offended by that, you can go fuck yourself (and try to find a job in the 1950s while you’re at it).
          If I were interested in being condescending, I would have laughed at Rainbow pony and asked something like “I’m getting a degree that gives me technical skills that make me employable in an ever expanding market, while giving me a competitive advantage in academia, what the fuck did you do for 8 years? Where’s the hustle in your career? What else did you expect? What would you need to change in your career now to stop being a navel gazing jaded arrogant asshole?”
          RAINBOW PONY
          At no point did I argue that academia was a breeze, or that it would be easy to get a tenure, or that my country’s academic landscape is some kind of utopia. My initial question was why Google would employ someone with a PhD in life sciences (physics, computer sciences, engineering, sociology, history and literature I get, but biology?). The next part of the discussion was explaining how my MD will add value to my PhD and vice versa making me a rare and interesting profile in a dog eat dog world, at what I saw as prompting from you. Obviously, you weren’t as interested in my degree as I am in your career, or you might have imagined that I’m an ultra dedicated student who has been tottering on the brink of exhaustion for the last 3 years.
          The first year of medicine immediately following high school is ultra competitive (15% selection for one entry exam – it isn’t like applying to college there is no alternative if you fail this one exam). You learn very quickly what a burnout is.
          The next two years are the easy years (huge amount of coursework and internships, but relatively less pressure than the next years). I chose to use those years instead to start pursuing a graduate degree and get into a selective program. As of such, after three years of full time medicine, I have probably spent more time interning than most research Masters graduates. Of course that means having no more than two weeks vacation in two years, but you know what? I’m highly competitive, ready to work, smart, and I know I’m working towards doing what I love.
          You seem to see me as some idiot you thinks she can breeze through life and has no regard for the crumbling state of academia. Instead try to see me as a kid who came of age in the aftermath of the 2008 global crisis, convinced that my whole peer group would grow old poor and intermittently unemployed, and who has been navigating a confusing jigsaw of demanding degrees, and never ending work to get to a place of professional security and autonomy. And IT IS WORKING. Doesn’t mean it’ll keep working, but I’m covered for the next ten years, I’ll be earning the minimum wage and a half from 2017/2018 till I finish my MD. It’s a pittance of course (keep in mind, we have a good social security system), but it will provide enough stability and financial independence to pursue the longest degree(s) in higher education.
          Laisse tomber, sont susceptibles ces Amerloques. Americocentrisme a part, je pense que leur système scolaire les pousse aussi à croire depuis un jeune age que toutes leurs idées sont géniales (je le vois sur ma petite cousine américaine) et avoir une thèse ça crée un sens de supériorité qui aide pas du tout à la discussion non plus.

          • Strangely Rational says:

            Anna, I’m a little confused about why you’re bringing your medical education into this.

            It seems to me that the LW, in holding up a PhD against a career at Google, Amazon, or Apple, has an education and/or interests that apply to working at those places, and his/her PhD would be more relevant there.

            Yours may not be. *shrug* The question wasn’t about you.

          • J Lynn says:

            You wrote: “If you’re offended by that, you can go fuck yourself.”

            I guess there needs to be a corollary to Godwin’s law for the Coquette comments section, predicting how many exchanges can occur before someone tells someone else to fuck themselves.

            As it happens, I’m not offended, thus I don’t get to fuck myself? Not every disagreement or criticism means someone has taken “offense.” In fact, I wasn’t even disagreeing. I thought there was a misunderstanding, and I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

            Talking about idiom has nothing to do with any sense of American “supériorité” or “Americocentrisme.” Neither I nor anyone else claimed that American idiom is better or worse than any other. I hope you — an aspiring scientist — muster better evidence than your “petite cousine américaine” for your other theses. As you are learning in your PhD program, anecdote and prejudice is not knowledge. It’s bad form to try to win rhetorical points or allies by disparaging other countries and cultures. I’m not “offended,” but it’s unpersuasive to say the least.

            My first impression was that your comments were immature, myopic and borderline disrespectful. Then I had a second thought: This could be a misunderstanding due to idiomatic differences. Following your latest clarification, it appears I was right the first time.

          • Anna says:

            Why I’m talking about my education point blank would be a more appropriate question. I started out by giving my example as just that – an example, before people somehow framed me as an idiot that hasn’t been updated on the state of academia for 20 years.
            So I’m bringing up medical studies bc :
            1) RP is bringing up how exhausting and crazy academia can be. And I’m sure that’s the case for a regular student. I’m just pointing out exhausting and crazy is the baseline for the first and subsequent years of medicine – this equips us with the psychological tools that other students may lack to deal with a whole lot of bullshit.
            2) RP was putting out the info that having a top five institution degree isn’t enough to succeed in academia, and although I didn’t disagree and instead offered details as to how my educational experience is very different to that of a regular PhD student, they still insisted on attempting to frame my (basically, let’s be real and drop the sensitivity) unique education with their own academic achievement – essentially trying to use their personal seniority to try to make me feel like shit, because of a specifical personal bias built over months, as RP pointed out themself in a previous comment. My interest in this conversation wasn’t in my own education, but faced with personal attacks I felt obliged to bring it up.
            Hell, I’m going to go ahead and defend academia as a whole. Even though strictly speaking I’m not an academic and will never fully be one, I was raised by an academic, and through summers spent hanging around PhD students and elderly professors who would take me under my wing for a day or two before getting bored, amist climbing the trees and roofs of their institutes, I can proudly say : these are my people.
            Although public research grants are becoming rarer, I truly believe that public research is the only path to major society-changing discoveries and innovation. If we all abandon ship, we’re letting society as a whole lather in it’s own inertia.
            So yeah, this is a ship I’m not ready to abandon, and I personally chose to do an MD to balance personal security and a sense of academic creativity and adventure. I’m like “so what, who gives a shit about what I do?” until people try to pass me off as an idiot and convince a younger generation of readers that there is no conceivable manner to become a successful academic nowadays.
            J LYNN
            J’utilisais la présence reconfortante d’un autre français pour simplement râler (de façon toute à fait familière et à la française) à propos d’une culture qui est teeellement énervante et non seulement parce qu’elle si hégémonique mais ça contribue quand même. Now go and translate that, and if you still find reason to attack me and instead of exchanging opinions with me, YOU (and not a hypothical argument partner in an imaginary discussion as in my previous comment) can well and truly go fuck yourself.
            (PS : Dear Lost in translation, the sense of superiority I was referring applies to PhD graduates across the globe – as a true academic bastard I’ve been getting shit from most people for years, despite the fact I’m super attractive to the most innovative scientific leaders today. Also your relatively new American model for funding research is undermining centuries old Nobel winning research institutes across Europe so the next time someone insults American culture, go take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself “are we responsible for what this person is accusing us?”, bc guess what, you probably are)

          • Anna says:

            PPS: I looked at what that first sentence in French in my most recent comment looked like through Google translate and it gave me :
            “I used the comforting presence of another French to simply bitching”
            which seems as hilarious as on point although the following part of the translation made no sense whatsoever.

          • Strangely Rational says:

            “Why I’m talking about my education point blank would be a more appropriate question.”

            Oh, I know perfectly well why you’re talking about it. Earlier you said, “I also wasn’t trying to play the know it all, if you read my response again, I was simply providing information about the job market in the public sector after an MD PhD in my country.”

            Let’s be real. Nobody in this conversation is considering going after an MD PhD in your country and is wondering what the job market in the public sector would be like if they did. And you know that damn well yourself by referring to it as a “unique education.”

            You’re the one who brought up medicine in the first place – nobody was talking or asking about it, and you’re working very hard to wedge it into this topic. Your kind of PhD is not comparable to other kinds as you say yourself, especially not something that someone like the LW – whose best employment prospects seem to be at non-medically-related tech companies – would be pursuing.

            Face it – you just want to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. And that’s fine! If what you say is true, it sounds like you are quite intelligent and really have accomplished a lot. Just for God’s sake don’t try to make it sound like you’re just innocently trying to educate the rest of us. I’ve spent more than enough time in the “real world” to be able to recognize a disguised brag, and I’ve seen through much better ones. This one isn’t even a challenge.

            So own that shit, or at the very least work on not making it so obvious.

          • J Lynn says:

            1 “Lingua franca” isn’t an expression meaning “common language” for nothing. Just because you write it in another language doesn’t make it private between you & WhoAmI. Besides, choosing to “râler” about me, or anybody, “behind my back in front of me” (more idiom) is extremely rude.

            2 The fact that you come back later and say you were really raler-ing about an “American model for funding research” and and not Americans in general, wasn’t “lost in translation.” It wasn’t written in the first place, thus never translated. You only mentioned a “model for funding research” after I said using your cousin as evidence of an alleged American sense of superiority was bad form and unpersuasive. If you now say you’re talking about a “model for funding research,” I guess your “little American cousin” is pretty precocious running the NIH, NASA, NSF, Dept of Energy, etc!

            As far as “research models” I’m not an academic myself, so I can’t comment on that. What I can say is that In the USA only 30 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree, so whatever the problems may be with the “American model for funding research” for privileged Ph.D.s, it’s guaranteed that the general population of Americans (i.e., American culture) has essentially no say whatsoever in that, nor does the funding available for scientists have anything to do with American idiomatic expression, which was the subject of my remarks.

            3 I haven’t attacked you, and I have exchanged opinions with you. The worst thing I said, three comments in, was that your initial remarks to RP were “immature, myopic and borderline disrespectful.” That’s not an “attack” on you, that’s my opinion about your comments and your further remarks continue to confirm and not mitigate that opinion.

            4 In your most recent comment, you imply you didn’t originally tell me to fuck myself, but instead a “hypothetical argument partner in an imaginary discussion.” But NOW, you are telling me that I “can well and truly go fuck yourself.” Problem: How am I to know when the discussion is imaginary? This is like quantum physics! Hahaha You PhDs are just too smart for me!!

            5 As for my original comments, once again, I brought up idiom to try to help you, not “attack” you, by clearing up a possible misunderstanding. Basically I was giving you an out to save face, because your “Why don’t you go work for Google, you don’t seem happy?” rhetorical question reads as discourteous and presumptuous in both my opinion and RP’s, and as at least naive in Grouch’s opinion.

            6 You then said to RP, “I didn’t mean to sound presumptuous, and I don’t think I did. I think you were setting yourself up to feel scorned whatever my answer.”

            Let’s break that down. A) Mildly conciliatory statement, followed by B) immediate withdrawal of the mild conciliation just offered!, followed by C) an even more presumptuous statement!!

            We could go on, but those two sentences seem to capture your style of discussion in a microcosm. Is it any wonder this conversation isn’t going well for you, that your remarks have been so far received with irritation, misunderstanding and/or general disagreement?

          • Anna says:

            Oh God, J LYNN, I’m about to say something I don’t like but is in the tradition of dear coquette, just go kill yourself, right ?
            You’re sensitive about nationals discussing American imbecility, go kill yourself.
            You’re sensitive about Europeans accusing your system of national bias and general imbecility, go give your body to science (and give your vote to a Puerto Ricans or something).
            I’m not writing a fucking thesis here. I’m chatting to peers and acquaintances about the current issue. (And for good measure go fuck yourself)
            PS : if you don’t understand how a native speaker (who officially speaks as good English as any international student) could be offended by you interpretation, go fuck yourself again.

          • Anna says:

            Of course I want to talk about what I do, as every PhD prospective would want. What you don’t realise is that it actually doesn’t matter what I do the next few years. Still makes me invaluable. Still let’s prospective MDs gain interest in pursuing fundamental life sciences. Honestly, sustaining the arrival of fresh interdisciplinary graduates is almost equally self interested (establishing a team) as self interested (still not sure how much my degree will be worth in 10 years). But as long as I’ve got the money on my side I’m essentially right.

          • J Lynn says:

            One more time, saying there may be an idiomatic misunderstanding is not the same as saying someone doesn’t speak English well or even perfectly. Idiomatic expressions and cultural contexts are deeply local and idiosyncratic, people misunderstanding one region or nation’s way of speaking has nothing to do with speaking the language well objectively. Example: I speak the Midwest/Northeast version of American English natively, but I could go to London, Manchester, Scotland, Ireland or and find myself in misunderstandings due to different idioms and cultural contexts. The same thing could happen to me in Ontario Canada, Texas, Cajun Louisiana and so on. It wouldn’t be about not speaking English well, it would be about the variations by region or subculture. I speak Spanish pretty proficiently, but I learned it mostly in Andes, and could be misunderstood in Puerto Rico, where I am planning to travel at your helpful suggestion to donate my vote.

            After you explained that you were a native speaker, and that what you said was also NOT a matter of different idioms/vernacular, I changed my mind: You’re just rude in conversation, and you double down after someone objects.

            Sincerely, I do apologize for causing offense with my discussion about the meaning of the “Why don’t you” rhetorical question as well as the “you don’t seem happy” comment. It sounds like you heard me saying you were inept at using English. I truly didn’t mean that at all (another example of the perils of language), but nevertheless I take full responsibility for the fact that you felt insulted on that basis. The idea only even occurred to me after reading WhoAmI’s first comment, “I think part of the misunderstanding may come from Anna not being American.” I now understand that my speculation was offensive to you. I now know more about your background, and won’t make that mistake again.

            As for the rest of your sensible message, in the words of our likely next president, the “neoliberal warhawk” (haha) Hillary Clinton, your “fondest wishes will not be fulfilled.”

          • Rainbowpony says:

            Anna, I see myself in you. I entirely understand what it’s like to have an intellect that developed faster and out of sink with emotional and social development, especially when one comes from a fucked up background.

            You couldn’t pay me enough to relive the difficulties I went through in my twenties, trying so hard to become a functional social and emotional adult.

            I guess I sound like a superior asshole, but really, I can’t help but hope you don’t go into this as naively as I did. And I hope your journey is easier than mine was.

            Yours in perpetuity,

  3. PolicyChick says:

    LW2: Technical point, not germane to your bigger question, but – do not, under any circumstances, take a job at Amazon. No amount of money will be worth it.

  4. The soul has been soul-ed says:

    Re: the academia question

    It’s about the questioner. Calling it a ‘top five institution’… that’s one way to imply you’re not doing it because you enjoy it.

  5. Nat says:

    I’m currently doing a Computer Science PhD at the moment, so I also know a lot of people who have graduated and gone into different kinds of roles… big companies, little companies, science, software, whatever.

    From where I’m standing, the only good reason to do a PhD is if you want to spend the time doing a PhD AND you probably want to be an academic in the future.

    I know a very small percentage of people who enjoy(ed) their PhD – and a horrendously high proportion of people who experienced depression/anxiety during their PhD. It’s extremely hard (sometimes literally impossible), often uninteresting, isolating work, which is usually far-removed from application or making a difference to anybody. On the other hand, depending on your supervisor and the area you work in, there can be some benefits – you might have a lot of creative freedom, and flexibility of your time, you might get to travel to a lot of cool places, you might get to work on something that is sometimes interesting and you might get a cool result that means a little step forwards for science. Those are maybes and you have to be careful what you choose. My advice: if you’re going to do a PhD, do one with a DTC – starting with a cohort of 10 or so people in the same boat as you makes everything 10 times less isolating.

    For me, I get paid enough (enough to have fun; holidays and festivals and parties, and live somewhere I like ), I have a lot of creative freedom, a lot of flexibility with my time, I have travelled a lot (which has been great), and my work while broadly extremely interesting, involves a lot of very boring and difficult tasks that I wish I could make someone else do. It’s often hard to motivate myself, and this environment is so bad for your confidence.

    I have to decide whether to stay in science or not quite soon and it’s not an easy decision. If I want to stay in academia, that means I have to be flexible about moving to different places (and I really love where I live right now for the first time), I know it will be difficult and stressful and potentially a lot worse than now in the next place I move to in terms of isolation, travel opportunities, flexibility with my time, creative freedom, etc. If I go into industry, my time is guaranteed to be less flexible and I will certainly have less opportunity to work on something that I think is cool just because I think it is cool, but I will be paid more, I will be able to have a more stable life, living in one place for longer periods of time, it will be more social, etc. Of course it is possible to find research work for a company.

    I’ve been told that during a PhD, you have creative freedom that you won’t have again until you are a PI… Most of an academic career involves doing stuff that other people want you to do (because that’s what you can get a grant for, etc). That’s something that worries me.

    Also, re: people moving from academia into industry, most people I know who have made that leap have told me that most companies don’t give a shit about your PhD… 4 years relevant work would be much more valuable, and that makes sense to me. It’s definitely possible, but I don’t think it means you’ll be better paid or progress quicker. In some ways, you’ll have a lot of catching up to do.

  6. PolicyChick says:

    Tangential question for Coke – Did you ever hear back from the scientist who thought his institution was burying a significant scientific finding? If so, what did you advise him?

  7. Strangely Rational says:

    “I’m twenty six. Shit’s not for me anymore is it?”

    Right now, I’m smiling at you in that irritating way older adults smile at younger adults when they start experiencing a reality that’s going to get a hell of a lot more real in the next decade or two. It’s not meant to be condescending, at least for me, but more like the satisfaction of welcoming new members to the “Shit, It’s Not About Me Anymore” stage of adulthood. Next up, the “Wait, It Never Was Anyway” stage.

    If you think it’s tough at age 26, just wait until you’re in your forties (yes, I said that on purpose to make you cringe) and the only ads that target you will be for financial services, cleaning products, and antidepressants.

    As for music, that’s the issue I do not understand at all. I’m 43, and I don’t have the slightest bit of trouble finding “new” music to suit my tastes. I’m primarily into classic and prog rock, heavy metal, and 80s pop (hey, it’s childhood nostalgia). I put “new” in quotes because although sometimes it’s literally new, usually it’s just something new to me that I found on Pandora or Apple Music. I don’t give a shit about where or if it’s on the charts.

    Back when I was a kid and young adult, that mattered. You had to make do with what was on the radio at the time or go to the store to buy your music (from vinyl to tapes to eventually CDs starting when I was a teen) if you somehow found out it was good, mainly from hearing it on the radio, and they had it in stock. These days, you can find everything online and have it playing on your device in seconds, so I’m not sure what you’re complaining about.

    If you’re feeling bad that the stuff you like isn’t super trendy anymore, well, fuck trendy. This is a great time to stop giving a shit about whether advertisers or whoever thinks you’re cool. Fuck them. When I was a teenager, I always used to say that I was going to keep up with pop culture and not turn into one of those clueless adults. Now that I am a “clueless adult,” I realize that the things I thought were important when I was that age were mostly bullshit. While I was rolling my eyes at the adults’ cluelessness, they were rolling their eyes right back at mine. In another 25 years, I’ll likely think the same thing about my current self, the only difference being that now I recognize and embrace that.

    Just be who you are, like what you like, and to hell with what’s popular. There’s a blissful feeling that comes with being at this stage of adulthood and no longer caring about what other people think.

    • Apricot says:

      Haha, I’m 27, and was thinking the other day about how I am becoming one of those “clueless adults.” I also still carry a shadow of 20 year old me who cared. It’s a weird limbo.

  8. Anna says:

    I’m actually ready to kill myself. Not that I give a fuck about being “fiché S”, but between the general American sentiment against Arabs plus the general persuasion of “if they aren’t Arabs now, they might be turned out to be in a subsequent attestation” (let’s keep in mind that I am negotiating with the authorities a propos of an employed and educated woman)

  9. J Lynn says:

    Anna, for crying out loud, maybe you are “ready to kill yourself” because you just spent 4 paragraphs telling me to kill myself and basically saying “fuck you” over and over. Your language was unambiguously hateful, of course you’re going to feel bad yourself, too!

    Are you an Arab yourself? If so, I really truly feel for you from the bottom of my heart, because this is not an easy time in history. But based on your anti-Americanism, I can’t imagine you would ever want to set foot in North America, anyway. Plus, there is just as much and maybe more anti-Arab sentiment in Europe, from what I read.

    At any rate, trust someone who’s on the ground: There’s NO reason to be suicidal about American anti-Arabism, as currently voiced Donald J Trump and his followers. Many of us are working hard to defeat him and he’s dropping like a rock in the polls.

    A recent analysis of Trump’s followers showed that most of them didn’t even live in communities that had immigrants! Meanwhile, people in communities with immigrants are more likely to feel positive about them.

    Americans in general are not anti-Arab, nor are they in general against anybody, not even our good old frenemy the USSR. Most Americans enjoy their cultural diversity and Hillary is winning because of the multi-ethnic coalition that Obama first pulled together, a Democratic coalition with a better track record for winning than previous class-based attempts.

    Trump most likely has Narcissistic Personality Disorder or similar. He’s currently losing the election, so he’s getting more desperate in the stuff he’s saying. Google “narcissistic injury.” Warning: He’s gonna get crazier and crazier for the next 2.5 months, so buckle up, but he’s probably not going to win if his opponents keep working hard. We need and appreciate your encouragement from abroad.

    Look, please, don’t be sad. If you are truly feeling despair, then I’m truly sorry I argued with you at all. Please don’t be sad about me or about Trumpism, I’m not evil and Trump won’t win.

    • Anna says:

      Oh gosh, why did i even say that? If anyone can justify the context for saying that, I’d feel a whole lot less confused.
      My guess is that I just got way too drunk in Brussels with my European parliamentary aide friends yesterday, and we started talking shit about everyone.
      PS : not an Arab but I look (to white folks) like someone from the middle East, mixed race genetics are weird

    • says:

      Bless you, truly. I aspire to your levels of patience and willingness to explain yourself in every conversation I’ve seen you participate in.

  10. Livvid says:

    Condom question writer: you can literally say, “even though I am on the pill, I want you to wear a condom.”

    You do not need to blunt that request or feel sheepish about it. If it illicits any major protest from your partner consider that a red flag. Many parts of a relationship call for compromise, but this is not one of them.

    I wish someone had told me when I was 19 that I shouldn’t be guilted for wanting to use protection during sex.

    • Bash says:

      I just barely had this conversation with a new guy. He seemed all on board and wore the condom until right at the end when he decided it was alright to remove it and finish. Gah! I’m still furious over this and have yet to use my words to tell him just how messed up it was.

  11. Bag of Hamsters says:

    I’m surprised the advice to the escort wasn’t to tell the boyfriend to fuck off. “Had it” implies he’s just been putting up with her employment choice instead of being supportive and there’s some ugly judgment tied in with that phrasing. It’s good to have a contingency plan, but unless the escort wants to quit, he’s just being a controlling shit.

  12. Jessica Sen says:

    How the hell do I get my picture to appear next to my comment? I hate this yellow oppressed face I’ve been assigned, Coke! Is this disqus? Do I have to sign up for disqus to get this privilege? Why what do I do. I’m supposed to be more of a millennial than you but I can’t do this shit

      • Jessica Sen says:

        It’s a commentary on how we try to stand up for what we believe in but we are still fucked because we’ve evolved into consumers (denim) of the capital (red Lord Business tie – Lego movie) who can’t be naked without pretending to be fully clothed. We just don’t like to be caught with our pants down. Glad you’re not dead.

  13. J Lynn says:

    Up above, I mentioned that about 30 percent of USA-ians complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree. I just stumbled across this tender, perfect quote from Choire Sicha (Gawker, Awl) on that subject:

    College, “an advanced form of education that usually cost a lot of money and that, in general, at least two out of three young people started, but only one in two would finish” …

    Quoted here in the NYer:

  14. Ask yourself, “when was a final time I took a walk within the wild side. You usually are not alone, millions all over the world also wish to know the way to increase platelet count. Expiring This alteration of your genome could take place inside the sperm and egg cells.

    If you hate bugs and usually do not like the thought of roughing it to get a few days, camping may perhaps be not the best thing for you personally and that is certainly alright too. These programs that contain the product ready cooked or canned include the only ones that really know what is because product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *