On F$&king Up Careers

Can anyone guess the best way to derail a career in journalism?

Wait until after your pick up your English degree (minoring in Mass Communications ‘cause you were at the best damn journalism school one could hope for after all and just not showing up to class Freshman year at Georgia Tech, and initializing your collegiate transcript with a whopping 0.18 GPA, shouldn’t keep you out of Grady entirely)

Where was I … oh yeah … wait until after you graduate (the first time) to be diagnosed with dysthymia and ADHD.

Okay, who wants to do another? You wanna know how to build ridiculously complex applications (after teaching yourself how to process audio signals into a chroma-based spectrogram to feed to the neural network (after you taught yourself how to build … a neural … network) that can take data from a spectrogram of chroma values and match them to the likeliest of seventy-four patterns forming a musical chord (not the chord, mind you, but the relationship between its notes) which it turns out works because you trained it six ways to Sunday since as luck would have it you had already built an application for which you’d figured out how to encode and decode MIDI files making it a breeze to generate 500 hours of audio consisting of all seventy-four variations of the intended matchable patterns multiplied by the twelve chroma values multiplied by the number of octaves within which sound is audible to the human ear multiplied by the twelve different MIDI instruments for broadening the timber) and be utterly … unemployable?

Turns out this was even easier. After rebalancing your neural chemistry via some #GDCymbalta and some #MFAdderall, go back to that university you had hoped might turn you into a journalist, pick up that BS in Computer Science, be interested by everything (so much so that it is a struggle not getting lost inside one obsession after another). Then don’t need money. Follow what interests you for at least five years. That’s it (Does the bitterness come through? Kinda worried the bitterness isn’t coming through).

Did y’all think it would get complicated again? Nope. In this country, if you don’t build a resume by working for someone within five years of your graduation … you are un-hire-able in Silicon Valley my friends.

But, OMG, put your projects on a resume and you look like every recruiter’s dream. So you get to do tons of interviews. Feel like spending a day on the Google Campus. You got it my friend. Wanna shoot the breeze with some Apple engineers over the phone? Done. I still get emails from recruiters for whatever it was I stuck on LinkedIn like a decade ago.

Bonus if you read this far:

I embedded an easter egg in that run-on sentence. Took a dual-brain to create it. Unknown as to whether it takes one to spot it.

Still here huh?

Anyone interested in how the 0.18 GPA came about? The college adjustment course I spent like two weeks attending (the one failing to mention classes were droppable), despite my never returning the rest of the quarter, gave me a ‘D’.

What? Fine, okay, I will tell you my secret. How to earn a college degree with some undiagnosed ADHD.

⑴ Be able to pull out a ‘C’ on any test you take … without studying OR showing up to class. (Notice that a ‘B’ will be necessary should the professor enjoy popping quizzes and grading attendance).

⑵ Should problems arise with ⑴ (maybe you couldn’t get yourself to class for a test or a project was going to take more than thirty minutes) ya better drop that course quick, there are only so many ‘F’s you will be able to carry should you want a passable GPA.

⑶ Once you’ve clawed your way to Senior (if year seven is still called Senior) year, you finally get to relax a little. No graded attendance. Classes feel like a little book club. The essays are a snap. Simply wake up an hour or so before due, eat a bit of breakfast, and about thirty minutes before class get situated and start writing. Bring your finished paper (that is only three pages long ‘cause by now the professors are only interested in what you have to say that they haven’t heard before) and hand it in. Easy peasy. All the ‘A’s on those papers cancel out any pop quiz nonsense.

Jason Cardwell @Moondeer