Bogost on Prestige Career Switching

Circumstances like Schmidt’s and Poole’s can’t be explained by the popular myth that today’s workers will have seven different careers in their lifetimes thanks to rapid changes in technology and industry. (Schmidt certainly doesn’t have to work ever again if he doesn’t want to, after all.) If anything, it could come off as more like selling out, betraying their supposedly well-formed values for a greater measure of power and influence.

Schmidt’s and Poole’s examples show us that people with sufficient competence and renown can reach escape velocity from the home planets of their previous careers, exfiltrating to other, distant worlds of novel but related vocations. Such workers are not entirely prepared for the foreign atmospheres on these strange and inhospitable new planets, but they also bring along select materials and experience that offer unique advantages. They thrive not in spite of their estrangement, but by virtue of it—by mining their own capacities for the raw materials that would be of use in different orbits.

Ian Bogost, “The Art and Abusurdity of Extreme Career Hopping

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