This post is by Jesse Galef
Four weeks ago I let you know that I had been laid off from the Secular Coalition for America when they ‘restructured’. At Richard’s suggestion, I keep intending to put up a personal post discussing my job search. It’s more difficult than I expected. I love talking about ideas and issues but I’m more uncomfortable talking about myself. You would be amazed at how many times I’ve started to type something only to delete it 10 seconds later. Striking a balance between optimistic and bitter has been tough, both in my thoughts and in my many attempts to write.
Being unemployed has been… interesting. I spent the first evening getting drunk with my ex-coworkers and the second day hungover. Since then, my time has been spent looking for jobs, investigating political theory PhD programs, relaxing, and meeting new people in the DC atheist scene. I desperately needed a break, but it would be dishonest to say that I’m glad to no longer be working for the Secular Coalition. As upset as I am, I still support their mission and wish the organization success. Sometimes I have trouble reconciling those two emotions. I wonder if/how cognitive dissonance will set in…
In my understanding, happy and successful people rarely set out on a particular path and stayed on it their whole lives. We all get knocked off course and we are forced us to rethink our next step. A big part of success is dealing with that uncertainty and those unexpected events well.
A couple weeks ago, I received email from employees at Americans United for Separation of Church and State saying that they had an opening for a new Web Developer. They remembered liking me when I applied for a job in 2008 and thought they would pass the news along in case I was 1) interested 2) looking for work in the area and 3) had a computers background. Man, I sure must be lucky have skills that contribute to fortuitous encounters. Not only am I looking for work and love Americans United, but I have a CS background and spent the last year in jobs heavy on web responsibilities.
I have a job interview with them later today (actually, I should be IN the interview by the time this post goes up). I think I have a strong resume and interview well, but at a certain point it’s out of my hands. Here’s hoping!
I’ll be going straight from the interview to New York, hoping to catch my sister’s talk at NerdNight NYC. There will be speed-dating with fellow nerds at 7PM for those interested, or you can just show up at 9PM for the NerdNight talks. If you’re in the city, you should come! You know this sounds interesting:
Aliens, Psychics and Ghosts, Oh My! Or, How Our Brains Fool Us Into Believing Strange Things
by Julia Galef
Description: Do you believe in ghosts? What about demons, witches, ESP, astrology, telekinesis, dowsing rods, homeopathy, alien abductions, or spirit planes? If you said ‘none of the above,’ you’re in the minority. Journalist Julia Galef draws upon probability theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience to explain why so many people believe in superstitions and the supernatural. She admits that this talk may involve a teensy-weensy bit of math, but hastens to add that there will also be demonic sex, and possibly an impression of a crazed pigeon.
Bio: A writer and editor with a degree in statistics from Columbia, Julia Galef is frequently consumed with a messianic urge to explain to people why their beliefs are irrational. To keep from annoying everyone, she usually just stuffs another cookie in her mouth. In 10 years she will either be the fearless leader of a rationality cult, or obese.
Yes, I love my family. Hope to see some of you there!