I'm simply not cut out for it.

Whether it's pushpin, poetry or neither, you can discuss it here.

I'm simply not cut out for it.

Postby LunarLeo on 2011-05-07T15:43:00

Hello, Felicifia! I'm an incoming freshman at Brown University in Providence, RI. I've long considered how to do the most good I can in the world, and for the past few years, I've been planning to pursue Investment Banking/Consulting and the likes of that. However, sad to say, I don't think this is the path for me! As I prepare to enter Brown in the fall, I see how my course schedule would be.. I see what people think when I tell them my career plans... I see the life of an investment banker. I don't think I could pursue this without being miserable and therefore failing to succeed.

So, in place of this, I'd like to hear all of your thoughts on my new plan! I'd like to pursue Development Studies or Intl. Relations (two strong departments at Brown), and begin my career working in some developing countries. After gaining a sufficient amount of experience/authority in this area, I'd like to return to the "developed" world as a professor/lecturer/some sort of authoritative speaker on the subject and show people the power of ulilitarian-style aid, the ineffectiveness of normal emotional giving, and hopefully spread some utilitarian thought on the way. (Also, I believe I am better at convincing people than making money.)

Any advice?

Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:11 pm

Re: I'm simply not cut out for it.

Postby LunarLeo on 2011-05-07T15:47:00

Also, what foreign language would be most useful in the developing world?

Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:11 pm

Re: I'm simply not cut out for it.

Postby rehoot on 2011-05-08T04:35:00

I can't say that I know anything about developmental studies or international relations, but one of your considerations should be your ability to pay the bills. If you can graduate without loans, your obligations to others will be less than if you graduate with debts to either parents or banks. Do some math to see what your loan burden will be, then either choose a profession that will pay the bills or transfer to a less expensive school and work for an NGO.

Some people here have argued that choosing a profession that makes lots of money and then donating that money is the most efficient path to helping people in the third word, but I see a problem with that: the environment of an investment banker might imply that you are bombarded with the selfish philosophies of businesses thereby leading you to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Perhaps undergraduate work in business and graduate work in public administration would be an option (you could always work in the private sector with that background if you needed to).

You will probably change you mind about your major many times in the next year, but you might want to take some philosophy classes to refine your current understanding of epistemology and ethics. Read about 'analytic philosophy' before you waste time and money taking courses on ridiculous continental philosophy (perhaps with the exception of reading one book on philosophical postmodernism). I say that you should start with logic.

If you believe that your understanding of ethics is devoid of emotions or subjective values, then you don't understand models of behavior that show that subjective values and attitudes are far stronger predictors of behavior than knowledge of logic or any 'common sense' that you believe that your have. Our statements of 'reason' are typically rationalizations that justify conclusions that we make based on values that are often left unexamined. This is what characterizes never-ending political debates. If you want to study this topic, you might need to study both psychology and philosophy. Some topics of study would be Philosophy: Hume's Guillotine and the fact-value entanglement as they relate to a naturalistic understanding of ethical thought; Psychology: cognitive dissonance, belief bias, cognitive bias, and selective scrutiny (this completely biased list is simply a shortened list of my interests).

Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: I'm simply not cut out for it.

Postby RyanCarey on 2011-05-08T08:38:00

I see the life of an investment banker. I don't think I could pursue this without being miserable and therefore failing to succeed.

From a utilitarian point of view, this seems most important. It's the point that your decision should turn on. If you think that you would truly be very ineffective and very demotivated as an investment banker, then it probably really is a good thing for you to look for a career change. Have you had negative thoughts about investment banking and consulting for months? Have you had any comparable positive thoughts about it? Do you think you could put it down to any transient factors relating to current politics, or your current social associations etc?

I think that there is a lot of good to be said for the notion of promoting utilitarian behaviour in others. You only have so many hours to work in a day. If you are able to convince another person to act in a utilitarian way, this can be extremely time efficient. Fully converting another person to donate their life's earnings to an effective charity can justify your entire life as a utilitarian. If you could convert ten such people, you could be an unimaginably good utilitarian. Here's the thing. If you intend to bring people around to a more utilitarian position, you need certain personal attributes. You need to be personable, confident, responsive to people's thoughts and feelings, patient, and so on. You could call it the 'would you be a good car salesman' test!

So, clearly, I haven't made any concrete suggestions yet, but I hope that I might have helped your thoughts along anyway.
You can read my personal blog here: CareyRyan.com
User avatar
Posts: 682
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:01 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Return to General discussion