Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Desirism and Job Hunting: Part 4

I am spending some time applying the general ideas I have been working on in this blog to the mundane but significantly important task of finding a (better) job.

I have described the task in terms of getting a hiring agent to perform an intentional act, which means that the act must fulfill the most and strongest of the hiring-agent’s desires, given her beliefs. At the same time, we are faced with moral constraints against lying, and many and strong reasons to promote an aversion to (as well as institutional safeguards against) certain desires influencing the hiring process.

I have so far left out what is perhaps the most significant factor in causing a hiring agent to perform the intentional action of offering you a job. This is going to be a lot easier if you do some research and try to find hiring agents whose desires are those that you are best able to fulfill.

Finding a (better) job is not a matter of opening up a newspaper and circling those jobs being advertised by people who may be seeking skills similar to your own. It is a matter of letting those people who are in a position to hire know that they can do a better job of fulfilling the more and stronger of their desires by hiring you.

It means doing research and sending letters to people who have those desires that you may be able to fulfill – complete with preliminary evidence that shows the hiring agent that you understand what it is she wants from an employee, and evidence that you have an ability and an interest in fulfilling those desires.

For example, you want to be a writer (nonfiction, novels, screenplays, poetry, a blog, etc.).

What are the desires of your hiring agents?

The hiring agents in this case are, first, publishers and, second, readers and viewers.

They are going to provide you with money to write only insofar as giving you money fulfills the most and the strongest of their desires. Not your desires, but theirs.

Perhaps you will get lucky, and what you desire to produce is that which actually does fulfill the most and the strongest desires of enough people willing to give you money to produce it. Thus, you will be able to do what you like and get paid for it.

However, for the most part, you are going to have to tailor your writing to what your audience’s desires.

Publishers and production companies are experts at this. They can take material and determine, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, what it will take to make it into something that will cause customers to perform the intentional act of purchasing the product. Even here, they do not guess. They collect stacks of data on what agents are willing to pay for. They use focus groups, surveys, buying patterns, past successes, past failures, all with the aim of determining what type of product would fulfill the most and the strongest desires of potential customers.

The same applies if the product one is selling is one's own labor. One has to do research on what potential hiring agents want to purchase, and then actually put the effort into changing the product that one is offering into something that others are willing to pay for.

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