More Proof

If anybody still doubted that online degrees were worthless, Starbucks is paying for a few of its baristas to get garbage online degrees. The degrees offered by the diploma mill the poor bastards have to attend are in ultra-respectable fields such as Global Leadership. What a great prospect: from a Starbucks barista straight to being a global leader.

An Essential Skill

I have received the following request for a blog post:

We’re asking others like you to write an article to post on your blog about what you consider to be a valuable, marketable skill as part of our “Most Marketable Skill” Campaign in honor of the class of 2014. The job market is a scary place, hopefully this campaign will help it seem less daunting to this year’s graduating class!

What is it that you think is essential for success? We want to read about the skill that you personally feel is the most important, how you acquired or plan to acquire the skill, and why it’s so indispensable for people going into the workforce.

As much as I resent the implication that there is anybody “like me” anywhere in the world, I will oblige.

One thing that is absolutely essential for success in any area of life is self-awareness that allows one to solve one’s psychological problems. The moment you start seeing the job market as “a scary place”, as opposed as en exciting place that offers you many new opportunities and adventures, this should be a sign to you that there is a psychological problem leading you to experience these fears and that this problem should be addressed sooner rather than later. The same goes for the dating market or pretty much any area of peaceful existence.

My most important skill in life is precisely this. I know how not to hide from my own psychological issues behind “the world is a scary and unpredictable place,” “bad shit can happen at any time,” “society tells us to be miserable,” “huge societal forces prevent me from living exactly the way I want to live, “I am being judged and persecuted”, etc. And the most crucial piece of knowledge I can share is that nobody is obligated to live this way and feel daunted by these thoughts. They are not part of normal existence. Misery is not part of normal existence. Life should and can be about happiness.

I have not had an easy life. I’ve shared a lot on this blog but it doesn’t even come to 5% of all that I have had to overcome. And still, I am convinced that all this “the world is a scary place” nonsense is a result of intellectual laziness and a refusal to address one’s psychological problems.

Something tells me, though, that this is not the response the reader was looking for.

Ukraine: Business As Usual

A reader asked me if “the Ukrainian government is working to maintain a sense of business as usual.” This reader is absolutely right. Huge efforts are being made in Ukraine to ensure that people don’t plunge into the depths of despair because of the Russian invasion.

The government is stepping up its investment into international scholarly conferences, art festivals, concerts, etc. For instance, a jazz festival was held in the city of Lviv last week. This is a regular, yearly event, but this time there was a special effort to invite as many attendees and journalists from Russia as possible in the hopes of showing them that the “neo-nazi Western Ukraine” they hear about on TV is actually a peaceful, happy, welcoming region where it is perfectly fine to speak Russian and where nobody persecutes Russian-speakers.

Ukraine is a very large country, and armed hostilities only take place in a tiny region of it. Even in my city of Kharkiv, which is located in the East, right on the border with Russia, is completely peaceful.

And a small announcement:

If you are in Montreal, make sure you visit the concert of the greatest Ukrainian rock band “Okean Elzy” on October 9 at Place des Arts.

If you are in Ottawa, the group will be performing at the National Arts center on October 10.

And if you are in Toronto, the group’s performance will take place on October 11 at the Hershey Center.

Here is a song by this band. Note how similar it sounds to Spain’s rock. This could very easily be a song from Spain. There is an enormous (albeit unexplored) affinity between Ukraine and Spain.


A Responsible Worker

“I really like working at your house,” the contractor says. “You are nice. I’m also working at another house and I don’t like it half as much. This is why I’m not coming to your house tomorrow.”

“Why is that?” I ask.

“I’m planning to do some serious drinking with a buddy of mine tonight, and I won’t be in a good condition tomorrow. So I’ll just go work for those other people.”