The Best People (reading 02)

I had fun with the last two blog posts, honestly. I enjoyed taking a more distanced approach to general moral questions, relating it to texts by Derrida and deconstructing our notions of merit. But when it came to this blog post I was a bit frightened, and it will probably be much more personal this time. I think that will be the general trend this semester, as the subjects get more difficult and emotional. This is by no means the hardest topic we will touch on, but as I started thinking of topics to write about I just ended up browsing for jobs and agonizing over my resume. Part of me wants to carry on my last discussion of merit, pointing out how the means of assessment for corporations has not fully unpack all the inherent biases against gender and social status, perhaps it never can. I’ve been reading a lot of Adrienne Rich, and I am part of me is thinking about how good software or valuable technology has only been defined within a patriarchal society organized around men’s desires. I could also throw in some Deleuze and Guattari and talk about the Oedipalization of consciousness at work in the corporate mindset, inscribing desire as a lack to be filled by a consumer item. But I just think forward to next year and what opportunities I have been given, and the people in my life that I want to support as best I can. My girlfriend who I love plans to attend medical school wherever I can find work, so she herself can eventually practice medicine primarily for medicaid patients (something many doctors are not willing to do on account of low compensation). It’s a goal a completely support, and I want to do everything I can to ensure she’s successful. As much as I love to talk theoretically about the inherent bias of employee/candidate assessment, I must aim at these industry standards on the way to achieve these future goals.

Thinking about these prospects and the immense pressure that crowds up around them, it makes me very sympathetic to marginalized groups. Considering how I feel about conforming to the standard ¬†of worthy hires, slightly apprehensive and uncomfortable, I cannot imagine how outsiders feel; because socio-economically I am not an outsider. I have been given every opportunity for success, but even for me at this point the path forward appears constricted. To the marginalized the standard before them is much farther from the self-image that has dragged on every bit of progress they’ve made. When pursuing careers that hegemonic cultural standard, always in opposition to the minority groups, must close further in to be suffocatingly tight. I can see how, in that position, such groups can feel so unfree, since the standards for the best life, the best career, all the existential possibilities that make up our cultural fabric, do not overlap whatsoever with the cultural identity they have been given to fulfill.

I am not assigning any blame to companies, which I know aspire towards considerate and fair hiring processes. I began this blog as a reflection on the apprehension I feel towards entering a career, and ended up reflecting on marginalization and the nature of freedom. I still aspire to do good work in the industry, by continuing to learn, share knowledge, and be open to other people. However, I believe that any talk of merit as essential and identifiable must be founded on exclusion. If it is a true report, the rankings of employees, as though merit or even effectiveness could be put on such a binary system, proves my point.