Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Born Too Early For Your Job?

Goodbye Richmond
Location: Richmond Island

As I took a last look at Richmond Island (today Linden Lab takes back the parcel) I also opened my reader to look at the SLED list.

A PhD candidate just posted to the list that she feels lost in the job market. Her research in the area of virtual worlds is not leading to the sort of career she'd like, as she reads over job listings:
Not one post has come by that has emphasized a knowledge/commitment to virtual worlds, simulations or gaming. I'm starting to almost see my dissertation as a hindrance to getting a job which hurts because I love the subject so much. Am I ahead of my time?
I've had this conversation with others working on VWs or writing dissertations. It does seem that we are using a technology that has not "taken off" yet.  I'd hate to see such bright folks become Blackboard (should be "bored") admins for some college when there are worlds out there to build.

Perhaps the revolution in virtual worlds with user-generated content (UGC) will come from the sorts of efforts John Lester discusses with Jeff Young, in a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Or perhaps the revolution will come from the private sector, when game designers move beyond casual 2D games with limited UGC to something more intriguing.

But it's very hard to wait for the future to arrive.


Robert T. Kelley said...

I totally get it. As you know, I did my dissertation on Virtual Worlds in 1992, long before SL. If you are working in any technology space, it's more likely that you are too far ahead of your time, or you just missed the trend. My lesson learned, study what you love, work to pay the bills.

Iggy O said...

Rob, we should have started Linden Lab. We'd be ruling the planet by now in our mirror shades and leather jackets, building what William Gibson told us not to build. But we finished our PhDs instead :)

Damn but I miss those days.

Of course had be brought VWs to the quivering and expectant masses, we'd have had an epic Jobs/Woz battle over control, wrecked the company, been bought out, then retired to our yachts to write our books (while of course planning the next great takeover of the online world).

I do hope that this time around, some of these PhD candidates get to start a revolution online. That's what the Stanford folks did when Google was just an on-campus server...

Sometimes lightning does strike, but oh so rarely does that happen.

Viv Trafalgar said...

All of it, well said. There are so many powerfully talented people working inworlds (cSteph, Wizard, Ordinal, Bryn, so many others, I'm looking at you all). Time needs to catch itself up; or maybe it should just sit down for a cup of coffee with imagination and innovation and see what happens.

Miso Susanowa said...

ha, old skoolz here :)
I built VWs in 96-99... but I also remember trying to explain to people what email was. I think the difference is that you do what you do because it's what you love, or you do it as a job strategy. With emergent tech, that's not always a good idea.

However, we are still here, and still building :) PS - if you start LL in the past, pls ask me for my resume! :D

Iggy O said...

Miso, you and Viv will be VPs when Rob and I invent our time machine and save the future from the present.

Old Skoolz? Ya'll are gonna love my next post, about the lingering cultural significance of Neuromancer. The kidz are reading it for the first time in my class. I hope they can get past Gibson's difficult prose to see how completely we do live in the world of that book.

Mera Kranfel said...

I have a hard time understanding why it is like this. But I guess the learning curve is still to steep and time consuming for most ppl.... sorry to say. We have to see a web solution to lure them in..