[UPDATE, SEPT. 1, 2018: Thanks for checking this out! My career search is happily suspended. Get in touch to find out what’s next! I’ve kept the content below to archive how I went about it.]
I want to meet 100 people! Can you help?
I’m looking for my next adventure.
From everything I’m learning, it’s way more important to meet people than to send cold resumés into the ether. And not just a few people, a lot of people. With that in mind, I’ve set a goal of talking to 100 people doing work I find interesting about how they got to where they are, what they love about it, and what they would change if they could.
Can you make an introduction?
I made some tarot cards to explain what I mean.
The common thread is this: I want to help people articulate challenges so that solutions are meaningful.
I want to meet people who work in AI SAFETY.
One of the most open questions of our time is how machines learn, and what that learning leads to. Things get complicated when an ethical end is achieved by unethical means. Lives and ecosystems could be changed or even lost along the way. How do we make sure that artificial intelligence is sensitive to people and the environment?
It turns out that metaphor (my PhD topic) has some interesting things to say about cognition and meaning-making. “Juliet is the sun” is essentially the equation A = B. Illogical. A category problem. And yet, we’re okay with it. Understanding how, when, and to what effect A = B takes some careful consideration. Discerning between A and B can even be a model for how we make sense of ethical dilemmas. I want to help people tell the story of machine learning through metaphor so that AI works for people and the environment.
Can you introduce me to someone who works in Artificial Intelligence Safety?
I want to meet people who MOBILIZE STORIES.
Every couple of months I get an envelop in the mail from Médecins Sans Frontières. Inside is a letter that says where my donation is going, and where it will go if I donate again. It is a story. Usually it includes someone’s name. It presents a problem and a response. It shows me what I can do.
Stories invite empathy, mobilize support, and inspire education (my MA topic). They can represent the complexity and intimacy of other lives. I would like to meet people who translate projects into narratives. I want to help people tell stories about action-oriented socially-conscious global connections.
Can you introduce me to someone whose job uses stories to build relationships with clients, donors, and communities?
I want to meet COUNSELLORS and PSYCHOTHERAPISTS.
It’s hard to find supportive spaces to feel openly ambivalent. Decisive action hogs the socio-cultural spotlight while reflection, complexity, and nuance get left in the shadows and deep feelings pace in the wings. For 3 years in Vancouver I took calls at the Suicide Prevention Centre and it changed the way I communicate. I’m interested in other spaces of compassionate non-judgmental witnessing. I want to help people tell the story of their best life.
Can you introduce me to someone who works in mental health, has a private practice, or runs workshops in community or through an agency?
I want to meet people who work in PITCHING or GRANT SUPPORT.
People, businesses, and projects need funding. To get it, they have to make a pitch. People often focus on the work they want to do, but they forget to explain why the work is necessary. They miss the chance to show that a challenge is urgent and meaningful. The result? Reviewers don’t see the project from their perspective.
It is hugely satisfying to articulate challenges so that solutions are significant. I have a pretty good record of this, from getting 6 years of graduate fellowships to a Toronto Arts Council grant. But it’s bigger than funding: I believe that the way we talk about a problem affects the possibilities for solving it. I want to help people tell the story of exciting problems so that they can work on new solutions.
For example, I’d like to know what it’s like to be an in-house grant coach for a social purpose incubator like MaRS, CSI, or 401 Richmond. Or a pitching coach (the writing kind) for philanthropic or for-profit organizations.
Can you introduce me to someone who develops pitches or manages funding applications?
I want to meet ILLUSTRATORS and CONCEPT ARTISTS.
Images create moods and feelings. They tell stories. Making illustrations requires listening, experimentation, and being open to possibilities. The result can hold a story together, give it life, and help it reach a wider audience. These tarot cards are just a sample of what I would love to do if I was invited to do more art. When I have an illustration commission to work on, I feel like I’ve won a million bucks. Help me get a little closer. I want to use images to help people tell stories of the work that’s most important to them.
Can you introduce me to someone who works as an illustrator or a concept artist?
I want to meet the people you think I should meet. Maybe they are doing jobs I can’t even imagine. What do you see? Who do I remind you of?
Can you introduce me to someone who inspires you?