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Ruby Job Fair

I will be "presenting myself" at Unspace's Ruby Job Fair on June 6, 2009. No, I am not on my knees begging anyone for employment, nor am I looking to hire a Sith Apprentice to initiate into the dark side of the Ruby Rewriting arts. I have a completely different motivation.

The Ruby Job Fair format is like a science fair: You have a "poster" to display your work, and absolutely no computers are allowed. This can be intimidating to people. What do you put on the poster? Let's read this famous story about Richard Hamming:

Over on the other side of the dining hall was a chemistry table. I had worked with one of the fellows, Dave McCall; furthermore he was courting our secretary at the time. I went over and said, "Do you mind if I join you?" They can't say no, so I started eating with them for a while. And I started asking, "What are the important problems of your field?" And after a week or so, "What important problems are you working on?" And after some more time I came in one day and said, "If what you are doing is not important, and if you don't think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?" I wasn't welcomed after that; I had to find somebody else to eat with! That was in the Spring. --Richard Hamming, as I quoted in You and Your Research

Hmmm, there's something to think about: Put together a poster that answers the following three "Hamming Questions:"

  1. What are the important problems of your field?
  2. What important problems are you working on?
  3. What are you doing to bring the two questions into alignment?

It could be that you are seeking a job, because what you're working on right now is not one of the important problems in your field. And maybe that's why you're networking, to find a situation where you can work on important problems. Great! But it also could be that a job isn't what you need to get the two into alignment, maybe you need a co-founder, or a sounding board, or just an interesting conversation on a Saturday that might lead to an "aha!"

It also could be (and I hope this is the case for you) that you already are working on the most important problems in your field. In which case, share your enthusiasm. Everyone needs to know that it is possible to free yourself of working on the unimportant and mundane.

I think Ruby Job Fair could be a lot more than a "job fair," I think it could be a chance to network while talking about what's really important.

I hope to see you there.


This is Homoiconic. NEW! Kestrels, Quirky Birds, and Hopeless Egocentricity, all of my writing about combinators, collected into one conevnient and inexpensive e-book!


(Spot a bug or a spelling mistake? This is a Github repo, fork it and send me a pull request!)

Reg Braithwaite | @raganwald

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