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You mentioned in your book about getting a Ph.D. in economics. You go into what do you do in the classroom, what do you do for work, what do you do when you don’t have a degree. How do you sort of figure out your work, and then get a job? Do you feel like you have a lot of opportunities to get a Ph.D., or is it a more gradual process?
I was at the University of Chicago and I actually thought I would have a lot of opportunities. I came in with absolutely no prior knowledge about economics. I actually thought my advisor was going to be a professor in economics, but he was a philosopher. I didn’t really get an education in economics from my advisor. I was sort of on my own. I worked, sort of as an adjunct, I worked as a lecturer at the University of Chicago. And eventually I went back to grad school, I got a tenure-track job with a wonderful department. And after five years, I quit. I’m very glad I did, because I was one of the few people in my department to who was able to sort of break out. I’m so glad I did. But at the time I had my own set of opportunities to sort of break out, and I didn’t have any opportunities in the industry that were taking off. I mean, you just look at people that have the best-paying jobs in the world, and these people can’t get jobs. So I can’t think of a single graduate student who was going to get a job at a top-tier institution in the humanities, at a top-tier research university, who wasn’t at a school that was already a train wreck. So I was in a situation where I had no resources, and I had a lot of work ahead of me, but no prospects whatsoever.
So I took classes in an arts program that didn’t have any resources, or very few, and those were the only courses that I took. And then I got a summer job. And it was a two-month internship with a national arts organization.
Q. Can you talk a bit about that internship?
A. Yeah, I mean, I came from a very non-traditional background. I was raised in an arts household. I didn’t go to school in college, I went straight from high school to the workforce. And so, I didn’t really understand what I was getting myself into. So this is when I started to get into the industry in the first place, and that’s when I found out about all the creative, fine arts and cultural jobs, that just all came to an end, because of all the overproduction in the industry. So I was able to get into a number of those jobs, like in marketing and public relations. But that was only after, through a number of hustles.
What kind of skills would you say you need to have to do these jobs?
Oh, I think I’ve got a lot of it already. For example, I’m doing PR for a company called Ecosol, and we’re an advertising and public relations agency, and they do a lot of music video production, especially the music video for Justin Bieber’s “Boy