At Furry Weekend Atlanta, an academic philosopher wins a job by the power of fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

The human species is diverse, but anywhere you go, there’s job-seekers hungry to start careers. At least one of them is a tennis-playing philosopher with a FurAffinity account, a raccoon fursona and a cool story: WildeCard. (Here’s his personal site.)

In human form, he’s a Postdoc researcher and ethics course instructor at Ohio State University’s Center for Ethics and Human Values. He’s working on a book titled The Environmental Impact of Overpopulation: The Ethics of Procreation, which explores the ethics of slowing population growth. (For humans — no word about raccoons, bunnies or others with prodigious proliferation.)

How did he get there? WildeCard writes in:

“I recently documented how my experience on the academic job market (in philosophy) overlapped with attending Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019. And by overlapped, I mean that I was literally doing job interviews from my hotel room while attending this convention. That part of the story comes near the tail-end of an 8-month search for academic employment, which was ultimately successful.

The relevant (and lengthy) blog post is here.”

His 8 months of searching started with a Google Spreadsheet with 196 possible jobs, of which he applied to 118. His story is aimed to help other hopeful seekers, with a twist.

“There are some aspects of this story that are extremely idiosyncratic and unlikely to be a part of anyone else’s job search.” 

“How could one venture into the cartoonish landscape of ludicrous photo-ops and cringe-inducing animal puns, and then later be expected to discuss population ethics or how to approach teaching non-philosophy majors?”

Juggling 118 job applications was depression-inducing, but WildeCard made time for the fluffier things in life.

At FWA 2019, he ran a panel called Discussing the Furry Fandom with Non-Furries “to give people a little advice on how they can go about discussing the furry fandom with friends, family, coworkers, and other curious acquaintances.” (It covers topics like: Reasons to Disclose Membership in the Furry Community, Handling People with Strong Negative Views of the Fandom, and Impact on One’s Career.)

I get questions about this ALL THE TIME. So I never want to hear “what can you do with a philosophy degree?” It’s almost as silly as questioning the prestige and fortune that comes with Furry Journalism.

WildeCard’s story is mainly for other job-seekers, but also contains a good explanation of the fandom, with a demonstration of furry power from a great ambassador. It has self-evaluation about how he handled the handfuls of job interviews that came from his applications — some with great difficulty, and some with high confidence. That makes an intriguing clue about the secret to his success.

“In my first 100 applications, I did not get a single offer. In my last 18 applications, I got 3.”

“50% of my interviews at furry conventions yielded job offers.”

They do always have lucky rabbits feet there. (Also the rest of the rabbits, otherwise this might not be such a happy story.) Thanks to WildeCard for showing that furries come from many walks (and hops and scurries) of life, with lots of talent, smarts and success.

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