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Friday, July 06, 2007

A Blast from the past

In the process of trying to salvage a bunch of documents and data from old 3.5" disks, I came across a draft the "personal philosophy" statement that I wrote when I was applying to liberal arts schools back in 1995. At the time, I hadn't defended my dissertation but was a young, budding economist. Today, eleven years later, I am not as young but the personal statement is surprisingly consistent with the way I have lived my life.

It is reassuring to look back on what I wrote eleven years ago and realize that my career has basically evolved the way I hoped (at the time) even if I haven't explicitly returned to this statement:
My main goal in life is to be the best that I can at whatever I attempt. I do not accept false praise nor do I attempt to make myself appear better than I am. As an economist, I strive to remain focused on what economics is about - exploring human behavior in the context of scarcity. I view my research as a way of expanding the understanding of economists and non-economists alike. Thus, my research concepts are purposefully less cryptic and more practical, an approach which I hope will make my research useful to those in and out of academics.

I see myself as an individual who can accommodate any personality, either in or out of the workplace. I seek from others only that which I have earned, be that dislike or admiration - I accept them both, while not pandering for the later. I am a person who stands by my convictions without forcing others to accept them. I deal with people on an individual basis and judge each according to their merit, not their expected or stereotypical value. Being raised in a Christian family, I learned the values of hard work, honesty and a good, living relationship with God. This has helped me to survive many trials in my life, and I hope to continue in this fashion.

Outside of economics, I am an avid reader of literature and philosophy. I enjoy rational discussions about politics, sports, movies and current events. I also enjoy playing soccer, mountain biking, and computer programming. My interests outside of economics are varied but never fail to improve upon my overall knowledge.

I plan to continue my education long after my formal schooling is completed. This is one of my main motivations for being an educator. I have found that the pursuit of knowledge can occur on either side of the podium and that I learn more each time I teach a new group of students. If I improve upon myself, our understanding of economics, and can also show others how to correctly view economic relationships, then I will have considered by career a success.

I wrote this at a very "young" 26 years old with a head full of Ayn Rand. Perhaps this explains why I didn't get a job at a liberal arts school?

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