Meet an Alum: Jeremiah Glazer (2008)

October 31st, 2011 § 0 comments

Jeremiah Glazer (MAPH 2008) lives in New York. He works at Etsy.com, the popular online marketplace, as Video Operations Coordinator

On a morning when MAPHers are submitting papers on “The Mirror Stage,” it might be hard for them to share all of Jeremiah Glazer’s (MAPH 2008) sentiments about his time in the program.

“I loved Core,” he told me by telephone last week, “I even loved Lacan.”

Jeremiah arrived at UChicago in the fall of 2007. He jokes that between graduation and the start of MAPH he went through every one of the motions that a recently-graduated liberal arts major can go through. After finishing at BU in 2005, he worked at a law firm, toyed with the idea of law school, decided he hated legal work, and applied instead to PhD programs, hoping to study Wittgenstein.

“In hindsight, I was totally unprepared for a PhD program,” he said, “and at the time I didn’t want to do an MA.” Jeremiah was referred to MAPH by the PhD program in Philosophy. He decided to come to UChicago, and ended up gaining important insights into why additional academic work was not something he wanted to pursue. Today he works Video Operations Coordinator at Etsy, the popular and growing online marketplace/social media tool that  reported more than $300 million in revenue last year.

Getting on his current career trajectory started with a realization about his relationship to academic work.

“I was very interested in the topic I had picked for my thesis,” he told me, “but it wasn’t my singular focus–my passion in life. At least not to the point where I would make certain life-choice compromises.” In MAPH, Jeremiah had the opportunity to think about what it might mean to be an “analytic thinker” in a different context. But it was difficult at first to come to terms with the decision to move in a new direction. “It was scary realizing that I didn’t want to go onto a PhD. I came to graduate school and thought academia was for me,” he said, “but all these little thing added up toward me realizing that it just wasn’t.” Among the considerations he cited was the difficulty obtaining tenure-track jobs, not having a choice of where to live after finishing, and learning another language. But he emphasized that he felt as though he was moving in a different direction both personally and academically by Winter Quarter.

At that point, he started working with MAPH’s CAPS Liaison Lesley Lundeen, who catered career exercises and conversations to Jeremiah’s particular situation (one not unfamiliar to her–or to many alums who have completed the program). Their first discussions suggested that Jeremiah could be thinking about the job search in a more productive way. He now credits Lesley with helping him figure out that video editing was a passion that he could translate into job security.

Or, as he put it: “What Lesley did–and it’s a huge reason I am where I am today–is get me to work backwards. Instead of looking at jobs, we looked at values, skills, and interests.” The point was not to find a job that would hit all of these values, skills, and interests, but to focus on the most important of them. By thinking through how wanted to spend his time, Jeremiah realized he would enjoy developing video production skills, and he ultimately moved back to New York after graduation to look for work. He first took an unpaid internship, a path that he suggests for anyone looking to get training in a specific field without going to more school.

“I thought working for free was slave labor,” he said, “But in actuality, the internship was the best thing for me.” The job structured his time and gave him the resources to get a background in video production software and techniques. “I’m not going to get paid,” he recalled telling himself, “but I’m going to learn.” When it comes to advice for current MAPHers and alums, he emphasized how important it is to find an internship that will provide real opportunities to engage with professionals and build a resume with specific skills.

This experience, along with regular check-ins with Lesley and constant networking in New York led to freelance work. It paid the bills–albeit in irregular cycles of feast and famine–but much of his time was spent finding work. “I know it’s great for a lot of people,” he said of freelancing, “but I thrive more on structure.” (He added “I also didn’t have health insurance for a year or two, which made my parents crazy of course”).

He started looking for full time jobs.

Throughout his time as a freelancer, Jeremiah had been a member of a network of documentary film-making professionals called “D-Word.” Through this network–and after conversations with some of its members in New York–he decided to apply to Etsy. He found the position in April and after three interviews and the weeding through of more than a hundred candidates, he finally started work two months later. He’s proof that it’s not just finding a job that takes time and persistence–but also following through with the hiring process. It takes starting early (if you’re a current student) and being persistent (if you’re either in MAPH now, or have already graduated)

In his current role, Jeremiah edits, associate produces, corresponds with freelance producers, and deals with the logistics around third party video platforms like YouTube, Blip, Vimeo and iTunes. But as he puts it, “You’re always growing and there’s more things to conquer  He is housed in the editorial team of Etsy, which has its headquarters in Brooklyn. The site profiles sellers and tries to expose the narrative of how goods get made and brought to the online marketplace. According to Jeremiah, the short films made by Etsy help demonstrate that “items have import in our lives and to learn and know the story about objects–who makes them, purchases them, and where they’re being made–is really interesting.”

It’s a perspective worth considering as we head into Week Six–and Marx.

 

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