Aid to Evaluating Your Accomplishments

part of Career Guide for Engineers and Scientists
Compare yourself to these four ordinary people who were selected at random:

Hartford Connecticut Insurance Executive Wallace Stevens

Won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1954; best known for "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird".

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Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius

Ruled the entire world as it was known in his day; was the only Roman Emperor to refrain from disgracing himself.

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University Dropout Carl Friedrich Gauss

By the age of 21, he had constructed a regular 17-gon by ruler and compasses, the most major advance in this field since the time of the Greeks. Subsequently developed method of least squares, normal probability distribution, Fast Fourier Transform, and a non-Euclidean geometry.

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Unemployed Californian Larry Ellison

After being divorced by his first wife because she said that he would never amount to anything or make any money, started Oracle Corporation, world's leading supplier of relational database management software (Note to academic computer scientists: don't worry if you aren't sure what an RDBMS is; it isn't necessary for running Microsoft Word).

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Programmed by Eve Astrid Andersson and Philip Greenspun back in the mid-1990s. If you're a nerd, you might find the source code useful.

Original Inspiration: How to Make Yourself Miserable, by Dan Greenburg


philg@mit.edu