Cioran as a Career Advisor

A piece by Costica Bradatan on Cioran and his embrace of failure in the LARB:

The Philosopher of Failure: Emil Cioran’s Heights of Despair.

Cioran’s thoughts on work and the taking of a career are particularly refreshing. He would have made a greatly successful careers advisor, I believe….Perhaps this image below captures how he would have felt if he had ever actually been made to take a proper job and set out on a career!

“The big success of my life…is that I’ve managed to live without having a job. At the end of the day, I’ve lived my life well. I’ve pretended it has been a failure, but it hasn’t.”


Cioran would do anything, except take up a job. Doing so would have been the failure of his life. “For me,” an older Cioran remembers, “the main thing was to safeguard my freedom. Had I ever accepted to take up an office job, to make a living, I would have failed.” In order not to fail, then, he chose a path most would consider failure embodied, but Cioran knew that failure is always a complicated affair. “I avoided at any price the humiliation of a career […] I preferred to live like a parasite [rather] than to destroy myself by keeping a job.” As all great idlers know, there is perfection in inaction: Cioran was not only aware of it, but he also cultivated it all his life. When an interviewer asked him about his working routines, Cioran answered: “Most of the time I don’t do anything. I am the idlest man in Paris […] the only one who does less than I do is a whore without clients.”



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