1. You and 500 other people compete for the chance at one prize due to the rigged economic system and bad life decisions that have landed you in a cycle of exploitation and debt.

2. As you progress to each new round, and as the pool of competitors shrinks, you realize that many of your competitors are your closest friends—even as it also becomes clear to you that, for you to win, they will all have to lose.

3. No one seems to know who created the system or how far back it goes. Most of your inquiries are met with silence.

4. The system has been designed, they say, to give everyone a fair chance—even as some levels clearly reward those with certain backgrounds, physical traits, or just the good luck of going last.

5. If you do not follow the arbitrary and often unclear rules, those in power can terminate your progress.

6. At some point, you will be required to dress nicely for a formal dinner. They will say this is a chance for you to relax and enjoy yourself. You will suspect that this, too, is part of the game. You will not enjoy it.

7. If you win, you experience survivor’s guilt and risk being pulled back into the game.

8. Those who have been through the experience have a haunted look in their eyes; they will beg you not to do what they did.

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Academic Job Market: 1-8
Squid Game: 1-8