Monday, March 21, 2005

I love people! Except when I don't.

I've had the kind of day where I've spent the majority of it talking to people. I spent the last four hours of my workday in conversations that, while they were very useful and productive, have left me feeling pretty wiped out and not much like being social. Low interpersonal energy right now. I love people! But after so many hours of them, I'm tired of them too.

I posted the link to that article about academia and the family yesterday, which started me thinking about why I left academia for a job in industry. Part of it is, as I've posted before, that I like the sense of working on stuff that's meaningful in the sense that it will affect real people. More people will use and benefit from the work I'm doing now than will ever read my dissertation by a factor of, oh, millions. That's pretty cool. But there's also the fact that my current workplace is a great environment for a linguist to participate in, not only because of the scope of influence of the work itself but also because of the breadth of interesting projects and the variety of smart people around and the range in their skill sets and types of intelligence. It reminds me a little of having been an undergrad at Penn -- a research-oriented nerd among very professionally oriented classmates. There's something of the current environment that's the same... there are downsides, but ultimately, I find it more satisfying than being a research-oriented nerd among only other research-oriented nerds. It's harder, in a good, useful way that makes the quality of my work stronger and more rigorous. I'm not afforded the luxury of indecision.


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