Archive for: October, 2016

How to roll 20s

Oct 07 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Some advice for new professors I've always heard is to not really say anything during faculty meeting the first few years. This may seem a bit constraining but I think it's useful to think about how little of the department you really know. The history. When some seemingly simple issue is brought up it is the first time? Is it the 5th time in the last 3 years? You'd be surprised (or not) what academics can turn into years long grudge matches.

The other thing is that you probably don't really know anyone's work personality. Not if they seem nice or personable. But when it comes to dealings about your academic organization where are they on this chart:


Eventually you will figure this out.

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Oct 07 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

I've probably told this story before. It's favorite of mine because it's not at all true. But captures a particular thing very well.

At one of my usual conferences I slipped out of a talk early for a quick restroom break. While walking in I run into a certain rising star I know. Fresh off his first year at Fancy Pants University and somehow already has more data than god. I say "how's it going" as he walks towards the bathroom exit with his laptop under his arm. "oh just taking a break to work on a grant or two".

I'm sure that's not actually what happened. The exchange was near the men's restroom, not in it. Less funny. Either way if you don't know this guy personally you probably know someone like him. Every free moment is ruthlessly absorbed by perfectly efficient productivity. I don't think he's a work-aholic. He takes breaks, hangs out with his kids, goes on vacation. But when he is on, every 5 minuets between meetings is a chance to "run a few regressions" or "knock out a paper review". If I have 5 minutes between meetings suddenly I've spent 10 reading about flat-earth rap beef. Even when I manage to eschew the net I don't find myself particularly good at pivoting between tasks. I'm more of the tanker ship that takes 15 minutes to make a small adjustment.

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