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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Research job.

Following my ICFP-inspired plunge into academic Computer Science last autumn, I knew I'd need to get a regular industry job to replenish the war chest before making another raid into the classroom. Another option came up though - while walking back to the Allen Center after taking the final exam of my favorite class ever, I was talking with the instructor of the course, my favorite professor ever, (making a brown-nosing jackass of myself, no doubt) and he asked if I'd be interested in doing some research. I was, and after a job interview with the manager of the research project, I got an offer to work full time as an undergraduate researcher. I happily accepted. Today was the sixth day of work at the lab and I'm enjoying things. We're wrestling the usual sort of problems that plague any big piece of software. Before too long I'll be starting work on some actual research - more about that later.

Speaking of new directions in life, last night at the SeaFunc meeting I was talking with an interesting fellow and somehow or other the topic of major life changes came up. I quoted a person in Michael Lewis' nonfiction Wall Street memoir, Liar's Poker. (That was a heck of a book - you should read it - and it had an big impact on me. Speaking of that book, and this one, I need to do a post about investment banking, the study of Economics, the Pacific Northwest, word of mouth and clouds of personal connections someday. Remind me.) I think it was his mentor in London, who, when Lewis told him he was leaving his carreer in finance just when it was about to make him very rich, said something to the effect of, "Good for you. These major life changes are always the right decision." Now, a programmer going back to school to study Computer Science isn't exactly like closing the shop, selling the house, buying a ticket to the west coast and giving them the stand up routine in L.A., and it wasn't much of a change compared to my usual life modification, but this time I wasn't in some kind of desperate or dead-end situation. So I think it counts as a significant change.