academics, as seen from vegreville. it can be cold here. and it is flat.
What the hell have I been doing this (academic) year?
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Thursday, February 02, 2006
Taken from: passionate
But whose fear? The metaphor Liz used (she got from someone else) was that many of the "leaf nodes" (what Microsoft and Sun and others refer to as "individual contributors") tend to be innovative and brave, but many of the "branches" (i.e. layers of management) can't stomach the risks. In their (admirable) desire to be strong and stable, the "branches" put safety above all else.<snip>
So add one more skill to our career advice for young people: be willing to take risks! Perhaps more importantly, be willing to tolerate (and perhaps even encourage) risk-taking in those who are managed by you. Of course I realize that this is much easier said than done. I was a "leaf node" at Sun, and a zillion other places before that. I've even done a little time as a "branch" (and I sucked at it).<snip>
Regularly review your sacred cows<snip>
Easy and familiar is safe, but often comes with built-in, unscalable walls. You can't get there from here.<snip>
Probably good advice for research, refereeing, and new course design. Taking chances leads to innovation, which leads to the big advances and payoffs. But you need to have some insurance. What if you do something risky and it does not pay off? That's the tradeoff. Since I can only write a few papers or prep a few new courses, I will try to mix them up. Try some base hits and also swing for the fences. Remembering that each is a paper, (or new course) and try to move on when the time comes.
In the end, base hits are often as tough as swinging for the fences.
And I will try to keep all this in mind when I review papers/grants and am acting as a branch.
link | posted by vegreville at 1:40 PM |
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