Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm moving to academia

(WARNING: personal information ahead. If you prefer to think of the Geomblog as written by robotic monkeys pounding on millions of keyboards, read no further)

One of the reasons the Geomblog has been silent these past few weeks is that I've been busy moving, and falling sick, and unpacking, and unpacking, and unpacking, and...

Now, where was I ?

Oh yes, moving. After many years of cloistered comfort at AT&T, I've decided to take the plunge into the exciting and dangerous waters of academia, at the University of Utah (30, count 'em, 30 minutes from the best powder skiing imaginable).

Why the move ? Many people have asked me this, and the answer is actually simple: because I finally wanted to. AT&T has been a wonderful place for me to work (and they're hiring next year, so get those applications ready), but I realized that the kinds of things I wanted to do (teach, initiate my own research programs, guide students, and participate in the academic conversation in general) were better done at this point in a university setting.

It's not a decision I made easily. It is said that the real value of a workplace is in the colleagues you have, and from that point of view, leaving AT&T has been hard. Leaving for a real job after completing a Ph.D felt like a natural rite of passage, much as leaving India for grad school felt like. But leaving the labs was a purely elective decision, and as such makes the transition a little more jarring.

And now here I am, in Salt Lake City (technically, I'm in Cincinnati airport waiting for a much delayed flight to New Orleans, but I digres...), preparing for my geometry class, working on a proposal, and doing my research. On the one hand, I have the basic day to day business of research more or less under control, and work and collaborations go on seamlessly. On the other hand, I often feel like a fresh Ph.D at his first job, managing myriad things that seem new and foreign. It's a strange feeling.

But I'm genuinely excited to be teaching, and am looking forward to interacting with students; something that I sorely missed at AT&T, except for the occasional summer. It will be an exciting adventure.

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