Much has changed since then: the focus of my research has shifted; the networks of colleagues I work with have grown and changed; BBN was swallowed up by Raytheon; I got married, moved to Iowa, and had two kids. I am more comfortable and confident in my skills and my abilities, I've learned to manage both my arrogance and my imposter syndrome better---and also learned that those are just two sides of the same problematic coin for me, and are likely chronic challenges that will not go away. I've learned how to more effectively say "yes" and I'm still learning to say "no."
|Tiniest Moose, helping me with my work on a business trip to California.|
At its core, however, my world of research and professional life is much the same. I wake up every morning entangled in the delicate balance of work that might have a profound impact on our society and work that will be completely irrelevant before it is completed (and sometimes little way to tell these apart). I take joy in my collaborators and the artifacts we produce, the satisfaction of programs working and data-points that form a beautiful line, the hope and anguish of proposals and papers submitted, rejected, and accepted. My day is a day of the craft-work of the scientific, in all of its prosaic glory, and I have every anticipation that I will find it no less engaging years from now, even if someday I end up somewhere else in terms of my career.
For its part, Raytheon, in its infinite wisdom, has informed me that in honor of my ten years of service, I am to be awarded a gift picked from a menu of some intriguingly "safe" and mediocre choices, like a fancy dart board, designer shades, a bike rack, a glowing bluetooth speaker, or a package of Omaha steaks. We picked the carpet cleaner. Happy anniversary!