Ze-nian will be happy!
Yup. So I sneak into the darkly lit ballroom un peu en retard because I was too busy complain-blogging, and slip thankfully into the last seat at a random table. I don't know anyone, but it's sometimes more interesting that way. Tired from a long day, I devour the raspberry and almond salad with pesto cream dressing, and introduce myself to the gal on my right, from Oregon State U.
Neereja, a 2nd year major is in something she calls "End User Software Engineering". 'Ah', I think to myself, Software Engineering. I remember that... like, mountains of documentation and stuff, right? Nope, she says. It's like HCI, and she introduced her thesis topic to me, which I thought was reeeally cool.
Another lady, a prof whose identity will remain confidential, was sitting next to her, and asked me what I wanted to do. Oh. The Question. "Well", I said, thinking thoughtfully back to my enthusiasm over the CEO talk, "I like managing. I'm good at it."
She made a face.
- "A manager?"
- "Well, like I said, it's something I enjoy doing. But then, I don't like the idea of being a cog wheel in a large company. I want to feel I'm making a real difference."
She nodded understandingly.
- "Don't be a manager."
- "Huh? But I think I'd be good at it and..."
- "Hey, it's a waste when you're good at Computing and then just settle for being a manager. You can let Business students do that. Why don't you be a prof?"
- "Well, you guys are doing some really neat research. It's so... interesting. I always wanted to be an inventor...And I guess you do managing as a prof too, right?"
- "Of course. Plus, you feel you really take care of the grad students you take on. Like you're really making a difference in their lives, guiding them. It's really rewarding. I think it's the best job in the world."
And then I thought back to SFU and my co-op job there. I love working for the university. The people are wonderful and laid back, there's tons of room to start initiatives and the resources to do it... and I don't have to dress up. (Wearing the business coat on me today didn't last long.)
Then I thought about my job at Chevron's downtown hi-rise. High-heels, and sometimes colleagues who would ask the superficial questions and never get to know you you.
Oh, right, and teaching. I love that. So, what'll it be? CEO or Prof?
How about both? (cf. Fred Popowich)