Friday, October 06, 2006


It's official. I'm becoming a prof.

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?"
- "Yeah."
- "Why?"
- "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)


Greg said...

Ahem? No other academic ranks you an think of that might be interesting?

Welcome into the fold. Just try not to end up in the same department as me. You'll make me look bad.

Saadna said...

CEO si tu veux l'argent :)
Prof si tu veux les etudiants foux!

Angelica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Angelica said...

All the speakers, the big movers and shakers, seem to have PhD's. I can do that. As long as the research is interesting (sorry Greg, theoretical networks wouldn't do it for me either).

xicanista said...

The End User Software Engineering is really cool. I've never heard that term before, but I really like it.