A while back, I was watching Avengers: Endgame and I heard a quote that really stuck with me: "Everyone fails at who they're supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are." I found a lot of truth in that statement and I think it reveals a lot about where I am in life.
Instead of focusing on who I was supposed to be, let's talk about who I am. I grew up loving math puzzles and video games. In the past decade, I've thrived in work environments that have presented similar challenges. However, I will always get my greatest feelings of fulfillment from my marriage and parenting a moody cat.
Beyond video games, I later developed a board gaming hobby (more on those below). I enjoy reading all sorts of books and expect I'll never get through my "to read" list. I enjoy watching sports (most often racing and football) and tend to get excited even when checking out obscure ones. I like to play golf on small, inexpensive courses but more recently I've navigated to minigolf instead.
I'm sure I could ramble on for much longer, but I think this is a good starting point. Check out the rest of my website and feel free to get in touch if you want to learn more.
1) Wait, you have a PhD? Why are you doing web development?
Why not? Yes, I have a PhD, but I've discovered I have a talent for web development and enjoy the creativity involved. And it definitely helps to work at an institute researching the atmosphere!
2) Don't you want to be a professor?
I did previously. But a lot of people I've talked to are unaware that a PhD doesn't guarantee you a job as a professor (especially in recent decades). Here's a simple example that might illuminate why:
Let's say a professor mentors about 10 new PhD students (in 30-ish years) before retiring. Even if the number of academic positions doubled or so with each generation, 80% of those PhD graduates have to find something else to do. The other 20% have to really want it and I admire the commitment and sacrifice they make. But that life turned out not to be for me.
Some of it came down to personal choice. I wanted a career with less travel that would allow my family to choose where to settle down. Like many others, I'm also fortunate enough to have numerous interests.
3) Bitter much about #1 and #2?
Not at all - I just have strong feelings about academia and the stigma around leaving it. I know people who are too afraid to leave and pursue a new career primarily because they don't want to disappoint advisors, family, etc. That's not healthy for anyone.
You are a rectangular, colorful spelunker who can stretch and shrink on a whim! Pastel stalactites of varying heights will tease, taunt, and tempt you to remain as tall as you can for maximum points. Don't hit your head!