Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good point

A few days ago, my mom mentioned she had spoken with her ex-husband (the man she met when I was 11, and married when I was 13, with whom she remained married until a few years ago). Let's call him Tom. He happens to be a full professor at a prestigious East Coast University, but he was a far cry from that when I was young. Their conversation turned to me. Tom mentioned that the husband of a colleague of his recently took an industry post in [Applied Research Field], and suggested I might send him my resume to be forwarded along.

Yesterday, I received the following email:
Dear Articulate,

Tom Stepdad forwarded your C.V. to me and we also had a phone discussion about your interest in [Applied Research Field]. Glad to hear that you've taken a liking to our field of study.

I've only had time to briefly look over your resume and take a quick look at your website. I'd like to take a look at your thesis and a couple of your papers to get a better sense of what you've done and where you're hoping to go with it. It looks like your dissertation is on your website and I can view it there; are there one or two of your papers that you'd recommend, and are they on-line? Also, any work involving computing?

I'll take a look at your thesis, and look forward to hearing from you further.

PIC Technologies
I took a look over their website, and sent off a few quick inquiries to some of my contacts in the field to find out what I could about the company, and if anyone knew this fellow. Susan Trout gave me a call at home (I was watching the boys, while the au pair recovered from some bug that gave her 103 fever). It's good to have friends. We talked for about 20 minutes about things. She's one of the few in the field (like Meredith Binowitz and Frank Mayer) who is neither an engineer nor a computer scientist. As she explained, most of them got in somehow through the backdoor, usually by joining a team as a new lab was forming. She said she's sat on hiring committees, years later, realizing that she'd probably not have hired herself. She suggested perhaps a fruitful avenue for me might be finding a small startup that plans to do things a different way. We talked a bit about research and applications. There is a place for me. I will find a path!

Back to the letter. I began drafting a response today. Paul called me in the middle of it, in response to a quick note I sent him this morning asking for feedback on some of what I'd been sending him earlier in the week. Good thing, too. He said, why don't you just send Ven a quick response, and try to get him on the phone. Go to your strengths. You're good on the phone, and in person. Use writing as your fallback, if you need to.

I realized at that point, that I was drafting a rather defensive (perhaps aggressive in the words of Jim Lodz) reply. Not so good. Not really what I want to project. I do have confidence that there's a place for me in this field. Perhaps, like my friend What Now!, examining the prospects of teaching high school, I may even have more confidence in this direction than in continuing to seek a faculty appointment.
Hi Ven,

Thanks for the contact. Glad to see there's some interest. Why don't we try to hook up on the phone this week or next. You can try me at my office [phone number] just about any time, or send me a number and a good time to call, and I'll do my best to oblige.

Paul is right. Go to my strengths. Good point!

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Good timing! I hope something does come of it, or at least more contacts, more networking.