I accepted the post-doc. I am waiting for an official letter before I resign from the Department of Health, which should happen Friday or Monday. I explained it to IE like so (in an email): Got in touch with RH, but he couldnt talk till Friday… I could have waited, but started thinking about it and decided that the potential benefits to doing the post-doc far outweigh any negative consequences that might occur as a result of taking it. Besides its a decision I have to make- and it’s not right to ask others to validate it and talk me into it. Either I am willing to make the decision and deal with the consequences or I shouldnt make it. Further, its not like I am quitting my job to tend bar or serve pancakes.
I was kinda nervous about the decision until I heard a broadcast of the Commonwealth Club of California today at lunch when I was driving back to work. Some of you may know, but Steve Jobs (the former CEO of Apple) died yesterday. The broadcast included a commencement address by Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005. In it were a couple of quotes that resonated with me:
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
“”Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
The first quote might seem ridiculous for someone who has only been working a grownup job for a little over a year, especially when some many dont have jobs, or work back-breaking (literally) jobs like roofing, construction, and plumbing. I know I am being petty… But there are a lot of days when I dont want to go. For a variety of reasons… but a major one is that I dont want to do the actual work that I am doing.
The second quote is hits home for me because I have made some weird choices in my academic career. Going to Lee University was probably the first. Going to Africa and NIH are in there too. But fact is, if I hadn’t gone to Lee my life would be so very different… so while it was maybe a mistake at the time, its a mistake I am glad I made. And while going to Africa and NIH may have had the effect of slowing me down in the process of getting my degree, doing both gave me some perspective.
So that is my choice. And I feel good about it.