Thursday, April 05, 2012

growing pains, ill-fitting hats.

it's 16:30 on thursday [1], the building's pretty empty, but sunshine is still streaming from the windows in my office.  (good friday is to-morrow: a national holiday in finland.)

american or mathematician, some habits are hard for me to shake;
i still have some LaTeχing to do.

it's slowly sinking in: i have a job for next year.

it's job security for the next six years, for that matter .. maybe for the rest of my life, too.  i don't know yet.  it's conceptually relieving and simultaneously unnerving.

i've never had to "plan" for this long of a period, before.  grad school may have taken 5 years, but it was a well-structured program and i was following a standard template.  barring the creativity of research, it wasn't like i had to think about my life and what to do next.

the future's always been wide open, but it's more widely open now.

it's like having money in the bank; maybe i earned it, maybe i inherited it, but none-the-less the account's in my name.  with that many years to spend, i could easily be stupid, waste a lot of it, gain little, and accomplish nothing .. in so many different ways.

ye gods: i might have to grow up and be responsible, after all.

when i called my parents to tell them ..
me: .. so i found a position.
dad: another postdoc?
me: no, it's a tenure-track this time.

[brief pause]

dad: wait, you mean that you'll be a professor?
me: well .. technically, "assistant professor" ..

[distinct shouting in the background: "our son's going to be a professor!"]

i guess it's true.  i mean: it is true .. but it feels odd.

come to think of it, a lot of my colleagues and good friends are "professors" but i never really thought about it.  they're just my friends, you know?

the title of "professor" just seems loaded to me.  maybe i've adopted the european perspective too much.
it's not like i completed a habilitation or anything;
i just happen to have a new job, that's all.

my finnish colleagues would correctly say that i'm becoming a "lecturer" next fall .. which, of course, means something completely different in the states.
i could swear that i used to be just janus;
it was hard enough to be dr. geminus [2] ... but "prof. geminus" ..?


also, stay tuned: at some point i'll post about:
  1. why i've been so vague about announcing the good news,
  2. the complaints i have about having been on the market, this year and last.

[1] as a cultural difference from the states, business hours in finland tend to be from 8:00 to 16:00.

[2] i'm not the first "dr. geminus" in my immediate family.  suffice it to say that few of us know how to get a real job. q-:

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