Chilling in Bolinas. Life is Good.
It's a little weird. I'm not going to lie. The dozen or so people who make up the core of my new colleagues are a lot more like a family than an office. Then again, we're all sharing a beach house together, so no wonder it feels that way. I'm sure it is, inevitably, a dysfunctional family, but I'm also quite sure that it's my family. I spent the day listening to talks about their (our) ongoing projects and fleshing out of core principles and catching up on budget issues and more than anything else it felt and sounded like you're really smart friends from high school and college who used to talk a big game about changing the world actually standing up and formalizing a company and acting on those big ideas. We're all a bit like Toby from the West Wing - perhaps clinging too strongly to ideals, perhaps a little too unwilling to compromise. But it feels right. We talk about the integrity of science and letting the data speak for itself and the research and projects that we will and won't take on, regardless of funding, but based on formalized principles. It's a little scary. Especially in this economy, to talk about making decisions that only sometimes reflect funding realities. But it's right, for me, right now.
I'm starting to get nervous about facing a command line again - these folks do some serious coding, and I talk a good game, but unix was never the environment that felt most natural to me. I know I can take it on, and learn it, and get good at it, but I'm starting to get self-conscious about admitting how much I don't know to my new boss. I discussed all this, over wine, sitting out on the balcony listening to the ocean, with one of my new coworkers, and was well comforted. But still. Hello learning curve.
That's about the best I can offer in reflection. Really it's just one big love fest. I can't get over how lucky I am - I was raised to look for the job I couldn't not do, was raised to view work as something that matters, not just something that pays the bills. But that's a luxury, to get to fulfill that idea. And I have far surpassed it. PC warned me about being too comfortable - about taking a job that was so ideal you never left it, never moved on and did anything else. I can see how that happens. I still feel pretty good that that won't happen in this case; rather I just think I'm insanely lucky that this is my first toe into the pool of Real World Employment, and a nearly perfect catapult into whatever I may do next. So this is what it feels like to have a career instead of a job. It's going to be hard to go back to school and do all those mundane things I have to do. It won't be hard to finish teaching my class, because I really dig that, nor to wrap up my dissertation, because I am well motivated now. But I've got countless other nagging jobs that suddenly pale in comparison.